Making the right rehab decision

Home-care options can be helpful

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  • | 10:00 a.m. July 7, 2016
Photo courtesy of - Rehab can be a real battle after being discharged from the hospital, but it's usually covered by Medicare.
Photo courtesy of - Rehab can be a real battle after being discharged from the hospital, but it's usually covered by Medicare.
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Hospital, rehab, what’s next?

Knowing where to start can be overwhelming. You or a loved one may have had a recent hospital stay – planned, due to surgery or quite the opposite, urgent, accidental, scary! The decisions made in the hospital are to help in the most immediate of situations and relate to care that takes place in the very near future.

After the hospital stay, options concerning going directly home or being admitted to a rehabilitation facility come up for discussion, usually brought up by a case manager at the hospital. If the option is to go home, there is the possibility of receiving skilled home health services, usually covered by Medicare or insurance. Going to a rehab facility? This stay is a few weeks up to a few months, depending on how the progress with rehab is going. The major portion of a rehab stay is generally covered by Medicare or private insurance and, again, is generally set up at the hospital by a case manager.

After that, discharge back to your home is next. Options for home-care include skilled nursing services that must be ordered by a physician, or unskilled care that does not require a doctor’s order. Skilled care is usually covered by Medicare or private insurance.

Skilled care includes:

  • RN assessment and weekly visits

  • Physical therapy

  • Occupational therapy

  • Speech and language pathology

  • Medical social worker

  • Wound care

Unskilled care includes:

  • Personal hygiene assistance (bathing, dressing, grooming)

  • Continence care

  • Meal preparation

  • Light housekeeping

  • Laundry

  • Assistance with PT exercise

  • Driving assistance for appointments, shopping, etc.

  • Medication reminders

  • Alzheimer’s/dementia care

  • Companionship and supervision for safety

Some other points to remember: unskilled care can be provided by a nurse registry, home health agency, or an independent individual and is paid privately, out of your pocket. If there is long-term care insurance, check your policy carefully – each plan is individualized. A long-term care policy will usually cover unskilled care provided through an agency, after meeting your plan’s elimination period, and several Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) are being met.

Unskilled care may mean the difference between going back to the hospital and can be scheduled for one hour (just assistance with a bath or a meal), up to 24-hours a day.

Hopefully, putting all the pieces of the puzzle together creates a scenario for healing and getting back to normal as soon as possible!

Nancy R. Bland

TenderCare Home Health Services