After Surgery Comes RehabPosted on May 3, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Blog, Caregiver Education, Education, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Pain Management, Rehabilitation Center
Choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility
By: Troy Churchill
Most people hope to go home after surgery, but sometimes recovery is slower than expected and requires transfer to a skilled nursing facility. Whether you’re looking for long-term care or short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities offer assistance with everyday tasks in addition to some of the most extensive care available.
Choosing a skilled nursing facility can be a challenge. To ensure you make a well informed decision, your search should begin in advance. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
• Research. As you begin, write down your desires and concerns; consider your values and preferences. By contemplating a basic understanding of what you expect and what your needs are, you can narrow your options.
• Consider rehabilitation centers close to family and friends so they can visit often. Find out about vacancy, admission requirements, care provided, programs offered, and participation in government-funded health insurance options. Much of this information can be found on websites, such as leememorial.org/carecenter/index.asp for HealthPark Care & Rehabilitation Center of Lee Memorial Health System.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) works with state and federal agencies to oversee the quality of skilled nursing facilities and began reporting their findings publicly four years ago to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. CMS Nursing Home Compare reviews health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measures, giving a snap shot of the care provided. Ratings can be viewed at: medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html
• Consult with people you trust who can offer helpful advice and recommendations. Your doctors can tell you which facilities they visit. Also ask about discharge planning as soon as possible so you’re not making decisions in haste.
• Finances. Finances need to be considered up front. It’s important to find out what payment options are available at each facility. There is a common misconception that Medicare will pay as long as care is needed, but expenses are only covered in Medicare certified facilities and for no more than 100 days. Typically the first 20 days are covered at 100 percent, with days 21-100 at 80 percent. Additionally, any secondary insurance may pick up 20 percent for days 21-100, so check your coverage. Consider your financial situation and how long your savings will last until you become eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.
• Tours. Nothing is as important as personal visits. Trust your instincts as you assess the living environment and services offered. If you feel uncomfortable chances are you’re not going to enjoy your stay. Ask questions: Are there visiting, bathing, sleeping, or food restrictions; pet policies; programs and activities? Also look into staffing ratios. Ask about care plans: Can you keep your current doctor? Who decides medications? What happens in an emergency?
CMS recommendations call for daily skilled care attention involving the services of specially trained nurses and therapists. The population of HealthPark Care & Rehabilitation Center, a 112-bed skilled nursing facility, is split between those receiving long-term and short-term rehabilitation services. The center focuses on providing a high staff to patient ratio which leads to better outcomes and overall experiences for patients.
• List. Make a list of your top three choices. Hospitals are required to transfer you to another qualified facility if there are no beds available at the one you chose. Selecting three will provide you with options.
The goal of a skilled nursing facility is to get you back home safely and comfortably. If you take the time to explore your options and make decisions in advance, you can rest assured you’re receiving the high quality rehabilitative services you need in a place of your choosing. Being at ease will make your care transition and success in recovery much easier.