When you no longer need the amount of care provided in the hospital, the hospital will begin the process to discharge you.
Most people hope to go directly home from the hospital after surgery or being ill. But even if you and your doctor planned for you to go home, your recovery may be slower than expected. As a result, you may need to be transferred to a skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility.
Skilled nursing facilities provide care for people who are not yet able to care for themselves at home. After your stay at the facility, you should be able to return home and care for yourself.
If your surgery is planned, discuss discharge planning with your doctors and nurses in the weeks beforehand. They can advise you about whether going directly home will be good for you.
If your stay in the hospital was not planned, you or your family should discuss discharge planning with your health care provider as soon as possible during your time in the hospital. Most hospitals have staff who coordinate discharge planning.
Planning ahead helps ensure you can go to a place that provides high-quality care and is located where you would like it to be. Keep in mind:
It is always a good idea to check out different skilled nursing facilities to which you would like to go. Visit two or three facilities and choose more than one facility at which you would be comfortable.
Some important factors in the facilities you choose will include:
Remember, your most important goal is to get safely back in your home. The quality of care you receive at this facility plays the biggest role in getting you home. So when looking into the facilities that are near you or those suggested to you by friends or the hospital, find out more about them. A useful online resource is Nursing Home Compare. Get answers to questions like:
SNF; SAR; Sub-acute rehab
Medicare Coverage of Skilled Nursing Facility Care. Baltimore, MD. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; September 2007: CMS publication 10153.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team.
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