What is a Senior Rehabilitation Center?
With so many different options for senior care available, it can feel overwhelming when deciding on the right option for yourself or an elderly loved one. Everyone’s story and path to aging are different, so there aren’t always one-size-fits-all answers to the situation. Still, there are some care options that almost every senior can benefit from, especially those looking for fitness, therapy, or just social opportunities.
Senior rehabilitation centers can provide a number of opportunities for seniors to maintain their health and receive the services they need, whether for the short-term or more long-term care situations. These centers can be found throughout the United States and specialize in providing seniors with healing and rehab services, helping people to recover from health issues in a professional and caring environment. For instance, if someone has just had a major surgery and requires physical therapy, these centers can provide those services without requiring someone to move into the facility, as may be the case with a nursing home or an assisted living community. That said, there are many options as to how long someone can stay in a rehab center and what services become available to them.
Short Term Senior Rehabilitation vs. Long Term Senior Rehab
One of the first things to consider when seeking a senior rehabilitation center is how long one’s stay will be based on his or her state of health. For minor health issues like an uncomplicated surgery, doctors may only require a stay of a few days to a month at very most. For other more chronic or serious conditions like cardiac issues, the stay in a senior rehabilitation center could last a month or more. Some facilities will offer both short-term and long-term rehab, while others specialize in certain areas.
Depending on your location, senior rehabilitation centers may also be called nursing centers, intermediate care, care homes, rest homes, skilled nursing units, and nursing homes (at times), all being licensed and regulated by each state’s Department of Public Health to ensure quality and consistency. If a facility is individually certified by Medicare, Medicaid, or both, this means they are subject to federal staffing and quality requirements. Participating rehabilitation centers are required to have licensed practical nurses (LPNs) staffed 24 hours a day, with registered nurses on duty at least 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Main Features of Senior Rehabilitation Centers
Generally speaking, nursing facilities and senior rehabilitation centers provide 3 basic levels of care, each dependent upon someone’s state of health, specific needs, and the length of time they’ll be staying at the rehabilitation center.
• Basic Care — Can include assistance with someone’s activities of daily living, personal care, supervision with medical needs, ambulation, and other safety procedures.
• Skilled Care — Registered nurses work to provide basic treatments and procedures, helping to maximize someone’s recovery from an illness or recent surgery.
• Sub-Acute — Comprehensive care services aimed at helping seniors with acute illnesses, injuries, or an exacerbation of a chronic condition by way of recent health events.
Senior rehabilitation centers can host a wide range of health and rehabilitative services, providing just about every form of rehabilitation that’s commonly needed by older adults. There are usually options for private or semi-private rooms, along with meals provided by dietitians or nutrition professionals with dietary counseling sometimes available.
Most commonly, these centers provide physical therapy to help seniors recover from a variety of different health problems. Through targeted exercises and techniques, physical therapists help their patients to reduce pain, improve their strength and balance, in addition to helping people gain mobility following a surgery or an injury.
Similarly, occupational therapy services are commonly provided to help patients learn or regain skills important to carrying out their daily activities. Essentially, these services can serve to restore someone’s independence in being able to meet their own personal needs.
This can also include the use of Speech-language Pathology (SLP) services, which are mainly utilized by people who have suffered a stroke, a traumatic brain injury, or have a progressive neurological disease such as aphasia, dysphagia, dysarthria, or apraxia — all conditions that affect one’s ability to comprehend and/or produce speech. These services may also be useful in helping someone regain and improve their ability to safely eat and drink.
Other things seniors can take advantage of while in rehabilitation centers include general exercise classes, counseling services, personal care plan services, and even help with substance abuse.
Hopefully, you or a senior loved one can find a speedy road to rehabilitation in a center that provides all of the right services and programs for a healthy life!