When an older adult is discharged after a hospital stay for major surgery or illness, they may require additional medical care they can’t access from home. A short-term rehabilitation facility or skilled nursing facility provides recovering seniors with specialized services administered by medical professionals in a safe, welcoming environment.

If you’re wondering whether short-term rehabilitation for seniors is the right option for you or a loved one, read on to learn more about the services offered and how they can be beneficial.


Senior woman undergoing therapy concept image for short term rehabilitation for seniors


What is Short-Term Rehabilitation for Seniors?

Short-term rehabilitation for seniors can include a variety of medical and therapeutic services to provide extra support or healing after a health setback or hospital stay. Short-term senior rehabilitation can help those recovering from an accident, illness, injury, or surgery.

Not all older adults require short-term rehab for a successful recovery, and many individuals may wish to return home after being in the hospital for a period of time. However, a stay in a short-term rehab facility can be beneficial for a patient’s health if additional medical care is necessary to help them regain mobility and strength. Skilled nursing facilities also provide access to licensed professionals, including therapists, doctors, and nurses, for round-the-clock care.

When Are Short-Term Rehabilitation Services Needed?

A physician will typically recommend a stay at a short-term rehabilitation center for seniors recovering from one of the following conditions:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Aneurysm
  • A fractured or broken hip
  • Cancer or tumor
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Swallowing issues
  • Limited mobility
  • Joint replacement


Senior man at the hospital after suffering from stroke


What Services Are Offered at a Short-Term Rehab Facility?

During short-term inpatient rehabilitation, older adults receive a customized treatment plan tailored to their needs and physician’s orders. The treatment plan may include skilled medical care to reduce pain and keep the individual comfortable or a range of therapies to increase mobility and strength. These can include:

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapists work with seniors to increase mobility, relieve pain, and restore strength after an accident or injury through various exercises and training activities.
  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapists help individuals adapt to their social and physical environments and perform everyday tasks, such as grooming, dressing, bathing, and eating. They may also lead exercises or activities to help with memory, cognitive integration, and joint movement to reduce the effects of arthritis or other medical conditions.
  • Speech therapy: Speech therapists or speech-language pathologists help individuals with communication issues, speech disorders, or swallowing dysfunction. They develop individual treatment plans to increase language abilities, which can include implementing alternative communication strategies.

For older adults who don’t wish to stay at a short-term rehab facility but require some therapy, outpatient rehabilitative services may be offered, depending on the facility.

Benefits of Short-Term Rehabilitation for Seniors

Even if you have a strong support network of family members and caregivers at home, short-term rehabilitation centers can offer several benefits, including access to therapies and supervised care that can help you return to full health. Here are some of the top benefits short-term rehab centers offer.

Access to a Full Medical Team

At a short-term rehabilitation center, the staff is available 24/7 to administer routine care and manage medical emergencies quickly. With licensed nurses and doctors on staff, these facilities are equipped to handle any issues that arise, ensuring patients receive high-quality care that facilitates healing for a full recovery.

Safe Environment for Recovery

After staying at a hospital, you’ll likely want to be in an environment that’s warm, comfortable, and homelike. Short-term rehabilitation centers can offer this, making them the ideal transition between a hospital and home. In addition to providing needed care from a team of professionals, senior rehab centers also typically offer various amenities and conveniences you won’t have access to at home, such as a rehabilitation gym, private rooms, and daily activities to help you stay engaged and active.

Treatment for Various Health Needs

Short-term rehabilitation facilities can address a wide range of health needs, including respiratory conditions, heart failure, post-surgery care, and joint replacements. Each resident receives assistance from trained professionals and an individualized treatment plan outlining the care needed to help them return to full health. Your medical needs will be fully met, and you won’t have to worry about whether you’re receiving the appropriate care.

Insurance Coverage for Treatment

Since rehabilitative care is usually prescribed by a physician, many types of insurance, including Medicare, may cover treatment costs. The total cost will depend on the type of care received and the duration of stay at the facility. Most insurance plans will cover at least a portion of these costs, easing the financial burden of having to pay completely out of pocket. You can confirm what coverage is available by talking to your insurance provider and the facility.

What to Bring to a Short-Term Rehab Center

No matter how long you plan on staying at a senior rehabilitation center, you’ll want to ensure you’re comfortable and feel at home. Loose-fitting clothing is ideal for relaxing and exercising, especially if physical therapy is part of your treatment plan. You could also bring a bathrobe, comfortable socks, and nonskid shoes that are easy to slip on and off.

Toiletries are also essential for a short-term rehab stay. Bring anything you use regularly, including toothpaste, soap, and shampoo. If you have other items you don’t want to be without, such as a favorite book, bring them along to help you stay occupied during downtime.


Senior man undergoing mobility therapy during his short term rehabilitation session.


Rehabilitation Services at Riddle Village in Media, PA

Riddle Village is a retirement community in PA, that offers independent living, skilled nursing, and senior rehabilitation services. If you or a loved one is in need of short-term rehab, we can provide a range of services, including physical, speech, and occupational therapy, to help rebuild strength and mobility. Contact us today by calling 610-891-3700, or schedule a visit for more information.