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Rehabilitation Hospital Care vs. Nursing Home Care

Making the Best Choice

To regain independence and quality of life - these are the priorities for you or a loved one after a stroke, or spinal cord, brain or orthopaedic injury. For those who qualify, research proves that individuals treated in acute inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), like WakeMed Rehabilitation Hospital, have better long-term clinical outcomes than those treated in nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

The following information will help you and your family understand the benefits of rehab hospital care.

WakeMed Rehabilitation Hospital

  • Feels like a hospital unit, but it is an acute inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) that is licensed as a hospital.
  • A physiatrist (doctor specializing in rehabilitation) sees patients every day and directs patient care.
  • Nurses specialize in treating patients of all ages with multiple physical and medical issues.
  • The day shift, nurse-to-patient ratio is 1:6 to ensure nurses can provide complex care.
  • Patients receive intensive therapy - 2 or more therapies for a minimum of 15 hours per week, which helps build strength, endurance, mobility and balance.
  • Patients are admitted to an IRF from different locations such as hospital units, observation units, emergency departments or even home.
  • Physicians, nurses, therapists, case managers, patients and their family members work together in a coordinated manner.

Nursing Home

  • Also called skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), theyare licensed as long-term care facilities.
  • An internal medicine physician must see patients every 30 days.
  • Nurses specialize in care related to elderly patients.
  • Nurses provide care to more patients per day than IRF nurses do – patient care is not as complex.
  • Patients may receive 1 or more therapies not considered intensive from as little as 45 minutes per week to a maximum of 12 hours per week.
  • Patients can qualify for admission to a nursing home after they have spent at least three days in a hospital.
  • Coordinated care is not a feature that defines nursing home care.

Advocating for the best rehabilitative care: requesting a referral and evaluation

"I would like a referral to and evaluation by the WakeMed Rehab Hospital. The Admissions Department number is 919-350-7876 , and the fax is 919-350-8791." This request and information can prompt the evaluation you need to see if IRF care is right for you.

An evaluation is the only way the WakeMed Rehab team can determine if a patient qualifies for IRF care. For patients who do qualify, there is no better level of care available. The intensity of services - physical, occupational and/or speech therapy - they receive at an IRF maxmizes recovery, independence, and quality of life.

Even if your physician or discharge planner feels another level of care might be right for you, WakeMed Rehab Admissions welcomes the opportunity to do an evaluation to determine your eligibility for our program or to answer any questions about your post-acute care needs. Please call them at 919-350-7876.