Rule #1: Never follow the rules – at least not without further investigation.
Everyone is friendly and pleasant, anxious to let you know that everything that needs to be done for your loved one will be handled by the facility. If outside medical appointments are needed, there is someone who will schedule them and transport the patient to the doctor’s office. Meals will be brought to the room three times a day. Physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions will be scheduled, with at least two of them happening daily. They are organized. They are the professionals. They have everything under control. Relax, take a deep breath and let the experts handle everything. After the insanity of selecting a rehab facility while dealing with the stress of hospital life, it’s a relief to know that your loved one is settled in and in the hands of professionals whose job it is to help him to get stronger so that he can go home. Visitors are allowed anytime between 7 am and 7 pm, but must be scheduled in advance by phone. You may go nowhere in the facility except the patient’s room. In the post-Covid world, these restrictions seem totally reasonable. Anything that is done to make the patients safe is a good thing.
It will be two weeks before you discover where the nurses’ desk is down the hall. Another week before the therapy gym is found. One day a month later you’ll discover that you can push him in his wheelchair through the cafeteria and out a side door to a lovely sun-filled courtyard for some much needed fresh air. No one at the nurses’ station or the therapy room objects to the patient’s caretaker showing up to ask questions. Mostly they seem to welcome your involvement. Why these places weren’t pointed out at the beginning now seems a mystery. Who would have wanted the caretaker to not be involved in the patient’s therapy and progress?
Snippets of thoughts on what happens when you have to stay at a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), Rehabilitation Center, Nursing Home … and how to – or not to – deal with it will be updated as often as I find the energy to think about it.