Senior Rehabilitation Centers
“Rehabilitation” is a term that covers a lot of services for seniors, from short-term help after surgery to long-term therapy for a major health issue like heart disease.* Typically, your doctor will prescribe rehab services if you need to regain range of motion, improve skills such as swallowing and speaking, or recover other functions after surgery, due to an injury or illness, or as part of an overall health-management program.
When your doctor recommends rehab after a major health event, you’re likely to have questions about what rehab will involve, how long it will last, whether you will need to live in the facility, and how you’ll pay for services. We’ve put together information to help you know what to expect before, during and after your rehab experience.
*“Rehab” can also refer to alcohol and drug addiction programs, and there are addiction rehab programs designed especially for seniors.
Click the links below to learn more about senior rehabilitation centers.
Fast Facts on Senior Rehabilitation Centers
- Most inpatient rehabilitation facilities are located within hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, although some are freestanding centers.
- Inpatient rehab stays can last from just a few days to several weeks or months, depending on your health condition and recovery needs.
- Inpatient rehabilitation is the preferred care plan for seniors who need round-the-clock nursing help on call or who need an intensive rehab regimen that makes outpatient care impractical.
- Some senior rehabilitation centers offer therapy sessions 7 days a week so you can keep making progress.
What services are provided in senior rehabilitation centers?
Many senior rehab centers offer a long list of services, while others specialize in particular health areas like brain injury or hip replacement. Typical rehab offerings include:
- acquired brain injury or neurological therapy services for patients recovering from a stroke, brain tumor or traumatic brain injury
- balance and gait therapy for falls prevention and safer mobility
- cardiac rehabilitation for seniors recovering from a heart attack, surgery, or transplant
occupational therapy for activities of daily living
- physical therapy for joint and mobility issues
- pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- speech, language and hearing therapy to address issues with talking, auditory processing, and swallowing
Your own course of therapy will be prescribed by your doctor and adjusted as you move through the program, based on your progress and observations by your doctor and therapists.
How much do senior rehabilitation services cost?
The national median daily rate for skilled nursing care, which includes inpatient rehab services, is $220 for a semi-private room and $250 for a private room, according to the 2015 national Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Medicare pays for all or part of many rehab services, and in 2014 the agency made an important change in its reimbursement policy. Medicare used to only cover rehab services in which the patient was showing improvement, but now services are covered when they help patients maintain their existing level of ability or when they help to slow a decline in abilities.
Medicare Part A covers inpatient physical, occupational, and speech-language therapies delivered in a hospital or skilled nursing facility if those therapies “are needed to meet your health goal” and as long as your stay meets the other Medicaid eligibility requirements for skilled nursing care. (It’s important to note that patients who refuse to participate in their prescribed rehab therapy can lose their coverage for those services.)
Outpatient comprehensive and intensive cardiac rehabilitation services and pulmonary rehab services that meet eligibility rules are partially reimbursed under Medicare Part B, after the patient’s deductible is met. Patients getting therapy at their physician’s office are responsible for 20% of the amount approved by Medicare, while those getting outpatient therapy at a hospital are responsible for the hospital’s copayment.
Learn more about how to apply for Medicare.