When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma or any cancer they are often searching for a plan, a road map, a guide. Medically this can include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, clinical trials. This can also involve hospitalizations, outpatient treatments, series of hospital appointments. radiation therapy. With some patients this can also involve a stay in a rehab facility after surgery or a hospitalization. This can be a surprise to some patients .
Recently we visited two patients at rehab facilities. One was a gentleman in his 70’s that was discharged to rehab after his surgery. There are many reasons that someone might go to rehab. One of the common reasons is lack of conditioning. After being in the hospital for even a short period of time you can lose muscle mass and strength. The second patient was a female; she was at rehab to slowly wean off the vent. Progress has been slow, but she is progressing. Both of these patients were sent to rehab facilities to improve their strength, with the goal of returning to their previous level of functioning. At this particular rehab facility, a sign greets all, “Find Your Strength.”
In the United states there are 15,401 nursing facilities according to statistics from the government for the year 2014. This includes all different levels of care. Nursing homes, day programs, chronic care programs, care for patients with chronic illnesses. Some of the patients will never reach the level of independent living. The nursing facilities are in all sizes and shapes and specialize in different issues.
After treatment for mesothelioma the type of facility that patients are most often transferred to are skilled nursing facilities. A definition from Segens Medical Dictionary: ” is an inpatient health care facility with the staff and the equipment to provide skilled care, rehabilitation and other health services to patients who need nursing care but do not require hospitalization.” Another definition from Mosby’s Medical Dictionary is: ” a type of nursing home – recognized by the Medicare and Medicaid systems as meeting long term health care needs for individuals who have the potential to function independently after a limited period of care. A multidisciplinary team guides health care and rehabilitative services, including nursing care.”
Like specialized centers for mesothelioma, rehab facilities after surgery or treatments for mesothelioma are specialized. If along your journey with mesothelioma it is recommended that you or your loved one go to a skilled nursing facility- SNF- or rehab facility, remember the goal is to return you to your previous level of functioning. It might be a surprise not to go home after a hospitalization. Remember your journey with living with mesothelioma is a marathon not a sprint.