After an injury, medical procedure or extended hospital stay, an important step in the recovery process may be a period of rehabilitation. Choosing the right rehab facility can be daunting, especially if this is your first time needing services or you are new to the community. Following are some important tips to help choose a rehab that is right for you or a loved one:

Preplan, if possible. If a knee or hip replacement is in your future, talk with your surgeon about the need for a rehab facility. Choose two top facilities in your area based on their quality scores and your insurance coverage, and verify this information beforesurgery. Know that acceptance to your selected facility is based upon bed availability which can be challenging in the Coachella Valley. 

Tip: Quality scores can be found at Medicare.gov, which provides, for example, the percentage of residents acquiring new pressure ulcers (bedsores), staffing, and their most recent health inspection report.

Take an unannounced tour. Show up and request a tour of the rehab portion of the facility to aid in your decision-making. 

Verify programs for your specific needs. Confirm the physician at the facility can prescribe the specific therapy you require. For example, if you had an amputation, stroke, or need cardiac rehab, you will require specialized treatment. Ask how often therapy will be provided and verify with your surgeon if this is adequate.

Tip: Your surgeon or primary care doctor may not prescribe medications or therapy when you are in rehab, as the facility’s doctor is typically in charge during that time. So, make sure they have the proper staff, equipment and abilities to provide what you need.

Verify that advocate participation is encouraged. Your rehab requires a team of participants to aid in your successful recovery; this includes family, caregivers or your own choice for an advocate. Find out how your advocate is allowed to participate: can they attend therapy sessions to encourage and support you? Can they participate in team meetings with staff to discuss your progress?

Tip: Identify your advocate in advance and verify it is recorded in your rehab medical record. This will allow your advocate to access the progress of your care and plan for your discharge home.

Have your selected rehab information on hand when a hospital case manager or social worker approaches you after surgery, as they coordinate your transfer. 

There is no place like home for recovery, but when rehab is necessary, choose wisely for a positive outcome in your healing journey.

Dr. Porter is a doctorate-prepared nurse of 30 years and health care advocate dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of medical processes aiding patients, families and caregivers. She is CEO and founder of MyHealth.MyAdvocate in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 851.4116 or www.myhealthmyadvocate.com.

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