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The Advantages of Skilled Nursing Facility Care After Hospitalization

Every day individuals are admitted into the hospital for a variety of medical emergencies whether it be broken bones, heart attack or stroke, which are among the most common reasons for hospital admissions. Once the patient has finished receiving the critical care they need and is ready to be discharged from the hospital, many families are often left wondering what comes next. While the patient is usually eager to return home, skilled nursing facilities and/or in-patient rehabilitation can be a best next step.

Over the last 60 years we at Salter HealthCare have worked with thousands of families with unique medical challenges, learning what is most effective when it comes to post-hospitalization care. Following are eight reasons why patients and families should seriously consider a skilled nursing facility before heading home from the hospital.

  1. Pain and weakness can mean a higher risk of falling at home, which can often result in re-admission back to the hospital.
  2. Occupational and/or Physical Therapy is an important part of recovery however, patients receiving therapy at home receive it only 2-3 times a week instead of six times a week at a skilled nursing facility.
  3. In-patient rehabilitation includes ongoing medical monitoring, including blood pressure, wound sites and pain management, which can prevent unnecessary hospital re-admission.
  4. Joint replacement, a common surgery for older people, entails nerve blocks to help with pain however, once they wear off, patients can be overwhelmed, putting them at risk for medication overuse. Skilled nursing facilities monitor and control patients’ pain, and can assist in avoiding bowel complications.
  5. Hypertension and a host of respiratory conditions can cause patients to be sent home from the hospital with oxygen, but often, O2 is inadequately monitored or patients have a hard time navigating the long tubing, putting them at increased risk for falls. Having more intensive therapy services available, enables patients and families to be more educated about its use and systematic weaning off O2 when appropriate.
  6. Unlike hospitals, a good rehab facility will get to know the patient’s prior level of function and home environment so they can teach how best to function or make changes in order to avoid injury.
  7. The first couple of nights at home following discharge can be a challenging time for both patients and families. Without any education, caregivers struggle with providing things like physical assistance, often for days until VNA or in-home therapy can occur.
  8. Dietary modifications are often what the doctor orders, especially in the case of heart disease, but such changes can often be difficult for patients and families. At a skilled nursing facility, patients can trial these modifications in a supportive environment with thorough education.

Intense rehabilitation and round-the-clock skilled nursing care can help patients both short and long-term. As such, patients and their family members should consider the benefits of a short-term stay in a skilled nursing facility following hospitalization.

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