When an older adult is hospitalized for an injury, illness or planned surgery, they may continue to recover at a skilled nursing and rehab center before returning home or to their senior living community. This short-term care can help improve their overall outcome and prevent a return trip to the hospital. But what about long-term? How does someone stay in their best physical shape—and out of the ER—as life goes on?
That’s where outpatient after-surgery rehab centers come in. Outpatient rehab is an option that can follow short-term rehab to provide more intensive therapy in an outpatient setting. This comprehensive approach can ensure a complete recovery and a more durable therapeutic outcome.
Not all outpatient rehab providers are alike, however. Try the tips below to find the best provider for you or your loved one.
6 Tips for Choosing an Outpatient Rehab Provider
Here are some factors to consider and questions to ask when exploring outpatient after surgery rehab center options:
- Success rates: Outpatient rehab providers have varying levels of experience. Make sure you ask a provider how well their clients do in the following areas: reduced risk of falling, increased walking distance and improved ability to use stairs. Can they provide figures? What percentage of clients end up back in the hospital?
- Specialization: Have the providers’ therapists completed specialized training in working with older adults? Do they use programs clinically proven for older adults, such as the Otago Exercise Program, which is designed to reduce risk of falling?
- Fitness training: Does the provider offer post-rehab fitness and strength training? This one-on-one personal training can help prevent future injuries and allow seniors to retain their highest degree of independence. Not many outpatient rehab providers offer fitness training, but its many benefits are worth the trouble to find one that does.
- Reputation: How long has the provider been in business? Longevity can be a mark of success. Also ask friends who have been through outpatient rehab what advice they have to offer. It can help you gain objective insight into any provider you are considering.
- Fully equipped onsite clinics. Is the provider located onsite or elsewhere? Offsite providers can’t carry in some of the sophisticated equipment needed for optimal outcomes, such as SCIFIT cardio equipment, recumbent bikes and HUR balance equipment.
- Scheduling: Does the provider offer onsite clinic hours so clients aren't beholden to a visiting therapist's schedule? The easier it is to schedule, the better the chances of completing a course of therapy or fitness training for a full return to optimal quality of life.
Respite Care: A Convenient Option for Outpatient Rehab
If you or a loved one are having surgery and anticipate the need for support from an after-surgery rehab center, here’s good news: You can book a short-term stay in a Five Star Senior Living community that features an onsite Ageility clinic. Ageility is Five Star’s rehab and fitness partner. Founded in 2001, Ageility specializes in older adults and provides fitness classes and training in addition to onsite physical and occupational therapy. Find out if there’s an Ageility clinic near you.