The Value of Inpatient Rehabilitation

The Value of Inpatient Rehabilitation

In today’s fast-paced world, injuries, surgeries, and certain medical conditions may need more than a quick fix. For many, the journey to recovery requires more than just outpatient treatments and periodic doctor’s visits. Enter the realm of inpatient rehabilitation—a holistic, intensive approach encapsulating the essence of structured healing. 

But what truly sets inpatient rehab apart from the other options? 

Drawing insights from experts like Amber Hester, Area CEO of Encompass Hospital in Stockbridge, GA, in a recent video podcast, we delve deep into understanding its value and its transformative impact on patients’ lives. 

Read on to discover the benefits and the underlying methods of inpatient rehabilitation success.

You’re not crazy; the healthcare system is confusing!

Families are often thrust into the intricate healthcare maze when a sudden health event occurs with their loved ones. They grapple with understanding the varying levels of care and matching them to the needs of their injured or aging family members. The complexity amplifies with the added burden of deciphering insurance nuances, particularly when differentiating between Medicare and Medicare Advantage options. 

This unexpected journey becomes overwhelming for many, leaving them uncertain about determining their relative’s most suitable care pathway.

What is inpatient rehabilitation, and how does it compare to alternative options for rehabilitation after a hospital stay?

Inpatient rehabilitation hospitals are specialized facilities that support patients who’ve experienced significant life events like strokes, hip fractures, brain injuries, and cardiac incidents. After their initial hospital stay, these patients often need extended recovery and rehabilitation time. Here’s how inpatient rehab stands out:

  • Intensity and Focus on Therapy: An emphasis on intensive therapy is at the core of inpatient rehabilitation. Unlike other options, CMS mandates inpatient rehab hospitals to offer three hours of therapy five days a week. This concentrated approach leads to quicker healing, improved outcomes, and a swifter return to the community.
  • Multidisciplinary and Individualized Care: The care doesn’t stop at therapy alone. These hospitals embrace an interdisciplinary approach. Encompass develops tailored care plans for each patient, and physicians specializing in rehabilitation see these patients daily. These doctors, known as Physical Medicine and Rehab Physicians, collaborate closely with therapists to optimize rehabilitation.
  • Functional Activities: Rehabilitation isn’t just about regaining physical strength. It’s about preparing patients for everyday life. Therapists hone in on practical activities, simulating real-world scenarios like navigating parking lots, using mobility aids on various terrains, and managing daily tasks like dressing, grooming, and bathing. This holistic approach ensures patients are ready to reenter their community confidently.
  • Higher Level of Care: Inpatient rehab hospitals provide a more robust care level than some alternatives. They offer a more comprehensive range of medications overseen by dedicated pharmacists. Their interdisciplinary teams include case managers, social workers, dieticians, and 24-hour nursing care, with RNs always present.

Contrastingly, while long-term care or skilled nursing facilities might provide some rehabilitative services, they often don’t have the same rigorous focus on intensive therapy and functional rehabilitation. The inpatient rehab approach centers on returning patients to their best possible functional level and reintegrating them into regular routines.

This distinction is critical for families seeking the best possible pathway for their loved one’s recovery. Whether it’s the intensity of therapy, the individualized care plans, or the hands-on functional training, inpatient rehab is a pivotal step for many in their healing journey.

Does the patient have a choice in where they receive rehabilitation services after an injury? If so, how do they exercise that choice?

Amber talks about how, despite the prevailing misconceptions, patients have a choice regarding their post-injury rehabilitation destination. 

Here’s a breakdown of how this choice works and how to exercise it:

  • Patient Choice Mandate: Hospitals and their referral sources must respect and provide options to patients when suggesting the next stage of care. While physicians and case managers propose recommendations based on their evaluation, these are not binding.
  • Research is Key: We urge patients and their families to conduct their research. Utilizing tools like hospital websites, where some even offer virtual tours, can provide insights into the facility. In-person visits also give patients a sense of the environment, staff, and culture, ensuring they meet their expectations and needs.
  • Liaison Support: Many facilities, including inpatient rehab hospitals like Encompass Health, deploy liaisons to help patients and their families navigate these choices. These representatives visit patients, conduct assessments, discuss with case managers, and even provide historical context on the patient’s progress. Liaisons serve as vital links, answering questions, furnishing additional materials, and even sharing outcomes to support decision-making.
  • Seek Data and Outcomes: Hospitals should offer data points and performance outcomes, which can be instrumental for patients and families to make informed decisions. When considering a facility, asking for and reviewing this information is essential.
  • Advocate for Your Choice: Importantly, even if a hospital recommends a specific facility, patients and their families have the right to request alternatives. For instance, if a case manager suggests a skilled nursing facility but the patient feels an inpatient rehab hospital might be more fitting, they can and should request a referral to their preferred facility.

In summary, patients hold the power of choice. Their needs, comfort, and preferences should always be front and center in the decision-making process regarding their rehabilitation journey.

In conclusion…

In the intricate world of healthcare and rehabilitation, knowledge is empowerment. Understanding the differences in care options, the depth of inpatient rehabilitation, and the undeniable right of choice can significantly influence a patient’s recovery trajectory. 

Navigating these decisions can be daunting, but remember, you’re not alone. If you find yourself wondering which path is right for your loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out to 4 Seasons Home Care. Our team is dedicated to guiding families like yours through the myriad of care options, ensuring the best outcomes for your cherished ones. Give us a call at 770-825-8335 or reach out to the Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital of Henry at 470-713-2000.

Check out our video podcast with Amber below:

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