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Benefits of an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility

When deciding where you or a loved one should go for rehabilitation after an illness or injury, it is important to understand the differences in care offered at different types of facilities. Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF) provide more personalized and coordinated care than Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF).

The Rehabilitation Center at Atrium Medical Center is an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility with specialized, multidisciplinary teams that work together with patients for improved outcomes.

Understanding the Differences in Care

The following chart illustrates the differences between an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility and a Skilled Nursing Facility.

Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services Requirements
Inpatient Rehabilitation
at Atrium Medical Center
Skilled Nursing Facility
Medical Supervision Close medical supervision by a physician with specialized training and experience in rehabilitation. Physicians
conduct daily rounds and provide 24-hour availability. Immediate access to all medical testing and services offered in acute care is available at Atrium Medical Center.
An SNF patient usually receives only the general supervision of a physician. A physician makes rounds a minimum of every 30 days and emergency coverage is available.
Availability of Rehabilitation Nursing Atrium provides 24-hour rehabilitation nursing. This degree of availability represents a higher level of care than what is typically found in an SNF. Not mandated. While a patient in an SNF may require nursing care, specialized rehabilitation nursing is generally not readily available. Minimum of one nurse to every 40 patients and one nursing assistant to every 20 patients (may vary by facility).
Intensity of Care IRFs must offer a relatively intense level of rehabilitation services. Atrium provides at least three hours a day of one-to-one, individualized therapy six days a week. SNFs are only required to offer services on a “daily basis” with no requirement as to the amount of patient care. Therapy is often provided in a group setting.
Multidisciplinary Team Approach
to Care
IRFs must use a multidisciplinary team approach in delivery of the rehabilitation program. At a minimum, a team must include a physician, rehabilitation nurse, physical and occupational therapy, and a social worker. Speech therapy, neuropsychology, respiratory therapy and dietitians are involved as dictated by the patient’s needs. Not mandated, varies by facility.
Coordinated Program of Care At Atrium, interdisciplinary team meetings are held at a minimum weekly to assess a patient’s progress and design a plan to overcome discharge barriers. SNFs generally review every 30 days.
Significant Practical Improvement Significant practical improvement is expected in a reasonable period of time. Not mandated.
Realistic Goals The most realistic rehabilitation goal for most patients is sufficient improvement to allow the patient to live at home independently or with assistance rather than in an Institution. The aim of the treatment is to achieve the maximum level of function possible. Rehabilitation services must be “reasonable and necessary” to the ailment being treated. The SNF manual makes no reference to rehabilitation goals.

Sources: “Medicare Benefit Policy Manual 110.4” (Rehabilitation Hospital Screen Criteria), “Skilled Nursing Facility Manual, Pub. 12, 214” (Covered Level of Care)