To convalesce means to recover or recuperate. As such, convalescent care (often called rehabilitation care) for the elderly involves care while recovering from an illness, injury or medical procedure.
Unlike traditional elder care options, most of which are designed to provide care on a long-term basis, convalescent care is short-term care provided by a team of medical professionals. Convalescent care can be as short-term as a few days or as long as a few months, depending on the severity of the illness or injury and the required recovery time.
Convalescent care facilities provide a lower level of care than a hospital, but the care is nonetheless considered skilled care with rehabilitation services. Convalescent care is often a transitional form of care provided after a hospital stay but before going home.
Convalescent care provides a home-like environment during post-surgery recovery, injury recovery, and can even be used as a transitional form of care following stroke or a lengthy illness. It is designed to allow patients to transition to their independent lifestyle when they are strong and healthy enough to do so.
Convalescent Care Services
In addition to providing basic medical services to patients, convalescent care also provides a time to recuperate both physically and psychologically. As such, convalescent care facilities provide a number of services to aid in a speedy and comprehensive recovery. Services may include:
- Counseling services/Psychological therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
In general, patients’ care plans are prescribed and monitored by a doctor. All convalescent care facilities are goal-oriented, with the ultimate goal being to help patients return to their independent lifestyles.
Benefits of Convalescent Care
Although some patients may choose to convalesce in their own homes, convalescent care facilities provide the medical care the elderly need during their recovery time, as these facilities are staffed with in-house doctors, therapists and nurses. This type of care often gives elderly patients and their families the added peace of mind knowing that a staff of medical professionals is present to handle any emergency situation that may arise. Families are also alleviated of the burden of caring for the patient or providing a safe environment during the recovery period.
Convalescent care facilities are stocked with all necessary medical and surgical supplies (wheelchairs, oxygen, surgical dressings, hospital beds, etc.), thereby eliminating the need for families and patients to acquire, learn to use, and maintain these items. And because all of the services are provided in-house, the need to travel to and from doctor and therapist appointments is eliminated.
Convalescent Care Expenses
Patients in convalescent care facilities are typically referred and prescribed by their doctor; therefore, costs and insurance coverage are similar to hospital stays. Most insurance companies cover the cost of convalescence care for a pre-determined length of time.