Many older adults enter a short-term inpatient rehabilitation facility following a hospital stay.  They may have had joint replacement surgery, may be regaining their strength after a fall, or a host of other causes.  But they are there because their physician did not think it was safe for them to go straight home from the hospital. 

Medicare will pay for the beginning of their rehab stay as long as it immediately follows a hospital stay of three days or longer.  However, the question we often hear is   “My mother isn’t better yet.  Why do I need to pay privately for her to stay or else she’ll be discharged?”   

In order for Medicare to continue to pay for in-patient rehab, the patient needs to be progressing, which means cooperating with physical and / or occupational therapy, as well as showing some improvement toward their goals.  It is important to be in touch with the staff throughout an older adult’s stay in rehab, in order to get a sense of whether or not they are progressing.  Otherwise you can assume all is well and then need to scramble in order to put services in place for them to come home sooner than expected. 

If you aren’t sure of a relative’s status, ask to schedule a meeting with the social worker, nurse and therapists to find out their perspective.

Hope this helps,