Convalescent Care

Unlike a long-term senior living community, convalescent care centers primarily provide a caring environment for patients after surgeries, illness or medical procedures, and are intended for short-term care only. They are staffed with medical professionals who can provide health care for a patient in a homelike environment.

When Is Convalescent Care Needed?

Convalescent care centers, sometimes called inpatient rehabilitation facilities, are designed for both men and women. Unlike traditional senior living communities, these centers may care for men and women of all ages recovering from illness or accident.

People receiving convalescent care may suffer from:

  • stroke
  • accidental injury
  • long-term illness
  • post-surgery recovery

While the above conditions are common, there isn’t a prescribed set of diagnoses for entry. All cases are assessed on an as-needed basis, and patients who would benefit from convalescent care are generally admitted if the facility can meet the level of care the patient needs. The amount of time each patient stays in a convalescent center varies case by case:  some stays are as short as a few days and others as long as six months or more.

Convalescent Care Services

Because convalescent centers are medical facilities, patients can expect to receive medical care services. Services include but are not limited to:

  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • speech therapy
  • emotional or psychological therapy

Each patient’s therapy regimen is based on his or her particular needs and is prescribed by a doctor.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Convalescent Care

The advantages of convalescent care are many. Unlike a nursing home, these facilities are goal oriented, with the purpose of returning the patient to his or her home. Beds are frequently available, unlike the long waiting lists found at nursing homes or other senior living communities.

Though some patients would rather recover at home, these facilities provide patients with the professional level of care that they need to recover because there are in-house doctors, nurses and therapists. Staying at a convalescent care facilities eliminates the daily trips to the hospital for therapy sessions.

One disadvantage to choosing this type of care is that the center still feels like a hospital even though many centers try to make the experience as homelike as possible. Another consideration is that families are much less involved during the recovery process because it may not be as convenient to visit the convalescent center.

Convalescent Care Costs

Costs vary from center to center, but most patients can expect to see charges around the same amount per night as a stay in the hospital. Just as is the case in a hospital, the services and medications that a patient receives are also billable to the patient and insurance company. Because convalescent care is medical care prescribed by a doctor, many insurances cover all or a large portion of the cost.

Payment programs include:

Most insurance plans will also pay for the entire stay at a convalescent care center, unlike with nursing homes which are only covered for a short-term stay or assisted living communities which are mostly self-pay.

Written by senior housing staff writer.