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Before leaving the hospital, you may be wondering where you’ll go next. Your health care team may have talked about a few options depending on what kind of care you will need. Here is some information about the different places you may go in your next step toward recovery.
A majority of hospitalized patients are able to return to their home after
discharge. Your health care team will consider several factors to determine
whether this is the best step for you. In order to go home, health care
providers often recommend that patients—with help from family or caregivers
if available—are able to perform certain tasks. These include getting and
using medications, performing self-care activities (like bathing, using the
bathroom and brushing your teeth), eating a healthy diet, and following up
with health care providers. If you are concerned about being able to do any
of these things, please speak to your health care team.
Your insurance and services available in your area may also influence
whether or not you can be safely discharged home. Arranging for home
services such as visiting nurses, hospice or infusion services may allow
some patients to go home even if they need ongoing care.
Discharge to another care facility
If your health care team recommends discharge to a facility other than
home, there are several different options to consider. Finding the right
place for you involves matching your needs with the possible care
facilities. Things to consider include the level and type of care provided,
and the location and environment of the facility. After a referral is made
to a possible facility and you are screened for acceptance, you’ll be asked
to consent to the transfer. If you are concerned about your placement,
please speak with your health care team. It is within you and your family’s
rights to decline a certain facility and discuss different options.
Patients are most often discharged to:
Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
— Most suitable for patients who need multidisciplinary therapy (e.g.,
physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, orthotic or
prosthetic services) and are able to participate in intensive treatment.
Physician supervision is provided at least three days a week.
Long-term acute care hospitals (LTAC)
— Most suitable for patients who require daily monitoring and complex
medical interventions. This may include patients with complex wounds, chest
tubes, ventilatory dependency, or multi-organ failure.
Skilled nursing facilities (SNF), transitional care units, and subacute
— Most suitable for patients with a "qualifying event" that includes a
three-night hospital stay and who require skilled nursing or rehabilitation
for at least one hour daily five days a week. All provide similar services,
though transitional care units are hospital-based and have easier access to
Extended care facilities (ECF)
— Most suitable for patients who have exhausted their assets, require
assistance with a least three activities of daily living and require
skilled nursing supervision and medication management. Extended care
facilities provide long-term care.