Home Long-Term Care A Complete Explanation of Convalescent Homes

A Complete Explanation of Convalescent Homes

by EG
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After a serious injury, surgery, or illness, life quality is vastly improved if the patient receives appropriate rehabilitation. Specifically, studies have shown that early rehabilitation after total hip or knee arthroplasty provides the patient with a shorter recovery time. Consistent treatment for several health conditions is more likely to occur if therapy is done on-site, such as in convalescent homes. 

What is a Convalescent Home?

The word “convalesce” means to recover one’s health and strength. Therefore, a convalescent home is a place that you go to recover your health and strength. The staff is medically trained. Care is designed to help those who are recovering from illness, injury, or operation. The idea is for the patient to return home after getting well. A convalescent home can also be known as an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) or Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). 

What is Convalescent Care?

Since the aim of a stay at a convalescent home is recovery, a stay in the facility is considered short-term treatment. Patients may receive care for just a few days or more than six months, depending on the nature of the health situation the person is recovering from. A convalescent stay includes a bed to sleep in, meals, medical services, medication, lab work, and other therapeutic treatments.  

Who is a Convalescent Person?

A convalescent person is someone who is receiving inpatient treatment at a convalescent facility with the expectation of recovery. The Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA) necessitates that 60% of the patient population in a convalescent home must have one of thirteen conditions. These conditions include stroke, spinal cord injury, amputation, congenital deformity, hip fracture, and major multiple trauma. 

Other conditions that may need convalescent care are brain injury, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis, and burns. If a person has three separate arthritis conditions and outpatient therapy has not been affected, then inpatient treatment at a convalescent home is called for. Additionally, if a person has received a joint replacement for both knees or hips and is over the age of 85 and has a body mass index greater than 50, then convalescent treatment is in order. 

These thirteen are not the only conditions that necessitate a period of convalescence. Whatever the injury or illness, if recovery at home will not be adequate as a short stay at an inpatient rehabilitation facility is a better treatment course. 

What are the Types of Convalescent Care?

There are two kinds of convalescent care classifications, subacute and post-acute. Subacute care caters to patients that have received active, short-term care for serious trauma or illness and still need further medical or rehabilitative care. This is typically the type of care a patient will receive in a convalescent home. Post-acute care occurs as a patient transitions from the facility to their homes or long-term facilities and can include nursing, home health care, and personal care. 

Who Works at a Convalescent Home?

A convalescent home is staffed with medically trained personnel including nurses, doctors, psychologists, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and recreational therapists. Other staff members may be case managers, clergy available for spiritual counseling, or dieticians. 

Nurses and doctors are in charge of your physical treatment including medication and wound care. Occupational therapy is designed to help you regain your independence with daily tasks such as dressing and bathing after severe illness, an operation, or injury. Speech therapy works with your communication skills and provides treatment for those who are having trouble swallowing. 

Physical therapy aims to help recovering patients with their coordination and strength through exercise. Recreational therapy uses leisure activities to regain physical and psychological well-being. Psychologists and clergy may focus on important recovery skills such as motivation, attitude, and coping. 

Dieticians work with patients, and sometimes the convalescent home, to find an appropriate diet to help manage their health conditions. Case managers coordinate patient care. They are available to patients and their families to discuss treatment options.  

Who Pays for Convalescent Care?

Since stays at convalescent homes are meant to be short-term, the charges are billed daily rather than weekly or monthly. Medicare covers up to 100 days. The first 20 days are completely covered. For the other days, costs are covered at about 80%. Medicare does not cover personal care, such as feeding, dressing, or bathing. After 100 days, Medicare may continue to pay for occupational, speech, or physical therapy at the convalescent home. However, you will be responsible for other costs, including room and board. Because of this, remaining at a convalescence home for an extended period of time may be cost-prohibitive, and other arrangements should be considered. 

Medicaid will pay for most services provided at convalescent homes. However, each state has different regulations that must be met. For more information, contact your local Medicaid office.  Private insurance is another way to cover convalescent care. You’ll need to contact your insurance agents to see what services are covered under your policy. 

What Happens if a Patient Cannot Return Home?

Treatment in a convalescent home is designed to help a patient recover and return home in short order. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The period of rehabilitation is often dependent on how long Medicare or insurance is willing to pay for treatment. Once that expires, it may be financially difficult for the individual to remain at the convalescent home. 

If the health of an individual who had been in a convalescence home receiving treatment does not improve sufficiently to return home after a period of time, the next step is to consider long-term care in a nursing facility. This may require moving to a new facility or care may continue in the same facility but as a long-term patient rather than rehabilitation patient. This change does mean there will be no further efforts to rehabilitate the patient. However, the frequency or duration may change. Instead of an intensive 5-day a week schedule, rehabilitation may be reduced to 2-3 days a week. 

Convalescent Homes Conclusion

A convalescent home is set up to help you recover from an illness, injury, or surgery and return home. Stays at a convalescent home are short-term. If additional treatment is needed, you may be transferred to a long-term care facility. 

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