Questions to Ask Your Skilled Nursing Facility Before Discharging Home

Did you know that May is home to National Skilled Care Week? Skilled nursing communities are a crucial part of the senior care continuum, offering a safe place for older adults to get therapy and support after a hospital stay so they are ready to return home feeling strong and confident. But part of returning home safely includes communicating with the skilled nursing facility team so that the right support and resources are waiting.

Let’s talk more about how to best communicate with a skilled nursing facility (SNF) team, including questions to ask so that you or your loved one can return home as safely as possible.

When To Talk To Your SNF Team

It’s never too early to begin talking to your SNF team about potential discharge. You’ll likely meet with the community’s social worker when you first are admitted and should speak about your discharge plans at that time. This way, everyone knows that your goal is to return home. As you progress with your therapy goals and any pain management goals, you and the team will begin to plan your discharge in earnest.

This Is What My Home Is Like.

This isn’t a question, but a statement that you need to be sure you talk about while in your skilled care community. Talk to your therapy team, nursing team, and social worker about your home. Let them know how many stairs you will need to navigate to get into your home, where your bedroom and bathroom are in relation to one another, and even how large your kitchen is. This information will help your therapy team customize your goals to ensure you are able to ambulate safely and confidently around your home.

What Type of Medical Equipment Will I Need?

When you return home, you might need to do so with new mobility aids, like a walker or cane, or durable medical equipment, like a bedside commode. As you approach discharge, work with your SNF team to understand what equipment you will need, where to order it, and when to have it delivered.

Can You Set Up Meals on Wheels for Me?

Once you return home, you won’t be able to enjoy chef-prepared meals in a dining room setting. This can feel overwhelming for many older adults, which can lead to not eating well when returning home, if at all. Take care of this in advance by having the SNF team set up a Meals on Wheels program for you, or give your loved one a contact number to set it up on your behalf.

What Exercises Should I Do At Home?

While you’ll be returning home after weeks of intensive therapy, you still will want to work on restorative and range of motion exercises at home so that you feel your best. Get a list of suggested exercises from your therapist and even practice them together a few times before you return home. 

What Type of Home Care Services Do I Need?

Another crucial part of the senior care continuum is home care services. These services are brought into the home after discharge from a skilled nursing facility and offer even more support to the recovering older adult. Home care services are typically designated as medical and nonmedical, and both types should ideally be on any successful discharge plan.

CaringGivers offers nonmedical services including caregiver visits for companionship, personal care tasks, housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation, and more. These services can be offered daily, weekly, or at any other schedule that supports the person’s needs.

What Appointments Do I Have Coming Up?

In many cases, returning home means a full calendar of follow-up visits and outpatient therapy sessions. Before you are discharged, ensure you know your appointments and have transportation scheduled so that you have one less thing to think about as you make the transition home.

What Is My Safety Plan?

Returning home from a skilled nursing facility can temporarily increase the risk of falling, illness, and infection. Without around-the-clock caregiver support and intensive therapy, older adults can sometimes do too much, too fast, and end up back in the hospital. Be sure you understand any safety precautions your team suggests, including home care, adjustments to your home, like adding grab bars, and other recommendations.

Ready to return home? Contact us so we can get to know you before your discharge and develop a customized plan of care just for your needs and challenges.

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