When you’re recovering from surgery, injury, or serious illness, it’s increasingly likely that your doctor will recommend physical or occupational rehabilitation as part of your overall treatment plan. Rehab is proven to be helpful to patients needing to regain their strength or range of motion, relearn one or more motor skills, or recover emotionally from the trauma caused by a major medical event.
When patients require limited assistance with daily physical activities—such as grooming or dressing—doctors will often prescribe at-home care. Visiting nurse or home attendant programs work well in those situations. But when added help is required, you and your physician will decide between inpatient and outpatient rehab.
Inpatient rehab is for recovering patients who are not ready to return home. Individuals remain in the hospital or transfer to a live-in rehabilitation facility where they receive around-the-clock care.
Inpatient rehab tends to be intensive, with daily physical and occupational therapy treatments intended to maximize recovery. Patients are able to concentrate on their recoveries, without worrying about daily responsibilities or the rigors of daily travel to and from therapy sessions.
Inpatient rehab stays can range from several days to a month or more. But, overall, the focused therapy approach helps many patients reach their recovery goals more quickly than they would in an outpatient rehabilitation program.
Some inpatient facilities—such as our own Sunset Village Rehab—offer ancillary services designed to make rehab stays as enjoyable as possible. In addition to employing highly qualified therapists trained to help patients completely recover, full-service facilities offer upscale dining, beautiful indoor and outdoor common areas, and organized activities.
Outpatient rehab provides individuals the same high-level physical and occupational therapy personnel and programs as inpatient facilities offer, with the added benefit of being able to return home each day.
While having the luxury to sleep in their own beds provides recovering patients emotional comfort, it could also slow their overall rehabilitation progress. Participating in outpatient rehab requires tremendous personal discipline—to show up when scheduled and to complete at-home therapy assignments. And patients must find transportation to outpatient rehab facilities for treatment. As a result, outpatient rehab can often prove less effective compared to inpatient stays.
On the other hand, outpatient rehab usually involves exercises for patients to perform at home. The more work patients do at home, the more control they have in their own recovery—and the more potential they have for progressing quickly.
Some inpatient facilities offer ancillary services designed to make rehab stays as enjoyable as possible.
Best of both options
Some rehab facilities offer both inpatient and outpatient rehab—which can prove beneficial to patients. At Sunset Village Rehab, for example, some patients begin their recovery in our inpatient rehab program before progressing to our outpatient option. That continuum of care ensures the best possible rehab outcome.