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When Short Term Becomes Long Term

Whether you are recuperating from a long illness, surgery, or injury, your doctor may suggest short-term rehabilitation before discharge. Short-term rehabilitation involves a combination of skilled nursing and various therapeutic services, ranging from occupational, physical to speech therapy. If you are recommended for short-term rehabilitation, you expect to be discharged within a few weeks. Unfortunately, this always doesn’t happen, and you might have to adjust to the reality of long-term care.

How Long is Short-Term Rehabilitation?

Short-term rehab aims to enable the patient to achieve independence and better quality of life. Generally, this type of focused care often lasts a few weeks but can turn into months depending on the following factors;

  1. Type of injury or illness

Recovery from uncomplicated injuries or illnesses often takes a shorter period compared to serious or complex issues. However, note that recovery periods may last longer for elderly or immunocompromised patients. Conditions such as stroke or respiratory illnesses and surgeries such as knee replacement, spinal cord, and hip fractures often require long rehabilitation sessions. Generally, if the patient’s short-term rehabilitation goals cannot be achieved within 12 weeks, the patient may have to transition to long-term rehabilitation.

  1. The severity of illness or injury

As mentioned, severe injuries and illnesses require more healing time. The severity of a condition is determined by the number of body parts or systems affected and how soon patients move the affected parts. For instance, if a patient can move the lower leg on command after a knee replacement surgery on admission to short-term rehabilitation, the patient may spend a few days or weeks in the rehab. On the other hand, if the patient cannot move during admission, more time is required to ensure that the patient achieves maximum independence.

  1. Patient recovery goals

Rehabilitation centers provide a patient-centered approach, meaning that treatment therapies are customized to individual patients. Every patient’s treatment plans or goals are developed by a multi-disciplinary team comprised of a doctor, care providers, family members, and a therapist. Depending on the type of injury, recovery goals may include;

  • Move from bed to wheelchair and wheelchair to toilet with minimum or no physical assistance

  • Scale and descend from 2 floors with minimal assistance

  • Wear and button a shirt while seated with minimal assistance

Once these goals have been formulated, the rehabilitation team collaborates to ensure that these goals have been met. The team also meets periodically to assess the patient’s progress. Most patients achieve their set goals within the scheduled time and can go home even before the twelve-week stay.

How to Cope with Long-Term Care

Depending on the conditions above, transitioning from short-term to long-term care might be difficult and confusing. If such occurs, consider the following tips to cope with the situation;

  • Understand that professional care is necessary

A high level of care increases the safety and comfort of an ill or aging loved one. These care facilities don’t accept just anyone. Before admission, a thorough assessment is done to ensure that the patient indeed requires long-term care. While there are alternatives such as home health care, they might be costly.

  • Understand that you can’t live for others

Even though you can offer help, total control over your loved one’s health isn’t always in your hands. No solution solves all problems or will make everyone happy. Nonetheless, you must do what’s best within your capabilities, and what is best for your loved one and their personal situation.

  • Let the rehab do its job

Unlike short-term care, the bulk of patient care in long-term rehab becomes the facilities’ responsibility. All the while, you can regularly visit, advocate, and do other things that can brighten their days and make their new life easier.

Regardless of the condition, recovery doesn’t have to end in the hospital. Therefore, heed your doctor’s advice if they suggest that you spend some time in a highly skilled and professional short-term rehabilitation center, such as The Arbors, in Amarillo, TX. When it comes to providing excellent short-term care with long-term benefits, the experts at The Arbors are not only dedicated to treating you and your loved ones like family, taking care of you is their calling. Contact the Arbors in Amarillo, Texas today to learn more!