At some point in their lives, individuals and/or their families may decide that a convalescent home is the best option available for a sick or recovering family member. These homes can be an invaluable resource in these situations, as they present options that cannot be provided through other means. Placement in one of these helpful, group-living homes can take tremendous strain off of families, who also want to rest assured that their loved one is receiving the treatment that they deserve.
In this guide to convalescent homes, we will cover the basics and important details about this senior care option. We hope that, with this information in the back of your mind, we can help you to make the best decision when and if that time comes for your family member.
What Is a Convalescent Home?
Convalescent homes are more commonly referred to as nursing homes, though they may also be called “old peoples’ homes.” While nursing homes (or “old peoples’ homes) are referred to interchangeably with convalescent homes, there is a big difference between the two types of care homes.
Nursing homes provide long-term care, many times to the end of the person’s life, and typically do specialize in helping the elderly.
Convalescent homes, on the other hand, are designed with short-term care in mind. Residents of these homes are typically those who have undergone a serious surgery, like amputation or spinal cord surgery, and need around-the-clock care for a substantial portion of their recovery. Convalescent homes cater to individuals of all ages, not just the elderly.
Are There Different Types of Convalescent Homes?
The type of care that a patient needs will determine which convalescent home is right for them. Patients in need of physical rehabilitation, for example, must seek out a home that fits this need. Each convalescent home’s approach and variety of services vary, so it is important to “shop around,” so to speak, before making a final decision.
What Care Services Are Provided by Convalescent Homes?
Convalescent homes strive to help patients regain their independence after a serious injury or illness. This means that they must provide a wide array of services designed to achieve this goal. They are also responsible for various aspects of daily care while in recovery, including:
- Providing of meals
- Providing of a bed
- Medication dispensing
- Nursing care
- X-rays and other scans
- Lab work
As we said before, each patient will have different needs, but a convalescent home will typically offer the following therapies in addition to the services outlined above:
This is a physical type of therapy that helps individuals to fine-tune their mental and physical abilities as they relate to day-to-day tasks. An occupational therapist will help the patient discover new ways to approach these tasks or even help them to “re-learn” them within the safety of the convalescent home.
Through well-paced training and exercise, physical therapy helps patients to regain coordination, strength and endurance. Many individuals who suffer extensive physical injury, regardless of the location of the injury on the body, require physical therapy at some point of their recovery. In a convalescent home, physical therapists are conveniently available to be fitted into the patient’s schedule as needed.
After certain injuries and illnesses, it can be difficult to regain your speech. The role of a speech therapist is to help their patient cultivate or re-learn language skills that they have previously lost. In addition to helping with speech, these therapists can also help a patient:
- Re-learn how to swallow
- Improve their reasoning skills
- Change thinking patterns
It’s no surprise that going through a major life event can be traumatic and require the help of a psychologist. Sessions with these professionals are unlike others undergone by patients in a convalescent care home for one simple reason: they can include others in the patient’s life. While still maintaining a patient-centered approach, the psychologist can help families adjust to the changes their loved one is experiencing. All of this is done while taking the patient’s motivation, mental wellness and ambition into account.
Other convalescent homes near you may have more specialized or varied services, so it’s important to do your research before submitting yourself or a loved one into a convalescent home service.
When Should I or My Loved One Move to a Convalescent Home?
Convalescent home care is traditionally for patients who are in need of extensive or rehabilitating care following a serious illness, surgery or injury. Some of the reasons to seek out convalescent home care include (but aren’t limited in any way to):
- Hip fractures
- Brain injuries
- Extensive burns
- Joint replacement
These maladies can be difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to recover from without consistent and reliable medical care. A convalescent home is a great place to bring a loved one if you are unable to care for them in your own home but want to ensure that they are getting a high quality of recovery-based care from medical professionals. The patient’s doctor (or team of doctors) may also recommend convalescent home care if they display a noticeable need for specialized therapies as a part of their recovery.
What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a Convalescent Home?
The role of a convalescent home in a patient’s recovery is a tremendous one, so it’s important to choose wisely. Below, we will provide a list of factors that you should put at the front of your mind when deciding on a convalescent care home for yourself or a loved one.
- Location – Is the convalescent home near family? Is it a reasonable traveling distance for your loved ones?
- Amenities – Does the convalescent home meet the patient’s needs for socialization, time spent outdoors, or quietly enjoying the day? Figure out what the patient prioritizes and add that to your “must-have” list when searching.
- Services – Which services does the convalescent home provide? Do they have the appropriate medical professionals to meet the patient’s needs as they recover?
- Staffing – Is a licensed nurse always available, 24/7? Are all staff members free of negligent or abusive charges against patients or other staff members? How experienced and educated are the professionals that you or your loved one will be relying on? Is the convalescent home suitably staffed to meet the needs of all patients?
- Atmosphere – Pay a visit to the convalescent home that you’re considering. You/Your loved one should feel comforted and welcomed, not the least bit uncomfortable. For every convalescent home that just doesn’t feel “right,” there’s going to be one that does.
In all, you must ensure that the convalescent home is the right fit for the patient, both in terms of medical and mental need.
How Much Does It Cost to Live in a Convalescent Home?
Just like in a hospital, services from a convalescent home are billed on a per-day basis. This includes therapies and medications. The national daily cost of nursing home and convalescent home care is $119 per day – which certainly sounds steep! Fortunately, insurance providers, Medicaid and Medicare will cover much of the cost, if not all of it.
Medicaid will cover the cost of the first twenty days in convalescent care, and then 80% of the days following – up to 100 days.
Convalescent Home FAQs
Q: What is the Difference Between a Convalescent Home and a Nursing Home?
A: Convalescent homes are often confused for nursing homes, but there is a critical difference: nursing homes are designed for long-term care wherein the patient does not typically return to living independently. Convalescent home care is temporary and designed with helping the patient regain their independence in mind.
Q: How Can I Pay for a Stay in a Convalescent Home?
A: You can pay for convalescent home care through the same avenues that you would use to pay for any other type of medical care:
- Private insurance
- Worker’s compensation
- VA benefits
- Employer’s insurance
Q: What Happens if I Need Convalescent Care When I am Low-Income?
A: Low-income patients may qualify for Medicare, which will pay for a substantial sum of the total bill. A private convalescent care facility may even be able to use other methods to help low-income patients save money and achieve the access to care that they deserve.
Q: How is a Schedule Created at a Convalescent Home?
A: Schedules are crafted by the staff, physicians, psychologist, patient and their loved ones. This is a cohesive effort to be inclusive toward all that is considered important in the patient’s overall recovery. How the schedule will be laid out is determined by your needs and how you choose to approach your path to wellness.
Q: How is a Convalescent Home More Convenient than In-Home Care?
A: In-home care, even when conducted by one or more medical professionals, can be quite limiting to patients who have undergone serious health problems and surgeries. Convalescent care provides the highest caliber of care by making the professionals you or your loved one needs accessible when they are needed. This also helps take a tremendous weight off the shoulders of family members, who may not be able to care for their loved one on their own.
Convalescent care homes are a fantastic resource for individuals and their family members when someone has suffered a serious injury, surgery or illness. These homes foster independence and create a world of possibilities for the patient through the highest quality of patient-centered care possible.