Rehabilitation is a process. The goal is to help an individual become as independent as possible in order to return home. Sometimes, however, a patient under short term nursing home care may require some long term assistance. Although Santé focuses on rehabilitation, we think it’s important you understand there are both similarities and differences between short term and long term care.
After a major surgery, injury or a condition like a stroke, many patients cannot care for themselves. A patient who has had a total joint replacement, for example, needs physical therapy to strengthen muscles and to learn to walk safely. Spending time in a short term nursing home (preferably known as post acute rehabilitation) offers an opportunity for intensive physical therapy and nursing care. These are both designed to help a patient make the transition to self care as quickly and safely as possible.
Both short term and long term care include basic activities of daily living. Nursing care is an integral component of both. This may include hygiene activities like bathing and oral care, assistance with meals and getting to the bathroom. Physical, occupational or speech therapy are other important aspects, to maintain or regain strength, flexibility, balance and self-care skills.
The biggest difference between short term and long term care is goals. When a patient enters a skilled nursing facility for a short term stay, the goal is to return home as soon as possible. Intensive exercise up to seven days a week and additional support from specialized health professionals is geared to one thing – going home. A short term stay might be as short as three or four days, or as long as a month, depending on the patient’s condition and medical needs.
Not all patients are able to go home, however, for various reasons. For example, a patient’s residence may have stairs, which can be challenging if s/he is recovering from a stroke. As well, despite intensive therapy, some people may need attention for a greater period of time. Dementia, for instance, may interfere with independence. In those cases, long term care becomes necessary and the goal changes to meeting the patient’s needs within his or her physical, mental or emotional limits.
To better understand the needs of short term versus long term care, please contact us at Santé. We can help you determine the best course for you or your family member.