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FAQ’s: What You Should Know about Short-Term Rehab
Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on June 18th, 2019

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FAQ’s: What You Should Know about Short-Term Rehab

Independent Senior Living  |  short term rehab  |  Aging & Caregiving  |  dependent senior living

If your parent or aging loved one has recently experienced an injury, illness, or major surgery, you suddenly have all these worries about where they will live and how you will care for them. Selecting the best housing option for a parent in this situation can feel complicated or confusing. When you’re starting out your search for senior living, you’ll find that there are a number of options, making your decision even harder.

Fortunately, short-term rehabilitation was designed specifically for this purpose. We are regularly asked questions about what short-term rehab is and all of the services it entails. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about short-term rehab to help you learn more.


What is Short-Term Rehab?

Short-term rehabilitation is specifically for people recovering from an injury, illness, or surgery. Also known as sub-acute rehabilitation, this recovery period almost always takes place in a skilled nursing facility.


Following a severe surgery, illness, or injury, it can be difficult to recover at home on your own, especially for seniors. Short-term rehab provides a supportive environment where seniors (or anyone else recovering) can safely regain their strength and restore their health.


How Much Does Short-Term Rehab Cost?

As with any healthcare service, the cost for short-term rehab can vary greatly depending on the level of care needed, the severity of the illness of injury, and more. Fortunately, Medicare and Managed Care policies offer generous reimbursement to short term-rehab providers, and in most instances there is no out of pocket cost to the patient.


Short-term rehab entails a high-level of individual care, so the costs can be higher than you anticipate. Depending on care needs, assisted living communities in Connecticut can cost anywhere from $10,000 and $15,000 per month. While those numbers may seem shocking, a stay in a nursing home or short-term rehab facility may be covered by insurance and Medicare. Remember, these costs are for the highest levels of care, and they are only for short-term needs.


Your budget for short-term rehab is a conversation that should be had with your family, especially with your senior loved one staying in the facility. Talk to them about how much they can afford or what supplemental assistance they are eligible for. You should look at their finances and sources of income, like a pension or social security check. You may be surprised to find that with insurance or Medicare, the cost for short-term rehab is easy to cover.


Also, you can always consult an expert at the short-term rehab facility or a local assisted living community to ask questions and learn more about your options.

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Is Short-Term Rehab Covered by My Medicare or Medicaid?

Unlike a stay in an assisted living community, a stay in short-term rehab may be covered by Medicare. However, there are some stipulations. Your loved one is eligible for Medicare coverage if they have a qualifying in-patient stay in a hospital setting. Upon discharge from the hospital, a doctor must prescribe a short-term rehab stay. As long as these steps are followed, Medicare should pay for 100% of your stay in short term rehab for up to 20 days. Beginning on day 21, Medicare should cover 80% of the cost of the stay. The remaining 20% is paid privately or covered by a coinsurance.


Medicare should cover up to 100 days of inpatient rehabilitation in a short term rehab setting. The rehab facility will evaluate your loved one’s progress at rehab on a daily basis. This care is contingent on your loved one making improvements during their time in short-term rehab. If there is a plateau in rehabilitation or the patient has reached the baseline in the community, this usually indicates that you need a different form of care than short-term rehab.


After a senior has been discharged within the 100-day limit, the daily counter will reset after 60 days. So, if your loved one is out of rehab for 60 days, but needs another stay, they will need to be an inpatient for three nights and the 100-day limit starts over.


Medicaid covers nearly all healthcare related costs for seniors, however there is not short term therapy benefit with Medicaid. Some states offer PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) to supplement senior care coverage. Be sure to research the Medicaid coverage in your state to learn more about what will be covered.


Who Needs Short-Term Rehab?

Short-term rehab can be beneficial for anyone of any age, but most especially seniors recovering from illness, injury, or surgery. When seniors suffer from one of these health issues, it can take longer for them to recover. That’s why it’s important that they have a safe, healthy, supportive environment where they can heal.


Cardiovascular incidents, orthopedic surgeries, and many other medical ailments can require short-term rehab. Some seniors may be ready to leave the hospital, but they’re not quite ready to return to independent living. They need to regain their strength and rebuild their health so they can manage their activities of daily life. In a short-term rehab center, they will have constant access to healthcare professionals; including Physician’s, APRN’s, Dieticians, Registered Nurses, and Physical/Occupational/Speech therapists who can assist them on their journey to recovery. These doctors, therapists, and other healthcare professionals will know how to treat the exact ailment your loved one is facing.


How Long Should I Expect My Loved One to Stay in Short-Term Rehab?

While there is not a specific amount of time that can be predicted for every person in short-term rehab, the goal is to get seniors or those staying in the facility back to their regular health as soon as possible. There is no concrete answer for the length of stay in a short term rehab center. Certain orthopedic procedures may only warrant a few days, while a significant cardiovascular event could necessitate over three months of therapy.


There is a chance that your loved one will be in a short-term rehab facility and decide that they are really in need of long-term care. Short-term rehab is a common catalyst for finding senior living options other than just going back home. Talk to your parent or loved one throughout their journey at the short-term rehab about their needs after they leave the facility. You can suggest a move to senior living to ensure they completely heal and regain their long-term health.


Short-term rehab provides your parent or aging loved one with a safe environment where they can fully recover. They have access to an attentive team of healthcare professionals, and you can be sure that they will receive the best care possible.


Do you and your senior loved one want to visit an assisted living community? Download this guide on touring these communities now.

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About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.