Choosing a Transitional Rehab Facility for Elders


If your elderly loved one needs transitional rehabilitative care, here are some questions caregivers can ask before choosing where they should go.

Does the facility specialize in rehabilitation?

The rehabilitation facility you choose should have specialists including physicians; nurses; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; psychologists; recreational therapists; and case managers. All of these specialists work together to develop an individualized treatment plan for your loved one.

What percentage of patients are sent home after receiving care?

How many go to a nursing home or long-term care facility? Try to determine if the rehabilitation facility will be able to return your elderly parent to the highest level of function possible. One indicator of effective rehabilitation is how successful a center is in returning patients to their home. Of course, this isn't always possible, depending on your parent's condition or health problem.

What are the staff's qualifications?

The facility you choose should be accredited by The Joint Commission (formerly the JCAHO) or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Is there a "continuum of care?"

Your parent's rehabilitation process does not end with his or her stay in a rehab facility. Elders require varying levels of care before and after their inpatient stay. Some therapies your parent may need include outpatient therapy at a rehab facility, in-home physical therapy, or long-term inpatient care.

Is the facility experienced in treating your parent's condition?

Did your parent have a hip replacement, brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke or orthopedic procedure? Make sure the staff is experienced in the condition your mom or dad has. Specialists are more sensitive to the patient's needs, have the right experience and will provide more creative treatments—all of which lead to a stronger recovery.

What is the average length of stay?

Based on your parent's condition, how long, on average, have other patients stayed in the rehab facility? What about people with the same condition as your parent?

How many hours of therapy a day will there be?

Your elderly parent is in rehab, to be rehabilitated. Lying in bed for hours at a time will not help them recover. Research how many hours of therapy are needed per day, based on your parent's condition. Then, make sure this number matches the amount of therapy the facility provides.

What should your parent bring?

What items—such as toiletries, hearing aids, clothing, and money—should your parent bring to the facility? Are personal items such as photographs allowed?

How can family members get involved?

Are family conferences offered to keep family members informed of the patient's progress? What are visiting hours, and how long can family members stay?

You May Also Like

Free AgingCare Guides

Get the latest care advice and articles delivered to your inbox!


My mother had a stroke in August, resulting in aphasia and dysphasia. We tried to have her in a Rehab for a month, and she couldn't wait to leave. We tried to have her in her home with me, her roommate and caregivers, since we were told she needed 24-hour care. She wanted us all to leave at one point--regardless of what the professionals said.We tried an AL, and she would not become involved in the activities. Outside--it was beautiful; during the day very pleasant, but w/the new director, the costs were going up, but the p.m. care the quality of care was going down. She fell three times in a month and we began to feel that she was unsafe during her stay--especially during the p.m. hours. So--her last fall resulted in a broken back--the 9th vertebrae. Now she is a Rehab/Conv. with a roommate; more noise and activity, her door is open all the time, it is not as pretty as her AL, but she seems like it and we feel very safe leaving her there. Our lesson: We pray for God's guidance, try not to make decisions emotionally, take care about getting too excited about outside appearances, be able to make changes; what may work for some people may not work for others, just do what seems to be the right thing for your parent.. At one time we focused on the trevails of getting our kids to eat their vegetables--we may have the same problem with our parents ( we do! ) not only with the vegies, but other issues. I am not naturally a patient person, so need to pray often to have the fruits of the spirit and God's grace in many situations that come up. Walking for 15 minutes and eating healthy foods sometimes can make all the difference as to how I handle the daily trials. I would caution the above w/anti-depressants. My mother was on them for 10 years and experienced many of the side effects (constipation, dizziness, etc.) Combined with her Aricept and allergy medicine, she was not doing well when she had her last fall--very dehydrated. Now she has a broken back--but a Dr. who is trying to get her to eat a more healthy diet, and trying to taper her off of her Welbutrin and get her off of it and Aricept completely.

We really like this Skilled Nursing/Rehab home at this point in time though. The staff ratio to the patients is much more to our liking, as safety is a big issue these days. Thank you for this site! {:^)
My mother has been in a transitional care unit twice and my husband has been once. In all three cases, the number once overriding criterion for selection was "where is there a bed open?" When the hospital is ready to discharge to a TCU the social worker gets on the phone or computer and finds an open spot. If the family has a preference that place will be called first, but there sure is no garantee that's what you'll get. They also start their calls in the patient's neighborhood, but there is also no assurance that the location available will be convenient for family or friends to visit. In my limited experience, knowing what you want is one thing, but taking what you get and making the best of it is the reality.
We live in San Jose California. My wife is going to have hip replacement surgery. I would like her to stay in some type of rehab center for the first week after the surgery. I would then bring her home for further care. Can you tell me who to contact for this type of service?