The last two years have changed a lot of the protocols for accessing healthcare. The process of going to Rehab after a hospital stay has certainly been impacted. Many of the facilities that provide inpatient rehabilitation after a hospital stay are much smaller than they used to be. These facilities are called Skilled Nursing Facilities also known as Nursing Homes.
During the last two years many of these facilities have reduced the number of beds they have. The buildings themselves have not changed, but the number of people they have living there has been reduced.
This reduction in the number of patients they admit has made it harder to find openings in these facilities. They don’t admit as many individuals as they used to.
I have talked with many families over the past two years who have been unable to find a place for their family member to stay for rehabilitation. Admission numbers have improved in the last couple of months, but is still a concern. In some situations individuals ended up going very far from their home.
If you anticipate needing rehabilitation for yourself or a family member, I suggest looking at facilities in advance. Call the facilities you prefer, or are close to you & your family. Talk to the admission staff and ask what their procedure is and what their situation appears to be. Do they need an application completed first? Are they taking admissions at all? How can you facilitate a smooth transfer from the hospital to the facility of your choosing?
You don’t always have the freedom of time and planning because the situation might be an unexpected emergency or accident. You still should call your preferred facilities. Talk with the admission staff and explain your need and talk with the staff about their availability.
The hospital Social Work/Discharge Planners may be doing this on your behalf as well, so be sure to call and talk to them or meet them. You need to be an advocate for yourself and your family member as well. Skilled Nursing Facilities are much more likely to offer a bed to an individual whom has a concerned family member who is involved and trying to facilitate the admission process. The more information you can give to your facility of choice, the more likely your loved one will have an opportunity to go there.
If you are unsure about what facilities are near you and how to reach them, you can call NYConnects (716-753-4582). You also can reach out to Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-800-medicare, or www.medicare.gov. These resources have all of the facilities near you and much farther away as well. The Medicare website also has information about ratings and staffing.
Once you have some names of facilities, most have a website where you can access information about their locations and contact information.
In the situation where you end up in a facility that you didn’t necessarily choose, you may just be there temporarily and that could be okay. If your family member appears to be there for longer than expected, I would suggest reaching back out to your facility of choice once in a while to see about the possibility of transferring to that preferred location. I have had clients recently being transferred to their facility of choice, once a bed becomes available.
Remember that these rehabilitation facilities are doing the best they can to take care of the people who live there. The goal is to keep them as happy, well cared for, and content as possible. If moving to a facility of choice helps make family visits easier that is definitely everyone’s goal.
Your situation can be very stressful, but ask for help from the staff at the hospital. Once your family member is at the Skilled Nursing Facility talk to the Social Worker there who can answer your questions and help you through this challenging transition.