You (or your appointed power of attorney) have the right to be included in your healthcare decisions. Plain and simple; if you have had a recent hospital stay doctors, nurses, social workers, physical and occupational therapists and a host of other health care disciplines will give input as to where you should go after discharge. Whether you go home with care from family or friends, or with paid home care services or to a skilled nursing facility is a decision you can help to make.

If you have had a recent hospital stay due to joint replacement surgery, a recent heart attack or stroke, you will, most likely, need continued care after your hospital stay to ensure your safety at home. Physical and occupational therapy after these events will help you to gain strength and mobility and ensure that you are able to safely perform activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, meal preparation, etc). The intensity of the therapies will vary depending on whether you choose to go home or to a skilled nursing facility (SNF)/rehab community. Medicare will pay for services either at home or in a SNF. At home, you can expect to receive therapy about one hour a day, three days per week for about three to four weeks. Because you may be in a weakened condition you may need to have a family member or friend available to help you with your care (transferring to and from bed or a wheelchair, help bathing, preparing meal, etc.). If you do not have a family member or friend available to help you, you can pay for care services in your home to be paid by you or a long term care insurance policy, if you have one.  In a skilled nursing facility you can expect to receive therapies as much as seven days per week. Additionally, help with care like transferring, meal preparation, bathing are built into the care; Medicare will pay for this care; usually for 7-14 days.

Tip: Open enrollment for 2016 Medicare Benefits begins November 1, 2015. Now is a good time to investigate your options!

It is your choice; do not be afraid to speak up! Know your options. You are the best advocate for your care; you know you best! Evaluate and interview home health options that meet your needs for in home care and therapy. Tour skilled nursing facilities, if you are able or have a trusted family member or friend tour for you, to see which meet your needs most effectively. For more information about Medicare Benefits; visit

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