Recover closer to home

Published in Wellness Author: Carris Health

When is Swing Bed the right care for you?

 If you are recovering from an acute hospital stay or major surgery, but still need some form of daily skilled nursing or skilled rehabilitation service, you may be eligible for “Skilled Swing Bed” care under Medicare or “Transitional Care” under private insurance.

“The great benefit of Swing Bed is that it allows patients to continue their recovery process close to home, family and friends,” says Kris Garman, Redwood Area Hospital patient care coordinator.

Even if you received inpatient care or surgery at another hospital, you can ask to be referred to Redwood Area Hospital’s swing bed program once your condition is stable and your recovery process is underway.

Beginning Care               

During an acute hospital stay, your physician will determine if skilled care is needed, and a referral will be made to the patient care coordinator or social worker at Redwood Area Hospital.

What type of care will I receive during my swing bed stay?

During a swing bed stay we help you achieve your optimum level of function and self-care. We want you to return home independently or with the help of other community resources such as: home health care, Lifeline, or outpatient therapy.

Upon admission, a plan of care is established based on your individual needs. The physician manages your care and works collaboratively with the care team to provide the services you need.

“The care team notifies the physician of any changes or other health care needs as they arise,” explains Garman. “Because your needs during recovery are unique, treatment plans are tailored to your condition as it changes.”

“We want our Swing Bed patients to feel comfortable as they finish their recovery and prepare to go home,” said Garman.  “Patients are encouraged to dress in their own comfortable clothing and visit with family and friends—that’s one of the perks of being closer to home.”

Ending Care

When your skilled care need ends, Medicare coverage ends for the skilled swing bed stay. Length of stay for non-Medicare/transitional care is determined by the individual’s private insurance plan. If you do not feel ready to go home at this time, you still have a few options.

Some patients continue to receive non-skilled swing bed care at the hospital with a daily, fixed rate. Because Medicare does not cover custodial (non-skilled) care, this option is a private pay cost to you.

Other patients feel more comfortable returning home with the support of home care services, which can include physical therapy and occupational therapy right in your home. Life Line, community transportation and other community resources can also ease this transition.

Even with the extra recovery time of Swing Bed care, some patients may choose to recover further at a nursing home or in an assisted living setting.

“Our discharge team works very closely with patients and families to find the right option and the right resources to support them with whatever option they choose when they leave Redwood Area Hospital,” explains Garman.

Payment options

Medicare will cover skilled swing bed if:

  • You have Medicare Part A and have days left in your benefit period available to use.
  • You have a consecutive, 3-day, acute in-patient hospitalization immediately prior to skilled swing bed care.
  • Your doctor has determined that you need daily skilled care. Care must be given by, or under the direct supervision of, skilled nursing or rehabilitation staff.

Medicare coverage is limited to 100 days of skilled swing bed care. If you meet skilled criteria, Medicare will cover 100% of the first 20 days. You may be discharged before 20 days if daily skilled criteria ends. If you require a stay past 20 days, co-insurance dollars or self-payment will be assigned from day 21 to 100.

Private insurances can also offer swing bed/transitional care coverage, but usually require pre-authorization.

“If a patient is interested in receiving swing bed care, the best thing they can do is ask for a referral and we can work with them to determine what their insurance coverage allows.”tiny