If your elder is hospitalized due to a serious injury or illness, then chances are they’ll need additional care once they’re discharged from the hospital. When that happens, it’s important to assess their condition, their needs, and what their insurance (and/or Medicare) will cover.

Many people don’t live nearby their parents, but always dread receiving a call from a doctor on their behalf. Those who have experienced this firsthand know what it feels like to have your heart bungee-jump from your chest to your stomach and back again. Many get so wrapped up the crisis that they forget to research – let alone ask – what to do next. That’s where we come in.

When an elder needs to be hospitalized, chances are they’re going to need rehabilitation care of some kind. Whether it’s physical therapy for recovering from a broken bone, speech therapy for recovering from a stroke, or nursing care to assist with daily chores and tasks until they are able to do them on their own.

Although it depends on your elder’s needs, many rehabilitate at home versus an assisted living or senior housing community.

Types of Care after a Hospital Discharge

The type of care your elderly parent receives will differ depending on their condition and, depending on their living arrangements, could be two of these in sequence.

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities (commonly referred to today as ‘nursing homes’) are temporary care homes for seniors that need 24/7 care. This is for elders who need constant care until they’ve healed enough to go home. Medicare covers 90 days at one of these facilities, but most seniors return home or to their senior living community before then.

  • Senior Living with In-Home Care

Whether it’s a retirement community or an assisted living, your elder can have home health care provided for them. Although this costs extra, most elders don’t need the 24-hour care by this point and the home health nurses simply come by to make sure your loved one is sticking to their physical therapy routine.

  • In-Home Care

If your elder is still living on their own, then home health care for their house is also an option. The difference is that it may end up costing more if they’re not already living in a senior living community.

See, home care and home health care are not the same. Home health care provides nurses ordered by doctors to help seniors rehabilitate; they enforce the recovery regime. They are not however, obligated to help with bathing, showering, or cooking meals. This means that if your elder broke her hip and is struggling to reach dishes in cabinets, let alone cook, she will be on her own most of the day. Home care however covers those types of daily needs. The caveat is these are two separate expenses.

If your elder wants to live on their own, then more power to them, but you need to consider what’s best for their health.