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Hospital to Home: Know your post-surgical care options

Some individuals postpone surgery because they have lost strength after a period of being less active, aren’t confident about their independence, or because they don’t have a support person at home while they recover. It is important to know that you have options for care following surgery.

“Individuals considering surgery, from joint replacement to hernia repair, should understand that services are available to help them on the road to recovery after leaving the hospital. Depending upon the type of surgery and the patient’s pre- and post-surgical condition, a patient’s physician and discharge planner can share with them a number of options to help them during the healing process,” said Jill Gaddes, MSN, RN, CNML, who serves as director of population health and care coordination at Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia.

If you are considering surgery, talk to your care team about the following options after being discharged from the hospital:

Outpatient Therapy Center

For stronger patients who can travel or have a driver, outpatient therapy centers may be the best option. Whether you need rehabilitation following joint replacement surgery or occupational therapy to increase dexterity following a stroke or injury, therapists can provide care during a series of appointments to help you regain function.

Home Services

Home Services can provide nursing and/or rehabilitation professionals who visit your home on a daily or weekly basis. Services may include wound care, physical therapy and personal hygiene services for patients.

Hospital-based Transitional Rehabilitation

Under the Medicare program, some rural hospitals are approved to operate transitional rehabilitation services for patients discharged from an acute care hospital into a rural hospital’s post-acute care setting. Often referred to as swing beds, this type of care includes nursing care and physical therapy to assist in the transition to home.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

These facilities also offer nursing care and rehabilitation services but are not necessarily associated with a hospital. Many are free-standing facilities or may also offer long-term residential care services.

These services are covered by most insurance, including Medicare, but coverage varies by provider. Talk to your doctor about the best option for you based on your surgery, physical condition and insurance coverage.