Worried About Recuperating From Surgery At Home? What Are Your Options?

If you're over 65 and recently scheduled a major surgical procedure to take place within the next few weeks, you may be feeling anxious about the recovery process -- especially if your home has stairs, a low bathtub, or other seemingly insurmountable obstacles that could prevent you from moving around freely. You may wonder whether it's a better idea for you to spend your recovery in a rehabilitation facility until it's safe for you to return home. However, much of the educational resources and information available is targeted toward those who plan to spend the rest of their lives in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility -- not those who just need a bit of temporary help before returning home for good. How should you proceed if you're concerned about your ability to care for yourself at home following your surgery? Is it possible to enlist an in-home caregiver without paying an arm and a leg? Read on to learn more about your assisted living and skilled nursing options following surgery. 

What are your temporary rehabilitation options following major surgery?

If the nature of your surgery (or your underlying medical condition) is such that you need round-the-clock nursing care for a period of time after your procedure, your best option is to be placed into a skilled nursing facility (SNF) or the rehabilitation wing of an assisted living facility. 

For those who have Medicare Part A coverage, you'll be able to stay in an SNF for up to 100 days if you fulfill a few basic requirements. First, you'll need to have spent at least three days (not counting the day of discharge) in the hospital before your transfer to an SNF. For most major surgeries, a three-day hospital stay is more than reasonable -- and if your physician is made aware that you'll need to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility directly from the hospital, he or she may be able to manage your care so that you'll hit this three-day threshold easily. 

Once you've spent three days in the hospital following your surgery and have been transferred to an SNF, you'll be able to receive up to 100 days of care at the SNF covered by Medicare Part A. After about 20 days in the SNF, you'll be assessed a daily copayment of one-eighth of the initial hospital deductible. This payment may be covered by your Medigap policy (if you have one), or you could opt to pay it out of pocket. 

Can you have a nurse or aide help you recover at home instead? 

If the idea of spending a good portion of your recovery in a nursing home depresses you and you think you can manage most aspects of your recovery at home, you may want to investigate the option of having in-home nursing assistance instead. 

If your doctor affirms that you require "intermittent nursing care" but your condition is not severe enough to enter a SNF, your Medicare coverage may pay for a visiting nurse or health care aide to visit you several times per day to change dressings, help perform physical therapy exercises, or help you with feeding or bathing.

In other cases, you may still be able to transfer to an SNF after you've tried to recuperate at home with assistance and discover you need just a bit more hands-on care. As long as you met the three-day hospital stay threshold and you enter an SNF within 30 days of your hospital discharge, you'll still be able to take advantage of your 100-day coverage period under Medicare Part A.  

For more information, contact an assisted living facility like Grace Assisted Living.