Making the decision to have elective surgery is often a difficult one. It is normal to want to return home immediately following surgery. Sometimes, however, healing takes longer than expected. Some individuals may need to receive care and rehabilitative services from a skilled nursing facility. I recently had the privilege of interviewing several patients who had this experience.
Many said, “At first, I felt I was being sent to a nursing home.” Dispelling this myth is essential for full recovery. Rehabilitation centers can take adult patients of all ages. Rehabilitation is not considered long-term or retirement care. It is a time of transition between the hospital and the home. Physical therapists guide your rehabilitation so you can safely return home.
Following hip surgery, another patient expressed that she felt safer at the rehabilitation center than at home. She shared that she lived alone and was afraid she would fall and no one would be able to help. In her mind, coming to a rehabilitation center helped her feel more prepared to return home. This is a great example of utilizing healthcare services to ensure that you have an optimal outcome.
Recently, I asked several patients how they chose their rehabilitation center. I received mixed answers because some patients were expecting to go home, so when that was not an option, they found themselves at the mercy of the hospital and room availability at rehabilitation centers. Even though the patient had a choice, they may not always be familiar with the different centers in their area. I would recommend touring rehabilitation centers before your surgery or asking family to tour facilities prior to your discharge. You want a center where you feel comfortable. The goal is to achieve recovery!
One patient told me that compassionate care was important to her. She shared that she really missed her dog, as this was her family. The center she was transferred to recognized the importance pets have in the healing process and allowed her dog to visit. Think about your environment and what a rehabilitation center can do that goes above and beyond. You want to be able to connect with the staff, as well as have staff recognize what is important to you.
Another important theme that I heard was attentive care. Ensuring that staff is available to help you with all aspects of recovery, as well as having an aggressive physical therapy team, are essential when choosing a center. Several patients expressed that their rehabilitation centers offered services in addition to the rehabilitation. After a tiring day of therapy, having distractions that help you move past any discomfort you may be experiencing can help in the healing process. Many rehabilitation centers offer life enriching activities, additional therapy services, delicious food and entertainment.
Take charge of your care! Be proactive. Learn about your options, and talk to your physician about your options. FBN
By Leah Veschio, RN, MSN
Leah Veschio, RN, MSN, is the director of community outreach at The Peaks Senior Living Community. She can be reached at 928-774-7106, ext. 2022.