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Ask the Experts: What to Expect in Post-Hospital Rehabilitation

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Shot of a female physician working with a senior patient in a nursing home
Physical therapy in a senior rehabilitation center

After being discharged from the hospital due to an illness, injury, or elective surgery, many older adults are referred by their doctor to an inpatient senior rehabilitation facility, where they receive therapy services and medical care before returning home.

But many times, older adults and their families feel intimidated or overwhelmed at the prospect of entering an inpatient rehabilitation facility, especially if they don’t know what to expect.

Don’t worry—it’s natural to feel nervous before any new experience, particularly when it involves your health care. Luckily, rehabilitation facilities such as the Bethany Rehabilitation Center exist to help older adults recover in a healing environment with support every step of the way. With short-term nursing care and a full range of therapy services, the Bethany Rehabilitation Center is designed specifically for older adults recovering from cardiac procedures, joint-replacement surgery, falls, accidents, or other major illnesses.

We recently sat down with Jessica Dutton, Director of the Bethany Rehabilitation Center, and Robyn Powell, Manager of Social Services, who explained what older adults and their families can expect during a short-term stay in inpatient rehabilitation. 

What is the intake process like for someone admitted to the Bethany Rehabilitation Center?

Jessica: As part of the intake process, our admissions staff members help the rehab resident and their family complete necessary paperwork. Then, our dedicated care staff will help the resident get settled into their private room and do an initial assessment of their needs. A nurse case manager develops an individually tailored plan that addresses the resident’s requirements for different therapy disciplines such as physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy, as well as their nutrition, and medical needs. We have more than 25 dedicated care professionals working in the Bethany Rehabilitation Center, including a medical director and physician who oversee the care of residents from the time of admission.

The majority of rehab residents come to the Bethany Rehabilitation Center from a hospital stay, but we do have Bethany Village residents who are coming from our Independent Living or Assisted Living communities to receive medical management and therapy services. In fact, all on-campus residents of Bethany Village have priority admission to the Bethany Rehabilitation Center, should they need it.

Robyn: Each rehab resident is assigned a social worker, who starts the process of discharge planning from day one. We understand that for most rehab residents, their goal is to return back home, and we share that same goal. We sit down with rehab residents and their families to identify and plan for the supports they will need for a successful transition home. We work with the resident through every challenge to ensure they receive the best possible care throughout their stay and return home safely and as quickly as possible.

What’s a typical day like for someone in the Bethany Rehabilitation Center? What should families expect?

Jessica: Each individual has a customized schedule for his or her day, but in general, most rehab residents can expect to receive about 45 minutes to 1 hour of each necessary therapy discipline (physical, occupations, and speech), six days a week. We coordinate these therapy services with any additional medical care a resident may need. Our goal is to stabilize their medical needs, advance their therapy, and then prepare them for discharge with a plan for home therapy or outpatient therapy.

Robyn: We’ve found that it helps rehab residents stay motivated when family comes to visit them and brings activities for them to do together throughout their stay. Residents at the Bethany Rehabilitation Center also have the option to participate in the activities and programs happening at Bethany Village, as well as social dining in our dining rooms, if they wish. We understand that every resident has different preferences for how they spend their day, and we respect those preferences, whatever they may be.

What makes the Bethany Rehabilitation Center different from other inpatient rehabilitation centers?

Robyn: Faithful caring is at the heart of everything we do at Bethany Village. It’s what drives our staff, our social workers, our nurses, and our life enrichment professionals. It’s who we are, and the residents and families that come to the Bethany Rehabilitation Center appreciate that. We’re not only looking at the physical or medical needs of an individual, but we’re looking at the whole person and how they’ve been impacted by their acute hospitalization or medical issue. If there are emotional struggles or psychological struggles that a resident needs assistance coping with, the social service department can provide support with counseling or refer the resident to pastoral care to provide the support of spiritual counseling. We also have access to professional, licensed counselors who come to campus to work with residents.

What is the discharge process like for rehab residents? How does the Bethany Rehabilitation Center help residents transition home?

Robyn: Discharge planning is an ongoing, evolving process throughout the rehab resident’s entire stay. We pride ourselves on the level of communication our social services team has with the residents and families. We don’t want anyone to be discharged and be surprised by our recommendations for their care. As our team is noting progress and discussing recommendations, we keep residents and their families involved and educated. I believe that communication is a key component of effective discharge planning.

Our social services team also gives families referrals to local resources that can help older adults stay safely in their own home. For some rehab residents needing ongoing care, a short-term rehab stay can ease the transition to an advanced level of care in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. If this is the case, we’re here to help families find the right fit and connect them to those resources.

To learn more about the therapy services offered at the Bethany Rehabilitation Center, please contact us today. We are happy to speak with you and schedule a tour of our facilities!

Written by Bethany Lutheran Village

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