Does My Elderly Parent Need In-Patient Rehabilitation?


When elders suffer a serious fall, injury or medical trauma, they may need to live at a rehabilitation center for some period of time.

Inpatient rehabilitation is a rehabilitation service offered to elderly people in a residential setting, rather than to people who travel to a clinic for rehabilitation appointments.These facilities are called Inpatient Physical Rehabilitation Centers. Inpatient facilities could be located inside of hospitals or senior housing, such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

These centers provide around-the-clock treatment and supervision. Their progress is continuously monitored. In some cases, inpatient treatment programs stand a better chance of success. The types of ailment that might be best treated (check with your doctor for the best advice) include:

The goal is to help the elderly patient return to his/her maximum functional potential after suffering a life-altering event.

Inpatient physical rehabilitation centers are well equipped to conduct various therapies. Therapies are conducted by health care workers such as rehab physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, rehab nurses and a social workers.

Treatments can range from re-gaining communication skills, improving mobility, strength training for using wheelchairs and walkers, carrying out daily activities (such as bathing and dressing), improving muscle function and emotional support to help the elderly patients cope with the alterations in their life.

Treatments are broken down into three main categories:
• Physical Therapy (PT)
• Occupational Therapy (OT)
• Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)

In an inpatient physical rehabilitation program, patients typically have a very structured day. Part of the day is devoted to followup medical care which is designed to address ongoing physical issues, and part of the day involves physical and occupational therapy to help the patient build up strength and skills.

Duration of treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition and potential for improvement. Generally, significant results can be achieved in four to six weeks. However, this differs widely depending on the condition being treated and the patient's involvement in his/her rehabilitation program.

Some inpatient rehabilitation centers may include a falls clinic, in which a physical therapist provides treatment, assessment and intervention to those who are at high risk of falls. This includes looking at the home environment to increase safety and providing education to reduce risks.

To find an inpatient rehabilitation center in your local area, visit the directory of senior care providers.

You May Also Like

Free AgingCare Guides

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


Kat, I hope things go well for you and your Mom and that the facility is good, and your Mom can get back home again soon! {{Hugs}}, Katie.
There are different types of inpatient rehab facilities. Most often those in hospitals (acute inpatient rehab) have a 3 hour per day therapy requirement. It is more intense therapy for a shorter stay. Rehab in nursing homes is usually Subacute Reab (SAR). The therapy requirements are less strict so it is less intense therapy but a longer stay. The problem is that many (not all!) SAR facilities are run by unscrupulous for profit companies who look at their bottom line more than what is best for the patient.
I have very mixed feeling about rehab in nursing homes and acute rehab facilities. The first time my Mom went it was ok, but she was glad to get home. Then 3 years later she went after falling and suffering a compound arm fracture. The facility, while promoting itself with fancy decor etc. basically let Mom lie in bed and she developed a stage 4 pressure sore many centimeters deep. The facility did not tell me about the sore. It was discovered by the intake nurse at the hospital where Mom was rushed with delirium from a UTI. I kept telling people at the facility that Mom was not herself and they let it progress to delirium. The second nursing home she went to, while appearing all was well from the lobby, was a calamity. An aide let her sink to the floor while trying to transfer her and broke her leg. After all this I vowed to keep her at my home and she had home PT. She ended up in a third nursing home only because my husband needed surgery, and this private pay facility was really good. I did take her home for her last months on hospice anyhow.