Injured, But How Will You Recover?

Imagine you or a loved one suffered an injury. It could be anything from a broken bone to something more complex. The hospital is ready to discharge you, but you are far from healed and you can’t fully take care of yourself. What do you do? Who do you call? What if you are injured and live alone? There are a few different options, and much of that is driven by the type and severity of that injury, however, there are some key points to consider for all recovery. 

So… What is Recovery Care?

Recovery Care is any professional care received after an injury or health issue. This type of care can look many different ways. Recovery care can be received in a long-term care facility, short-term care facility, rehabilitation center, a nursing home, or in the comfort of your own home. Much of this depends on the severity of the injury and that individual’s situation. 

If you were recovering from a broken hip and had some family nearby, you may find that at home recovery care fits you best. If you were in a bad spinal injury, you may need to spend a few weeks in a rehabilitation facility before moving to home care or another long-term facility. 

Some of these things will be covered by Medicaid, but not all. It’s best to work directly with your insurance and options in your area. Many hospitals have coordinators that can work with you to better understand what is and isn’t covered if longer-term care is needed. 

Recovering After an Injury

Injuries take a long time to heal. Generally many weeks or months and sometimes even longer. Depending on factors like location or family availability, it can be difficult to find care. Maybe you’re an empty-nester, maybe you live alone, or even if you have younger children but no family nearby, all of these scenarios and more could lead to an individual looking for recovery care. 

Deciding What Recovery Care Plan Is Right For You

When assessing what recovery plan works best for you, there are multiple factors that go into how much care you will need.  

Recovery Care Questions To Ask Yourself Before Meeting with Long-Term Care:

  • What can I do by myself?
  • What do I need help with?
  • Do I need round-the-clock care or more occasional check-ins?
  • Can family members help occasionally?
  • Are there medical needs that should be considered? 
    • This would include things like changing dressings, cleaning wounds, administering medication, and even personal grooming assistance like showering. 
  • Is where I’m going conducive for what I need?
  • What will make me feel better? 

It is important to be honest with yourself when asking these questions. Healing is a challenging process and recovery takes time. The body is often weakened during recovery and what was once a simple task like preparing a meal or personal grooming, can now be exhausting and cumbersome. 

It is common to overestimate what you can do during the recovery process. Even if there are tasks around the house you can do, your doctor may still restrict you on what you should do. These could be physical limitations, limitations from medication, or other challenges. These limitations can mean not lifting items above a certain weight, climbing the stairs, reaching upper cabinets, or bathing yourself. It can also mean things like standing for more than a few minutes or taking out the trash. 

Once you’ve addressed these questions and have an idea of what your unique challenges will be, it’s time to think about what that care looks like and where it will be. You may already have a good idea of what you want, or what you’re capable of, but there are some major differences between these two options. 

At Home Care vs Facility Care

The two most common options for recovery care are at home care and facility care. At home care can mean someone who lives with you, someone who comes to your home every day, or someone who visits occasionally. For facility care, there are options of long-term facilities and short-term facilities. Long-term facilities may also be nursing homes or other assisted living facilities, while short-term may refer to themselves as physical rehabilitation facilities. There are a variety of names for each so it’s important to look at your area’s specific options. 

Cost of Recovery Care

Often the first concern in choosing one type of recovery care over another is the ultimate cost of care. This varies greatly depending on where you live, the type of insurance you have, and the type of facility or at home care you want. If you are the one in recovery it is often very helpful to have a family member or other trusted individual help you weigh your options. 

For many facilities, the total cost may not be straightforward. Certain options or types of care may have additional costs associated. Individuals may be financially responsible for a meal plan, to pay for the medical supplies they require, and other a la carte costs. It is important to understand all these costs upfront to avoid a painful bill later. 

Intensity of Recovery Care

Some options can feel very ‘all or nothing’, that one day you’re admitted into a care facility and when you’re discharged you leave fully healed, but recovery is often a slow and incremental process. You don’t often go to bed one night with a major injury and wake up the next morning miraculously healed. With that, the type of care you need at the beginning of your recovery is likely not the same level of care you will need a few months later. You may find that staying in a short-term facility is the best option for a few weeks but then move to at home care for the coming months, decreasing frequency as you build your strength. 

Length of Recovery Care

The length of time for recovery is a very important facet to consider when choosing your recovery care plan. Before being discharged from the hospital, be sure to ask your doctor or surgeon the average time of recovery for people your age. It can also be helpful to ask about the recovery process overall. You may learn that after a few weeks you will be able to manage tasks like bathing but not other tasks like cooking. Someone who has seen your type of injury many times should have a better idea of how your own recovery journey will look, giving you insights into the length of recovery. Everyone is different, so be aware it will likely be just an estimate.  

Availability of Other Recovery Resources

You may have family members and friends nearby who offer to bring you meals or to help, but if your recovery is expected to take months or years – that can be more than most individuals can realistically promise. Having help and other resources available is great, but knowing your length of recovery and having realistic expectations around help and recovery is important. Many family and friends are willing to bring a meal, but fewer are willing to change surgical dressings or visit you every day. Creating a schedule of help or visitors is great and can help keep that additional help for longer, but even if you have family and friends nearby, you may still need professional help too. 

Which Recovery Care Option to Choose

While you may find yourself recovering in a short or long-term facility after an injury, many people prefer to spend the more significant part of their recovery at home whenever possible. At home care is a very popular option when it comes to injury recovery. Often recovery at home allows more family and friends to visit and assist, professional help is still available in a variety of frequencies, and often the individual who is recovering does best when they can heal in their own home. 

Mental Health During the Healing Process

Mental Health may not be the first thing you think of when you are dealing with a physical injury, but how you feel can help improve the recovery process. When you feel better mentally you may be more interested in the physical therapy that will help you recover. When you feel better mentally you are likely to make better food choices, you will often sleep better, and an improved mood can be linked to better medical outcomes overall. 

This is part of why so many people ultimately choose at home recovery care. Being in a familiar setting will improve your mental health and mood over a foreign one. Most people prefer sleeping in their own bedroom over a hospital or medical facility and much of that comes down to mental health. If you are in need of recovery care, please consider your mental health as part of the process. 

Overall, recovery can be a long and difficult process with many things to consider. Hopefully, this helps give you some direction and helps you take the first steps on your recovery journey.