You may have an elderly parent who has been injured in a fall or who is recovering from surgery or a stroke. While they are in the hospital, you know that they are well provided for with around-the-clock care. The difficulties arise when your loved one is released from the hospital to begin the road to recovery and needs additional eldercare.
Often, elderly patients aren’t able to return directly to their homes after a serious event. They may need physical, speech, or occupational therapy. In some cases, they may be confused or forgetful, have issues with anxiety, need help remembering to take medications or have medications that need to be monitored and adjusted.
Two solutions to this need for a transitional step between hospital and home are residential nursing facilities and short-term rehabilitation centers. Both types of facilities are excellent solutions for specific issues, but neither is a complete panacea, particularly for elderly patients.
Residential nursing facilities:
According to Kaiser Health News, almost 2 million people annually who are on Medicare (this means that most of them are over the age of 65) recover in skilled nursing facilities after being hospitalized.
Medicare will pay for these stays if two conditions are met:
- The patient must have been hospitalized for at least 3 days (not counting days for observation only).
- The older adult must need “physical, occupational, or speech/language therapy at least five days a week or skilled nursing care seven days a week.”
The average length of stay in facilities like these is 25 days.
The advantages are the fact that medical professionals can provide necessary medical care with appropriate equipment and resources. These may include IVs, rehabilitation, medication, and monitoring. It also includes assistance with daily living tasks, like using the toilet, getting dressed, and eating.
Short-term rehabilitation centers:
These facilities are for patients who don’t necessarily need acute medical attention, but who do need help recovering sufficient skills to reach their highest level of independence. Medicare will also pay for these services, but a 3-day hospital stay is not required to qualify. Rehab centers provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, orthopedic rehabilitation, and neurological rehabilitation.
- Patients do not have a one-to-one level of care. Staff shortages are at an all-time high: in January 2022, almost 25% of all facilities reported a nursing shortage. In the Midwest, the numbers are even worse: 33% nurse shortage, 35% nurse’s aide shortage, and 22% shortage of other staff, according to the US Census Bureau.
- Even without a staffing shortage, it simply isn’t possible for someone to be with your elderly relative all the time when other patients also demand their attention.
- Your relative may not receive the mental stimulation they need outside of their designated therapy hours.
- Your relative may be confused or feel hesitant to ring for assistance when it is for something as simple as reaching for a glass of water or closing the blinds. Yet, at that moment, that is what they need.
- Many people don’t realize that it is possible to hire outside care to come into a facility and augment the services offered.
- Caregivers, such as those at Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care, can provide one-on-one care to patients in residential nursing facilities, short-term rehabilitation centers, or assisted living facilities. They are usually welcomed by the residential staff as an extra pair of hands.
- Sometimes people need more care than a facility can give. Shepherd’s Staff caregivers can provide companionship and mental stimulation as well as providing help with practical tasks, like taking someone outside to sit in the sun.
- A caregiver that can continue to work with your relative when they return to their home is an effective way of transitioning from a residential facility.
Eldercare is also helpful for another group of people living outside of the home; those in independent or assisted living facilities. These individuals may not require physical therapy, but they may need memory care. A caregiver can keep them active, help them shop, and remind them to take medication or to pay bills, thus delaying the transition to memory care facilities until necessary.
If you would like detailed information about the eldercare services we can provide for your parent even when they are not in their own home, please contact Shepherd’s Staff In-Home Care online or by phone at 301-304-9147.
We will be happy to conduct an initial needs consultation wherever your relative is to get to know you both and to discuss options. There is no charge for this consultation. Together we can decide what best suits your loved one.