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Options for Rehab Care—What's best for you?

Walker Methodist | Apr 5, 2022


It can be hard to know what kind of rehab care is right for you or your loved one. Even with a recommendation from a doctor, you can still be left with questions. Is this plan the right fit? As a caregiver, will I be able to support my loved one in this process? And what are my other options? 

You will most likely be prescribed physical, occupational, or speech therapy when experiencing a limitation in physical or speech functions. Read on to learn about the differences and options to better prepare you or a loved one for a successful recovery.

What are the most common rehabilitative therapies I may need?

The three most common therapies recommended post-surgery or injury are physical, occupational, and speech therapy. These therapies are also used to treat impairments from cognitive and physical decline due to aging or degenerative conditions.

The differences and nuances can feel overwhelming at first. But a working knowledge of these therapies will help you advocate for the best treatment plan.

Physical therapy increases a patient’s range of movement and functional mobility. Its focus is to help manage pain and strengthen weakened muscles. This therapy deals with gross motor skills.

Occupational therapy zeros in on improving function when it comes to everyday tasks. This type of therapy addresses fine motor skills such as opening a jar or brushing your hair. Someone recovering from an injury or experiencing a disease like Parkinson’s can benefit from occupational therapy.

Speech therapy focuses on communication. This therapy covers articulation, swallowing, and eating issues. Speech therapy is crucial for aging adults who've lost their ability to communicate because of dementia or a brain injury. A speech therapist can also help treat aphasia (loss of speech and comprehension) in stroke patients.

What is the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab care?

This decision will determine where your treatment will take place.

Inpatient treatment, such as transitional care, happens in a hospital, rehabilitation center, or skilled nursing facility. If you are prescribed inpatient care, you will stay at one of these facilities full time during your treatment. 

Inpatient care is usually for a short period of time (a few weeks) and provides a holistic, intensive environment. This ensures a certain level of built-in safety and support. It’s best for patients who have had complex surgeries or injuries and can result in a speedier recovery time.

It can be daunting as a caregiver to oversee a loved one's recovery. This option can take the pressure off by entrusting care to a team of professionals. It also allows for access to professional equipment and meal plans.

Outpatient treatment is recommended for less critical injuries or problems. It's best for patients who are still able to function independently.

An outpatient care plan allows patients to return to the comfort of their own home between sessions. However, it comes with some drawbacks.

Patients must travel to a clinic or practice for appointments. This can put a strain on caregivers to provide transportation. And unlike an inpatient facility, outpatient treatment does not offer the same access to equipment between appointments. It is up to the patient to do their prescribed exercises on their own.

At home health care provides treatment for those who are homebound. A therapist will come to a patient’s home and provide therapy one on one. This type of care focuses on giving a patient mobility within their own space.

Will my care be covered by insurance?

The good news is these three common therapies (whether inpatient or outpatient) are usually covered by insurance. But be sure to check with your provider about the extent of coverage. Going out-of-network or not having proper referrals could land you a surprise bill.

Something to consider: inpatient treatment is usually more expensive because of its inclusive nature. Outpatient treatment is more affordable but comes with more responsibility for the patient or caregiver.

What are my options in light of Covid-19?

The world has changed a lot in the past year and half with the Covid-19 pandemic. For vulnerable populations, visiting a clinic or practice can feel unsafe.

Telehealth visits provide accessibility for those with weakened or compromised immune systems. Through telehealth visits, a therapist can provide remote rehabilitation care.

The advent of telemedicine is not only convenient but also cost effective. An article in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that virtual PT for knee replacement was not only less expensive but also had similar outcomes to in-person treatment.

What can I expect after my therapy is over?

Once your treatment is over, it’s important to maintain your hard-earned progress. Following your therapist's instructions will help you continue to grow stronger and avoid setbacks.

You may be given exercises to do on your own. Your therapist may also recommend fitness plans or lifestyle changes to better suit your condition. Additionally, you may be given guidance on how to reintegrate certain activities back into your day to day.

How can I get started?

The first step toward recovery is knowing your options. If you or a loved one are suddenly in need of rehabilitation or you are looking ahead to a scheduled procedure, a plan is paramount. Our team of friendly transitional care therapists are here to help! Reach out today to consult with one of our therapists who can help you decide what treatments may be right for you.

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