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What is Senior Rehabilitation?

Senior rehabilitation covers a broad range of services that are prescribed by a doctor and provided by highly trained professionals. Senior rehabilitation services may only be needed for a short period of time (to recover from a surgery or hospital stay) or may require long-term therapy and treatment for any number of major health issues (such as heart disease).  At Medford Leas, our Woolman neighborhood offers short-term rehabilitation, and we are proud of our five-star Medicare rating.

Although some freestanding rehabilitation centers exist, most inpatient rehabilitation centers are located within skilled nursing communities, hospitals or as part of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). For seniors who require round-the-clock medical care/assistance or for those who require an intensive rehabilitation regimen, inpatient rehab is often the preferred choice. Many senior rehabilitation centers provide rehabilitation services seven days a week to fully expedite recovery. 

The circumstances that bring individuals to a senior rehabilitation center are often life-changing, such as a fall, heart attack or stroke. The main goal of rehabilitation is to get the patient back up on their feet as quickly and safely as possible. Many times, after a major health crisis (such as a heart attack or stroke) or surgery (such as that following an accident or a joint replacement), a person is discharged from the hospital long before they’re able to care for themselves. Recovery can take days, weeks or even months.

Senior rehabilitation therapy greatly benefits older adults who experience:

  • Diminished/impaired mobility, coordination and balance
  • Restrictions/limitations in joint motion and strength
  • Changes in cognition, thought processing, reasoning, rational thinking and memory
  • Limitations in self-care
  • Problems with speech and communication
  • Swallowing disorders

These problems and difficulties often result from:

  • Major multiple trauma (often the result of falls or car accidents)
  • Arthritis of the spine and other joints
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Neurological disorders (Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and muscular dystrophy
  • Fractured or broken hip
  • Joint injury or replacement
  • Brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Nerve impingement
  • Amputations
  • Tumor/cancer

Rehabilitation typically starts as soon as the patient is stable. For example, rehabilitation following a hip fracture typically begins the day after surgery. Rehabilitation after a stroke generally begins within 24 to 48 hours.

Duration of therapy varies depending upon the severity of the condition and a patient’s potential for improvement. Typically, significant results may be achieved in four to six weeks. Results vary widely depending on the issue being addressed and the patient’s cooperation and involvement in their treatment.

Types of Senior Rehabilitative Therapies

There are many types of rehabilitative therapies offered at senior rehabilitation centers. At Medford Leas’ Woolman Rehabilitation, a renovation is underway to many of the spaces that provide outpatient and in-patient wellness and physician services, physical therapy, pharmacy, and more.  Neighborhoods like Woolman provide various services, while other rehabilitation centers cater to specific health issues or conditions, such as hip replacement or brain injury. At Medford Leas, onsite physicians follow a resident’s progress daily and may prescribe one or more types of therapy to help a person recover lost abilities.  They will adjust therapy regimens based on each patient’s progress and observations made by the patient’s therapy team. Typical senior rehabilitative therapies include: 

  • Physical therapy helps older adults increase endurance and strength and optimize muscle control, mobility, flexibility and balance. Physical therapy is used for pain management, gait training and reconditioning after hospitalization, surgery or illness.
  • Occupational therapy focuses on the development of skills needed to safely accomplish basic everyday activities such as opening letters and packages, using a computer and cutting food. Occupational therapy also provides assistance and training for activities of daily living (ADLs) such as grooming, eating, dressing, bathing and toileting.
  • Neurological therapy and acquired brain injury therapy for patients recovering from traumatic brain injury (most often the result of a fall), stroke or brain tumor
  • Cardiac rehabilitative services for older adults recovering from a heart attack, surgery or transplant
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation for older adults with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Balance and gait therapy for safer mobility and fall prevention
  • Speech, language and hearing therapy addresses issues with speaking, auditory processing and communication problems that arise from a wide range of disorders. These therapies also assist patients who are overcoming swallowing difficulties associated with injury or illness.
  • IV therapy to deliver fluids, medications and nutrients. IV therapy is especially helpful for those who have an illness or injury that prevents the swallowing of fluids.
  • Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is used to overcome the upper limb/extremity impairment often caused by a stroke
  • Vestibular therapy is designed to help individuals who have complaints of falls, dizziness, vertigo, a sense of imbalance, motion sensitivity, disequilibrium and balance disorders.
  • Cognitive, psychological and neuropsychological rehabilitation concentrates on problems with cognition, behavioral functioning and emotional functioning.
  • Vision therapy concentrates on increasing overall functional independence by addressing sensory and physical limitations.
  • Music therapy focuses on the cognitive, physical, speech/language and psychosocial needs of an individual.
  • Aquatic therapy uses the buoyancy of water and exercise to accelerate and enhance the rehabilitation process. It is especially useful for those who have painful joints caused by arthritis.

Drug and alcohol addiction programs have also been designed for the special needs of older adults. They are always in-house at special drug and alcohol addiction centers to help individuals overcome their addictions and to deal with the detoxification process.

Rehabilitation Team Members

Medford Leas is one of the few skilled nursing rehabilitation centers to also offer full-time on-site doctors who prescribe, oversee and adjust rehabilitative services.  The services offered at senior rehabilitation centers are provided by a team of highly trained professionals which may include the following. 

  • Full-time on-site nurse practitioners who prescribe, oversee and adjust rehabilitative services
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Orthopedic professionals who assist patients to overcome muscle, joint, bone and nerve issues caused by illness or trauma
  • IV therapists
  • Wound care professionals to treat pressure ulcers (bed sores), diabetic ulcers, burns and any other wounds that need care
  • Pain management specialists to effectively and safely manage pain and discomfort
  • Nutritional specialists teach which foods assist the body in the healing process
  • Social workers

Looking to effectively meet the needs of older adults, senior rehabilitation may also include home safety and fall prevention education, back injury prevention education, and balance training to reduce fall risk. Other healthcare professionals, such as dentists, podiatrists and pharmacists may also be part of the senior rehabilitation service team.

Cost of Senior Rehabilitation Services

The 2018 national median daily cost of skilled nursing care, which includes inpatient rehabilitation services, is $275 for a private room and $242 for a semi-private room according to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey. Medicare covers the cost of all or part of many rehabilitation services that are delivered in a skilled nursing community or hospital setting when said therapies are required to meet a patient’s health goals and as long as other eligibility requirements for skilled nursing care are met. Outpatient rehabilitation services that meet Medicare eligibility rules may be partially reimbursed after deductibles are met.

Senior Rehabilitation Care Options

When rehabilitation is required, it can be accomplished as outpatient, inpatient or at-home.

Outpatient Senior Rehabilitation

Patients go to a rehabilitation center for treatment and return to their homes after each therapy session. Patients are responsible for continuing exercises in their home between visits to the rehabilitation center to maximize their progress. They must also arrange for transportation to their visits. Outpatient therapy is not always as effective as inpatient because older adults who live alone often find it difficult to complete their exercises at home.  At Medford Leas, the convenience of therapy services right on campus is a benefit to residents who choose therapy at home.

Inpatient Senior Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation is generally more focused and intensive. It’s ideal for older adults recovering from surgery, injury or major illness who are not yet ready to return home. Patients receive daily therapy sessions. Their stay is determined by the period of time that will maximize their recovery.

At-home Senior Rehabilitation

At-home rehabilitation may serve as a transition between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation.  At Medford Leas, these services can follow you back to your home on the main campus or Lumberton campus.

Senior Rehabilitation at Medford Leas

Medford Leas has provided a caring and supportive approach to rehabilitation and senior care since 1971. We are dedicated to helping you overcome the challenges you face enabling you to return back to your daily life and routines. From skilled nursing care to short- or long-term rehab, our rehabilitation team can help you find your pathway back to recovery and wellness.  Learn more about our five-star rating here.

Our unique treatment approach to senior rehabilitation makes our program effective. Each patient’s care is individualized to meet their specific and unique goals and needs. From our determined focus on your recovery to our well-equipped facilities and fitness center, Medford Leas is prepared to provide you with the best rehabilitative services in the area. Contact us to learn more. 


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