After the Hospital: Recovering in Rehab Versus Returning Home

If you’re recuperating from a hospital stay, the decision may loom large on whether to recover in a rehabilitation, or rehab, facility – or go directly home. Although the eagerness to return to familiar surroundings, and normal routines, is understandable, industry observers note that a rehab stay provides many advantages over at-home recovery.

“Returning home is always the goal, but getting to the point where you can do so safely typically takes time,” says Tiffany Mason, an occupational rehab assistant and former rehab manager at Noble Health Care Center in Noble, Oklahoma. “A short-term inpatient rehab center delivers customized treatment plans, unified care, and optimum outcomes.”

Recovering with a team

Unlike traditional home therapy, which usually involves seeing a therapist for a one-hour session two or three times a week, inpatient rehab provides a physician-led, multidisciplinary team of on-site rehab professionals. Therapy sessions are provided several times a day. A physical therapist creates a plan of care to help improve strength, balance, and endurance. An occupational therapist helps patients navigate activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and preparing meals. A speech therapist works to enhance speech, memory, and cognition.

“Our care team delivers a wide range of expertise – from post-operative care to comprehensive rehabilitation for neurological conditions,” Mason says. “During your stay, our therapists will help you practice the activities you need to master before you return home. When you complete your course of care, you’ll be evaluated to assess your ability to continue living alone or with a loved one. After discharge, most transitional care patients return to their own homes or a supported living site.”

 

 Restoring mobility

Many surgeries, injuries, and illnesses result in an array of mobility challenges. Rehab teams teach exercises that keep muscles strong and joints flexible. They also provide state-of-the-art equipment to help patients work toward recovery goals.

“Health and fitness plans are designed to improve range of motion, enhance flexibility, and reduce pain,” Mason says. “We educate patients on their short-term and long-term limitations – and offer a customized exercise plan for safe recovery and a gradual restoration of mobility.”

Receiving emotional support  

Recovery is not only physical but also emotional. Numerous studies have found what goes on in the mind can influence what happens in the body and cultivating positive thinking can rapidly accelerate healing.

“We’re a lot like motivational speakers,” Mason says. “We provide ongoing coaching and support to speed up the healing process. When residents are admitted, and throughout their stay, our intention is to inspire them to look at their time here from a ‘can-do’ perspective – and to become more attentive to the psychological aspects of their recovery.”

Reaching out to the family

 “Every step of the way, we invite the family to be involved in their loved one’s recovery,” Mason notes. “After a patient is admitted to our facility, our entire care team meets with the patient and their family members in a care conference. Together, we discuss how we can best design a plan of care that targets the patient’s unique needs. Then, every two weeks, we have a family conference to evaluate patient progress, answer questions, and reassess goals. When the resident is discharged, we meet again with the family to ensure a safe and smooth return to home.”

Transition planning typically includes setting up home care or outpatient services.

Reinforcing the return home

On July 20, 2018, Noble officially launched an outpatient rehabilitation care program, designed to seamlessly complement its inpatient program. Outpatient services provide an expanded level of support and care to in-home seniors and rehabilitation patients, offering individuals living safely at home the therapy they need to live free of pain and limitations.

“With the launch of our outpatient services, we can ensure continuity of care from inpatient rehab to the next care setting,” says Anna Diaz, Noble Health Care Center’s administrator for the past 24 years. “Wherever a patient’s next healing space, we look forward to providing seamless care, personalized attention, and a customized therapy plan that strengthens body, mind, and spirit.”