A hospital stay is always unsettling. When it has to be followed up with a period of rehabilitation, the stress is compounded for everyone involved. For the patient, the uncertainty and discomfort is multiplied when someone suggests “going to a skilled nursing home” for therapy.
There are often fears connected with moving from a hospital to a skilled rehab center, and many are grounded in myth. Here are four of the most common myths.
4 Common Myths About Rehabilitation After Surgery
1) No Pain, No Gain — That sounds like something a Drill Instructor would preach, but it isn’t necessarily true. Rehabilitation after a hospital stay should not be painful. You have to differentiate between pain and discomfort. Pain can be a sign of doing too much too soon or another problem. Discomfort is just a byproduct of asking muscles and nerves to get back on track. A professional therapist can actually make the process fun, working in partnership as a coach not and “evil task master.”
2) I can do it myself — Therapy is an important phase in the healing process and working with specially-trained professionals helps to focus energy and speeds recovery. The extent of the need depends upon the reason for the rehab in the first place. Some things can be accomplished at home or in an outpatient environment. With a more complex situation, therapy is best completed in a setting where professionals are available for extended periods – perhaps a session two or three times a day – and the necessary resources are in place. A skilled nursing center or skilled rehab center has trained staff who are focused on recovery, comfort and progress. Scheduled therapy with a professional guiding the repeated work typically provides more incentive and progress than even the most motivated person can muster on their own.
3) A skilled nursing care or rehab center is too expensive! — When evaluating the alternatives, take into considerations the costs of all variables from length of recovery to equipment to transportation. Would recovery at home take longer and what costs does that incur? Do you have access to the kind of equipment needed to complete a detailed rehab program at home? Even renting a machine or two can be costly. What is the cost of commuting to and from a rehab center if you attempt the task on an outpatient basis? Will outside caregivers need to come into the home? Will family members need to take time off work? With all the time commitments and related elements, you are likely to save money working with a skilled nursing home. And, most insurance covers at least some of the cost of therapy and, for veterans, there are additional avenues to explore to help pay for the stay.
4) If I go to a nursing home, I’ll never go home! — After a stay in the hospital, all anyone wants to do is go home where they feel comfortable and safe. The idea of going to a nursing home and never leaving is frightening. But even more frightening should be the thought of a poor recovery that leads to additional complications. Having state-of-the-art equipment and therapy with professionals versed in the latest techniques is likely the fastest track to a speedy recovery and trip home. In fact, a post-acute stay in a nursing home can range from just 7 days for a knee or hip replacement to 3-4 weeks for a more serious medical condition.
Maine Veterans’ Homes has six locations throughout Maine, each welcoming our honored veterans. We would love to answer your questions and give you a tour. We can also pre-book a rehabilitation stay to help ensure a smooth and immediate transition from surgery to post-acute recovery. Contact Maine Veterans’ Homes online or give us a call at 800-278-9494.