If you plan to use the services of a short term rehab program as a means of ensuring your best recovery after surgery, choosing a top-notch program that delivers quality care is essential to meeting that goal. One of the most important factors to consider in order to assess the quality of care you can expect from such a program is the patient to staff ratio of that program. What is the patient to staff ratio and why is it so important?
The patient to staff ratio refers to the number of patients each staff member is in charge of during a typical work shift. This ratio matters to the quality of care patients receive because it impacts the amount of time those staff members can spend with each person in their charge.
For instance, a physical therapist who has 10 patients on their list for the day will have twice as much time to spend with each one as a therapist who has 20 patients to see. That therapist will also be less stressed than the one with twice as many patients, and therefore able to be more attentive to and in tune with the individual circumstances and needs of those patients.
The same sort of scenario applies to rehabilitation nursing care – more staff equals more time, attention and care for patients – as well as all other care categories, including occupational and speech therapy, physician care, and so on. The bottom line is that more staff in a short term rehab program generally means higher quality and more personalized care for patients.
So how can you find out the staff to patient ratio of inpatient short term rehabilitation programs in your local area? Whether you are looking into post-op rehab programs offered in a dedicated rehabilitation center or programs located within skilled nursing facilities, program administrative staff should be happy to provide you with those numbers.
Another good source of information on quality measures, including staffing levels, is Medicare.gov. This site provides online tools to compare quality of care measures between facilities in and around your local zip code or to research specific facilities by name.
Additionally, it is always a good idea to tour each facility you are considering to see staff/patient interactions for yourself – enlist a family member or friend to do this if you are unable. Lastly, be sure to query your health care team about local short term rehab programs to get an idea of how satisfied other patients who have used them have been with the quality of care.