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Post-Hospital Care: Should I Choose Home Health or Short-Term Stays?

Caregiver comforting senior living resident

After a stay in the hospital, you want nothing more than to get back home — back to your comfortable bed, familiar surroundings and regular routine. But before you can resume your normal life, you’ll typically need to take an intermediary step: short-term rehabilitation. This kind of post-hospital care helps restore function and manage pain after a health setback. It can take place in your home, or in a senior rehabilitation center. And while your eyes may be lighting up at the idea of home, it’s important to weigh several factors before you decide whether you’re better off completing your rehab through home health services or at a short-term rehab center.

Why Short-Term Rehabilitation?

Short-term rehab is the bridge that helps you transition from your stay in the hospital to your everyday life at home. Even if you’re well on your way to recovery from the condition that caused the hospitalization, you may still need time to regain strength and balance, which can deteriorate after an extended time in a hospital bed. The amount of rehabilitation you need will depend on your circumstances, but the general rule of thumb is one week of rehab for each day you’re in the hospital.

What Is Short-Term Rehabilitation?

Typically, short-term rehab involves a combination of different therapies that help you recover strength, abilities and independence. These therapies include:

  • Physical therapy.  Exercises, stretches, massage and other techniques help you regain strength, balance and endurance. Physical therapy can also help reduce or manage pain.
  • Occupational therapy.  Regain the ability to manage everyday tasks, either by learning new ways to approach them or using adaptive equipment.
  • Speech therapy. Improve issues with communication or swallowing through language intervention activities, exercises, compensation strategies and other techniques.

Choosing Between Home Health or a Rehabilitation Center

To make the best choice for your post-hospital care, it can help to consider the following: 

  • Insurance requirements. Depending on the type of rehabilitation you need, your insurance provider may require that you receive rehab as an inpatient, especially if you’re recovering from a major illness, surgery or injury. This requirement is due primarily to research showing that patients who go to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation have a lower hospital readmission rate than those who choose home health care.  
  • Availability. Find out if the specific rehabilitation services you need are offered by home health care providers in your area.
  • Equipment. If specialized equipment will be required for your rehabilitation, it may be more practical to choose to recover in a short-term rehabilitation center which is fully equipped to meet your needs.
  • Frequency. Depending on the length of your rehab and the number of therapy sessions required, it may be simpler to choose inpatient rehab where you can have multiple therapy sessions a day, rather than having to plan a comparable schedule with home health services or coordinate transportation to outpatient facilities.
  • Risk of complications. In a rehabilitation center, trained professionals monitor your condition to ensure that your overall health remains stable. Any issues that arise can be addressed swiftly, helping you stay on track in your recovery.
  • Personal care. Your condition may make it difficult for you to tend to basic needs unassisted. In a short-term rehab center, staff members can help you with everyday tasks, like getting dressed and bathing, until you’ve fully regained your strength and abilities. What’s more, hot, nutritious meals are provided, so you don’t have to worry about cooking or going grocery shopping while you recover.
  • Safe living space. Your home may not be the ideal setting for your recovery. If you’re unable to manage stairs, for example, entering or leaving your house, or accessing an upstairs bedroom, may be a challenge. Short-term rehab centers are designed to provide an accessible and safe environment during this transitional phase.

The Road to Recovery at Autumn Leaves

If you’re looking for a senior rehabilitation center where personalized care and leading-edge therapies support your return to everyday life, consider Autumn Leaves. We’re a cozy senior living community in Dallas, offering independent living and a continuum of care that includes short-term senior rehabilitation services. With physical, occupational and speech therapies, round-the-clock staff and state-of-the-art equipment, we help you meet your rehabilitation goals. It’s that focus on positive patient outcomes that allows us to perform better than the national average in helping residents return home. Contact us to learn more about short-term rehabilitation at Autumn Leaves.