A Quick Guide to Transitional Care for Seniors

transitional care

After getting released from the hospital, many seniors find themselves in a difficult place.

They’re no longer sick or injured enough to remain hospitalized, but they’re still not recovered enough to take care of themselves. They need help with activities of daily living and post-surgical care, but not enough to justify entering a nursing home. So what are they to do?

That’s where transitional care comes in. Keep reading to learn what it is, who it can help, and what your options are when you need it.

What Is Transitional Care?

Transitional care bridges the gap between leaving the hospital and returning to normal life. Its typical duration lasts anywhere from a week to a month. Treatment during transitional care can include a wide variety of specialties, depending on your individual needs:

  • Physical, Occupational, or Speech Therapy
  • Dialysis
  • Lab testing and bloodwork
  • IV therapy
  • Wound care
  • Fall prevention and mobility assistance
  • Instruction on how to administer new medications
  • Respiratory care, therapy, and monitoring
  • Heart or brain monitoring
  • Dietary counseling and planning
  • Instruction on how to use any new mobility aids or medical equipment

You might see multiple caregivers including doctors, nurses, therapists, and CNAs. Each of them will help you get another step closer to living on your own again.

Who Benefits from Transitional Care?

Anyone with multiple chronic conditions, complicated post-surgical care, a serious disability, or a complex medication schedule can benefit from transitional care. Even if you have family members willing to help, a transitional care specialist can provide medical treatment that your family may not be able to.

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Up to 16% of seniors on Medicare go back to the hospital within 30 days of release. Receiving transitional care can reduce your risk of readmission due to infection, poor healing, or further injury.

Types of Transitional Care

Transitional care is performed in many different locations and facilities. The type that is most beneficial for each person depends on their individual circumstances.

Hospitals sometimes have a dedicated transitional care unit that they transfer patients to after they’re no longer in acute distress. This keeps you from transferring facilities and allows for easier communication between your transitional care providers and hospital physician.

Other hospitals prefer to transfer their patients to a specialized transitional care center offsite. These facilities offer short-term residential care. They have a team of doctors, nurses, and other skilled caregivers that can aid in your recovery. This is a great option for people who aren’t quite ready to go home yet but don’t have access to an in-hospital transitional unit.

Some companies, like Care Partners, provide transitional care right in the comfort of a patient’s home. This option is best for those who are almost ready to go home but still need a little extra support.

Is Transitional Care Right for You?

Transitional care isn’t the right choice for everyone, but for some people, it can make a world of difference. If you need some ongoing medical support after a hospitalization, ask your doctor about your transitional care options.

To get more of your health questions answered, make sure to check out the lifestyle section of our blog.