View Full Version : Rehabilitation Program or Home???

11-18-2010, 01:21 PM
I am just curious . . . how many of you went straight home from the hospital following your surgery and if you did, did you feel adequately trained in your self care, getting in and out of bed, chairs, taking medications, etc.? I've been told that since I'm in good shape physically, that I probably wouldn't have to go to rehab. Although I'll be anxious to get home, I'm not sure I want to burden my husband with my total care or if he would even feel confident enough that he could do it. I have a friend who is a retired nurse who has volunteered to come over and help, but she would only be here for maybe an hour or two a day. I know the first few weeks are crucial and I just don't want to get light headed and fall and damage anything or hurt something by not logrolling properly. Two nurses have told me that I should definitely go to the rehab. for a week if given the option.

11-18-2010, 01:51 PM
I did 8 days in the hospital and 8 days in rehab--most of which I barely remember. When I was home I had the in-home nurses/pt, etc. stop also for a few weeks. All of this was thru prescriptions from surgeon. I felt like it was all pretty vital for my recovery. Everyone is different though. Janet

11-18-2010, 02:06 PM
Did insurance pay for the nurses?

11-18-2010, 02:07 PM
I know everyone is different but they told me I would not have to go to Rehab. I was in the hospital 6 days and I thought the PT and OT were very good and helpful and they released me pretty quickly. I hated having that catheter so my goal was to be able to get safely to the bathroom as soon as I could. I remember telling Dr Bridwell on his 6:30am daily visits that I wanted the catheter out! My surgery was Tuesday and they removed it Friday morning. But I was walking pretty well with the walker by then. But since I was more than 4 hours away they had me stay in a hotel for a week after being discharged. My husband was with me and a few friends came over to visit so I was fine. Hope your appt went well the other day!


Karen Ocker
11-18-2010, 02:15 PM
I was 60 when I had my very extensive revision. I liked rehab because: Much better pain control than trying to wing it at home with a primary MD/surgeon, I was discharged sooner from the hospital than if I were going directly home -a rehab is a cheerier place and more help is available-,it unloaded my husband who needed his own rest, they supplied me with grabbers and other aids to make life at home easier, helped me getting used to my new height/center of gravity and taught me how to protect my back as I healed.
Even though I was a medical professional I couldn't do this alone.

Insurance paid for the rehab, some equipment and my private nurse in hospital(if my doctor wrote "may have private nurses".:cool: I paid the nurse and submitted it to insurance. Of course it depends on your plan.

11-18-2010, 03:13 PM
If they offer you rehab .... take it!
My doc told me that 50% of his patients go to rehab, so somehow it seemed like going indicated some sort of "failure" to improve rapidly enough - boy, was I wrong.

Neither I nor my family wanted me to be gone more than the week or so I'd be in the hospital, but they sent me over to rehab at 5 days post-surgery, and it was such a blessing. At rehab they addressed all the issues I would have had trouble with at home -- the lack of appetite, the pain medication, the horrible constipation from the pain medication, the getting-up-and-walking-around encouragement, making sure I was comfortable at night even if it meant coming to my room at 3:00 a.m. to help me to the bathroom, reassure me, fluff my pillows, and help me change position until I could sleep.

Having OT and PT in-house was actually fun, a sort of a social hour twice a day. I got to hang out with folks who had the same or similar surgery (JChris from the forum included) , plus others who had much more challenging physical issues that opened my eyes to how lucky I was. My son and ex-husband came every evening, with Jonny playing the piano in the activity room (he's 13) and Gil hovering. The food was AWFUL, but my family was allowed to bring me anything I wanted.

I had the entirely wrong idea about what it was like, and am SO glad I went there for six days! I was so much better-prepared for coming home, with a much-improved condition, and advice on how to do laundry, how to get in & out of the tub, dress, and more helpful social workers, psychologists, dietitians and staff than you could shake a stick at. Even my roommate was the sweetest lady you could ever meet. Having a semi-private room wasn't at all inconvenient.

I realize that each person has a different experience with rehab, but mine was great. I can't imagine having to go through those first days at home, trying to deal with everything on my own. I highly recommend it!

11-18-2010, 03:53 PM
I was originally scheduled to go to rehab for a week, esp. since I lived 4 hours away from my Dr. However, I did too well to "qualify" for my insurance to cover it so ended up going home after a week in the hospital (and right before "Snowmageddon" hit the east coast last Feb.) I did have visiting nurses coming in at home and some limited PT from them but I was fine. My husband was home full-time from his teaching job which was a blessing. He was up a lot at night with me when I was most uncomfortable/miserable, but at least he didn't have to get up and go to work. I think it depends on each individual, how well you do post-op, etc. I would think if you have the opportunity to go and it's covered by insurance, it would be worthwhile.

11-18-2010, 05:06 PM
I spent 13 days in rehab following my 5 day hospital stay. I live alone and rehab was ideal for me. I had a private room, and like Karen said much better pain control administered by the nursing staff. I would never have been able to go directly home. I received excellent care and the therapists who worked with me made my transition back to home that much easier for my family. I would highly recommend rehab for anyone living alone.

11-18-2010, 05:45 PM
I was sent straight home from the hospital following my surgery
where i live they don't have home based PT programs for children

11-18-2010, 05:46 PM
I had 10 days in the hospital and 10 days in rehab. I didn't want to go home because I got such good care in rehab. Compared to the hospital, it was like a spa. Or summer camp. They got me up and walking and fine-tuned my drug cocktail and gave me lots of caring attention. In spite of being in a lot of pain most of the time, I met some nice people there and had some laughs with my roommate (a woman about my age who'd had a knee replacement).

Also, my husband was mighty relieved that by the time I got home, I was able to take care of myself in the bathroom -- something I couldn't do til Day 9 at rehab!!

It's VERY important that you do your homework and choose a rehab you'd like to go to before your surgery...make sure they take your insurance and tell the surgeon's nurse or scheduling person the place you've chosen. The last thing you want is for them to choose a place for you...not all rehabs are equal...you don't want to be sent to a substandard nursing home-type place.

11-18-2010, 07:06 PM
I went from hospital to home. The only need was someone to cover my back to get my shower... I would have needed someone to put my socks, but luckily I had surgery in summer!! ;)

loves to skate
11-18-2010, 07:13 PM
I was five days in the hospital, then 11 days in rehab. My experience was much like Badkitty's and Singer's. Even the food was good. My Doctor chose the rehab hospital because he has Doctors and nurses there that he knows for followup care, including a Psychologist who was great. Plus, the rehab hospital was just minutes from the Baptist Hospital. I had to be transported back and forth for x-rays between surgeries and it just wouldn't work if I had chosen the rehab hospital myself. After five more days in the hospital after my second surgery, I was good to go home. I was on a Medicare Advantage Plan, so Medicare paid for all of the costs at the rehab. Not all insurances will pay for rehab hospitals, so check it out ahead of time.

11-18-2010, 08:37 PM
Yes, insurance paid for rehab. (I didn't have a private nurse at any time.) It also paid for visiting p.t. and nurse for a few weeks. They would come for about an hour most days--not all. It was good to keep in touch with them especially since I had very low blood pressure problems after I got home. Janet

11-18-2010, 09:59 PM
I must echo Bad Kitty's remarks regarding rehab. We were in the same rehab together so that made it even more special. I was in rehab for five days following a five day hospitalization for the sugery.

The rehab had me walking without a walker, cane or anything else the first day. they taught me how to shower, dress and handle all personal care needs on my own. We had daily group therapy sessions which gave me many strengthening exercises that I am doing at home now.

They provided tools to put on socks, sponges to bath legs and feet and taught me how to use my grabbers to get my pants on, etc. I really felt much more independent after rehab and would highly recommend it. I did not need home nursing care following rehab, but I do have my husband at home with me to help with things.

11-18-2010, 10:25 PM
As one who didn't go to rehab or have pt at any stage, I am wondering what sort of therapy was provided by the rehab and visiting physiotherapists.

I only saw a pt on Days 2, 3, 4 and 5 in hospital. I walked and did wall pushups. And went home with absolutely no instructions other than to walk.

Now I'm wondering what I missed out on.

11-19-2010, 06:33 AM
If it wasn't for the nerve pain down my leg, i could have gone home on day 4. Instead, i went home on day 8. I got to speak with the physio girls pre-op and then they were in two times a day, from day 1-4 post op. They organised a toilet raiser to be sent home before i arrived, and asked my husband to buy me a grabber (which everyone else used more than me!). I was very confident in going home - my only concern was......how to blowdry my hair! (it is long) I was sent home with a booklet regarding spinal fusions, filled out specifically for my care, by my surgeon. I didn't have any problems and i think i coped very well.

11-19-2010, 06:44 AM
Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I know I will be anxious to get home, however, it sure sounds like there are advantages to going to rehab. and being more independent once you get home. I don't know if I'll be able to make an unemotional, rational decision when I'm in the hospital. Of course, I may not be given a choice one way or the other. Right now, I can't imagine not seeing my little dogs for 1 week, let alone 2 or more. I bought a "spine kit" at Barnes when I was there for pre-op testing and was instructed to bring it to the hospital on the day of the surgery. It contains a grabber, sock aid, long handled bath sponge, tongs (I think I know what those are for!). I am assuming they will teach me how to use all of it while in the hospital. I don't want to feel like I haven't made the grade if they send me to rehab. since they have stated that I probably won't need to go. Just my opinion . . .I think with someone my age (60), although in decent physical shape (I think) it would be better if they gave one the impression that it's the norm to go to rehab., then if it's not necessary, you'd think you were a star instead of thinking that you weren't up to par.

11-19-2010, 08:03 AM
Regarding those tongs in the spine kit...I never used them for their "intended purpose" but found them to be great short-handled grabbers. My legs were too weak/unsteady to do much squatting in the early days, so I would use those tongs to turn on/off the faucets on our rather low bathroom sinks and to open drawers that were too low for me to reach. Just an idea :)

11-19-2010, 08:47 PM
Hey KathK and Golfnut - the only thing I have ever used in that spine kit is the grabber. That co es in very handy. Good idea, Kathy, for the tongs. Having Aug surgery helped because I didn't need socks then and now I can get them on without help. But I had great fun pulling out the spine kit for any visitors I had at home and explaining what everything was for!

Golfnut, since you will be at Barnes, too, Kathy gave me a great tip. Take waterproof tape and a baggie to cover your central line when you shower. After my central line was in I still had to take a shower with special soap; half the bottle the night before surgery and the other half the morning of surgery. The waterproof tape really was helpful because the tape they gave me at Barnes didn't work so well. And my baggie(sandwich size) was a better size than what they gave me.

11-19-2010, 09:00 PM
On the day I went to rehab, they didn't ask me ... it was a surprise that I was even getting out! They just came in and said, "you're going to rehab today!" and acting all happy. So, I was happy! I just wanted out of the hospital. The rehab hospital is right next to the regular hospital and is conveniently connected by a series of corridors, so they just took my bed and transported me, bed and belongings and all, over to rehab. They switched beds, unloaded my stuff, and I was installed. From that day on, the routine changed, and the transition back to a normal life at home began.

Please don't think of rehab as a failure to improve. It's an opportunity to ease the transition, and I had a valuable experience there that made going home ever so much easier. This is not to say that folks can't cope if they don't go to rehab; it just turned out to be a good thing for me. Thinking back, I would have had a hard time managing everything that I went through for that week after leaving the hospital if I'd gone home instead.

11-20-2010, 03:00 AM
This is such helpful info. I did not even know the rehab is available. It seems like it's a wonderful transition before going home, especially when someone lives along.

I wonder if my insurance covers it.

11-20-2010, 07:59 AM
Just to echo the others who went to rehab, I was in rehab for 10 days and it was so worth it.