When Short-term Rehab is the Next Step to Recovery

by Mary Keen

What to Expect? 

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as Obamacare), America’s healthcare landscape is evolving. One change that has already bubbled to the surface is the way that hospitals are managing their patients, particularly Medicaid and Medicare recipients. New limits are being placed on the optimal length of time hospitals can keep patients—from the point of admissions to discharge—and still receive maximum reimbursement for their stay. With this in mind, hospitals have been transitioning patients to their homes or into sub-acute short-term rehabilitation much sooner than they had in the past. Fortunately, with the Haag Pavilion for Short-term Rehabilitation at Lieberman Center, CJE is poised to be at the forefront during this evolution. We are equipped to manage the short-term, intensive rehabilitation and medical care of fragile, and older, patients who are being discharged from the hospital sooner than in the past.

Our treatment protocol is outcome-and goal-based, with the achievement of healthcare milestones the focused objective. We rely a great deal on assessments that provide measurements of what a person was like on entering the short-term rehab program compared to their successes at end of their stay. Our standards are set by a Quality Committee on an annual basis, in line with current trends in healthcare. An important metric is our hospital readmission rate, a measureable indication of care. The government is taking a close look at these rates and is penalizing hospitals with high readmission rates. Our skilled nursing staff, nurse practitioner model and physiatry service helps us maintain a rate that’s below the national rate: Our rate of read missions within 30 days of admission is 18%, compared to a national rate of 26%. (See our website for a summary of Lieberman’s Quality Outcome Measures at http://cje.net/skilled-nursing/lieberman-center-health-rehabilitation.)

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“After my stroke last year, I was in bad shape. I didn’t know if I would ever be able to live in my apartment again. But the team at Lieberman—and lots of their great food—pulled me through with an intense therapy program 7 days a week for a month. Now, "Dad is back and as feisty as ever,’ say my kids.”

Edward Klein—86 years old and back on his bike

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These statistics demonstrate our ability to provided outcomes-based quality care. When admitted, Lieberman patients enjoy the benefits of several dedicated programs for those who need short-term care. Our areas of specialty include orthopedics, congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, wound care, post-stroke care and complex medical rehab. Our constant goal is to facilitate our patients’ return home in better condition than when they were admitted—and as soon as possible. So, upon arrival, patients’ discharge plans are developed in tandem with their rehabilitation plan.

Our interdisciplinary approach to short-term rehabilitation deals with the whole person— physical, social, emotional and spiritual—a practice that facilitates the best outcomes. The staffing on this unit includes: board-certified physiatrist, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse manager, board-certified rehab nurse, registered nurses, licensed physical and occupational therapists, licensed speech and language pathologists and clinical social worker. Specialists in the fields of psychiatry, psychology and neuropsychology, creative arts therapy and pastoral care provide additional support to enhance the healing process.

The majority of a patient’s stay at Haag will include work with rehabilitation therapists who provide physical, occupational and speech therapy to help develop and improve fine and gross motor skills, activities of daily living, strength and endurance, safety training and personalized exercise routines. Licensed social workers address an individual’s emotional, psychological and social needs as he or she makes the transition from acute care, to sub-acute care to home. We are committed to easing people back into their normal lives—taking them to the grocery store and on walks. Prior to discharging a patient, we assess a person’s safety training needs and often make recommendation on physical changes to a patient’s home that may help in the recovery process or, reduce the possibility of a hospital readmission due to a fall or home accident.

Careful attention by a team of medical rehab experts, advanced planning on return-to-home needs, and a holistic approach are some of the special benefits of the Haag Pavilion for Short-Term Rehabilitation. Add to that our continuous attention to CJE SeniorLife’s values—respect, advocacy, compassion, intention, innovation and accountability—and we help our patients and their loved ones get a complete wellness package.   

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of LIFE, CJE SeniorLife's quarterly magazine.