Finding the Right Rehab Facility: Match Your Needs with a Clinic’s Expertise

Especially After Surgery

One of the most important factors in a successful surgery and recovery is finding the right rehab facility.  After having joint replacement surgery, many people find they need physical rehabilitation. But while planning a discharge from the hospital, many face an unexpected dilemma: the challenge of wading through an overwhelming list of providers. While the hospital may provide you with a list of choices, it’s up to the patient to make the decision. Patients and families may make the mistake of “shopping” for a rehab program in the same way they would choose a long-term resident facility. They may give undue weight to factors such as the facility’s décor, amenities, location and meal menus – instead of focusing on the quality of the rehab treatment.

Ask For Examples of Successful Outcomes

The options for receiving rehabilitative care following surgery, illness or injury seem to multiply each year. Choices range from intensive rehabilitation hospitals and skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities to a variety of outpatient clinics. With greater options can come greater confusion about what program is best for the patient.

Whether a patient is looking to rehab from open heart surgery, a knee or hip replacement, a stroke or some other condition, look for a rehab program with expertise and a record of success for the same condition. Finding the clinical commitment and proven therapies that achieve a successful outcome is what really matters.

For short-term stays focused on rehabbing a patient home, ask the center about its successful outcomes treating patients with your or your loved one’s illness, injury or disease. Ask about the staff’s knowledge about post-hospital care. Tour the center for cleanliness, friendliness of staff and amenities that are important to you. Ask to sample food and visit with patients similar to you or your loved one.

Whole Team Approach

A thorough rehab program will have experience in treating specific conditions. Facilities do best what they do the most. The rehab program should include a care plan that emphasizes a strong team approach that includes the patient as the central team member.

Effective rehabilitation is an effort that usually requires therapists, nurses, clinicians, dietitians and other specialists working with patients, their families and their doctors. Together, the team determines what the patient needs, both physically and emotionally. The patient and rehab team will set aggressive but realistic treatment goals, and identify barriers to success and developing a plan to overcome those obstacles. Finally, a rehab program should offer proof of its effectiveness. That means providing data on its outcomes by specific conditions – including measurable improvements to the condition, average length-of-stay for inpatients being treated for the diagnosis and how many patients with the condition return to functional independence back home or in the community.

The Right Combination of Clinical Expertise

Quality indicators for long-term nursing care are different than those for rehabilitation programs available from the same facility. Nursing homes work to prevent or slow decline and manage pain. Rehab programs should work to improve function and return patients successfully to their homes or the community. Rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process following an illness, injury or operation. The combined efforts of physical, occupational and speech therapies with rehabilitative nursing, social services and sound medical direction provide the necessary ingredients and support for successful rehabilitation.