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.

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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?