Choosing a rehabilitation facility for a loved one or friend is an important decision. Every rehab facility has different capabilities, medical staff and philosophies. It is critical to choose one that can best meet the needs of the patient. Here’s what to look for when seeking a rehab facility.
The Medical Team
It takes the right medical team to achieve the best outcome. The medical team should be appropriate to the rehab needs and be certified, experienced and caring. Depending on the patient needs, a physiatrist, clinical nurse coordinator, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, recreational therapist, social worker, respiratory therapist and neuropsychologist should be available at the facility. And if the rehab is for a drug addiction, a psychiatrist and licensed counselor should be onboard. It’s important to note that psychological and social adjustments are just as important as physical rehabilitation. Keep in mind that medical staff should be available 24/7.
Accreditation and Facilities
Is the rehab facility accredited? U.S. rehab facilities are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO). Accredited facilities are inspected by the JCAHO every three years to conduct evaluations covering all aspects of care. It’s important to choose a rehab facility that is properly accredited. The facility should also be clean and appealing. Does the patient room have a phone, TV and a bath or shower? Do patients have access to outdoor areas that they can use? All around, the rehab facility should be comfortable for the patient.
The Ratio of Qualified Nurses to Patients
While rehab facilities may seem to have a lot of caregivers on staff, are they certified rehab nurses? The ideal ratio of nurses to patients is one nurse to every five patients during the daytime. During the nighttime, there should be one nurse for every six patients. This ratio should not include certified nursing assistants (CNAs).
Treatment Plan and Patient Care Coordinator
The treatment plan should be developed by a team of therapists and specialists assigned to the patient and tailored to meet the patient’s needs. On average, therapy should range from one to three hours each day and spread out in intervals during the day. It should also be progressive therapy to ensure daily function. There should be a case worker or patient care coordinator on staff. These health care workers can answer questions about insurance issues, patient recovery, discharge and post-care services.
When medical providers and family work together as partners, it maximizes the opportunity for recovery of the patient. Find out how the rehab facility involves the family in the treatment plan. Is family encouraged to participate in key meetings? Does the facility help family learn how to assist in the patient’s care? Can family members visit and observe therapy sessions? Does the medical team collaborate with the family on a regular basis?
Inquire about any supplemental services provided by the rehab facility. These may include music, art, cooking, pet therapy or support groups. These types of supplemental services help take on a holistic approach for healing. Also, find out if the rehabilitation center helps arrange for outpatient therapy and home care available through professionals in your local area.
It may take time, but ensuring that the rehab facility will meet all the needs of the patient will help increase the chances of successful rehabilitation.