While it was once routine for surgical patients to receive the services they needed to recover before being discharged from the hospital, today's shorter hospital stays mean that patients who need rehabilitation after surgery must plan that aspect of recovery separately. For many this leads to a rehab program in a specialized rehabilitation facility. So what do you need to know if you're heading to rehab after surgery?
About Post Surgical Rehab Programs
Inpatient programs for rehabilitation after surgery are typically located in hospitals, skilled nursing centers, or dedicated rehab facilities. They offer comprehensive rehabilitation services customized to the needs of individual patients. If you'll be using one of these programs, you can generally expect to be receive intensive rehabilitation services designed to help you get regain your strength, health and independence after surgery. A team of rehabilitation specialists will work with you and your health care team to evaluate your needs and formulate a rehab plan that meets them, which may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutritional counseling, pain management, wound care and many other services. Of course, the exact therapies and services you'll be offered will depend on your own circumstances, including the type of surgery you've had and your state of general health and fitness.
Choosing the Right Program for Your Rehabilitation After Surgery
If you're like most patients, you'll want to get back in shape and as quickly as possible after surgery. Achieving that goal means choosing the right rehab program to meet your needs. For instance, whether you're having heart surgery, joint replacement surgery, or have been affected by an injury that requires surgical repair, choosing a program that has experience rehabilitating patients with similar circumstances is your best bet in terms of fast, high-quality results.
Your surgeon and other members of your health care team may be able to offer insight into the details of programs in your area, and hospital social workers are great sources of information as well. Doing a bit of online research can be helpful too. Many rehab programs have websites today, making information about their services easy to find, and consumer sites abound that offer reviews from the perspective of patients.
You'll probably want to choose a program that is close to home as well, ensuring that friends and family members can visit, and one that is close to your hospital or doctor's office, since you're likely to need to get to follow-up appointments. Last, but not least, make sure you choose a rehab program that accepts your insurance. If you have trouble figuring out the details of just what your plan will cover, your hospital social worker can help.
Perhaps the most important thing you need to know about rehabilitation after surgery is that a great rehab program can offer important benefits in terms of helping you make the most of your recovery. The services these programs provide typically help patients recover more quickly, completely and safely than patients who are left to their own devices after surgery. While few patients relish the thought of spending time in another facility just after a hospital stay, those advantages make the experience a very worthwhile one for patients who are eager to put the difficulties of recovering from surgery behind them and get back living their lives.