Planning a Skilled Nursing Stay

Planning a Skilled Nursing Stay:
The Transition between Hospital and Home

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Take a tour. Most skilled nursing centers will let you visit the therapy center and tour a room before your stay. Check for cleanliness, amenities like TVs, phones and wifi, and whether the cost of meals is included. Find out if there is a refrigerator in the room. Explore the dining and entertainment options available.

Consider the timing of your medications. Before leaving the hospital, be sure to take any  medications that may be due.  You cannot bring outside drugs (or even vitamins) into a skilled nursing facility. Any medications you need must be ordered after you arrive at your new location, because they are packed in prescribed dosages and administered by the nursing staff.

Take pain meds before you leave the hospital. While you may be feeling pretty good when you leave the hospital, you might bounce into every pothole between there and the rehabilitation center. By the time you are hurting, you may discover that your medications aren’t immediately available. Health care regulations prohibit bringing medications with you. Instead, your caregivers will have to call your physician to request a prescription. That can take time.

Bring loose, comfortable clothing. It’s likely that you’ll spend time in physical therapy every day. You’ll want to be able to move freely.

Wear tennis shoes or footwear with a non-skid sole. Comfortable shoes with good support are essential to improved balance and walking safely.

Pack a swimsuit. Your physician or therapist may decide that aquatic therapy will help you heal faster and with less pain. If so, you’ll be lowered from a platform into a warm water pool. The buoyancy of the water enables patients to move more freely and comfortably to use the treadmill, thereby shortening recovery time.

Leave extension cords and fragrance plug-ins at home. In Ohio, like most states, they aren’t allowed in skilled nursing facilities. Cell phones and tablet chargers are fine.

Check out the library. If you run out of reading, you may find an on-site library and other entertainment options.

Bring personal hygiene items that make you feel more comfortable. While most places will provide soap and toothpaste, they may not be your preferred brands. If that matters to you, then bring them along.

Don’t drag heavy medical equipment. Walkers, wheel chairs and raised toilet seats will be provided by most facilities.

Consider leaving fancy jewelry and valuables at home. You are unlikely to need cash and you’ll likely be spending a good part of the day away from your room.

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