If you'll be headed to rehab after surgery, good for you! A stay in short term rehab can definitely help you get off on the right foot once you're discharged from the hospital, offering the care and support you need to make the most of your recovery. However, while many think of a rehabilitation center as just another hospital – and there are some similarities – you'll find that there are many differences too. Knowing what to expect from your stay can make the transition from hospital to rehab easier and more comfortable.
The key differences between a hospital stay and spending time in a short term rehab are about focus and expectations. While care in the hospital setting is primarily focused on rest, healing, and medical care, rehab is all about rehabilitation – helping you regain any function or fitness you may have lost due to your surgery or the circumstances that made that surgery necessary. You will, of course, receive any medical care you need while you're in rehab, but the primary focus will be on getting you back in shape. What that means is that more will be expected of you in terms of activity, and you can expect to be quite busy as your team of rehabilitative specialists works to help you reach your rehabilitation goals.
As a first step in identifying your individual needs and goals, you can expect a thorough evaluation to be done as you're admitted to short term rehab. Based upon that evaluation, your rehabilitation team – which will consist of rehabilitative specialists that may include physicians, nursing staff, occupational and physical therapists, nutritionists, counselors, case managers, and more – will collaborate with you to set goals and devise an effective, individualized treatment plan to assist you in working towards them.
While every rehab patient and treatment plan is different, tailored to the specific needs of each patient, you can generally expect to receive a minimum of three hours of therapy daily during your stay in short term rehab. You can also expect to have access to rehabilitation facilities and equipment between therapy sessions in order to follow through on prescribed exercise and therapies on your own.
Perhaps the most important thing that you need to know about short term rehab after surgery is that you will be expected to take a very active role in your treatment. In fact, unlike that hospital stay, you'll be largely in the driver's seat – with the help and guidance of your rehab team – when it comes to your progress in regaining your strength, health, function, and independence. That means that giving it your all is the key to making the most of the rehab experience – an experience that, so long as you take full advantage of it, can help you get back in shape and back to your life much more quickly and completely than you would on your own.