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Hospitals manage acute symptoms and can be done in either an acute, long term care, mental health, or critical care hospital. Some of the most common reasons for seniors to be admitted into the hospital include cardiac and respiratory episodes, infections and pneumonia, diabetes, medication problems, fall resulting in injury or fractures, and strokes. While at the hospital a team of health care providers including physicians, nurses, therapists, and social services will collaborate to manage symptoms. Depending on the admitting diagnosis, inpatient therapy including physical, occupational, and speech therapy will be offered while in the hospital. Part of the health care team will include a Case Manager or Social Worker that will coordinate a safe discharge that may include additional services including rehabilitation, home health, or hospice.

Average Length of Stay

The amount of time a senior remains in the hospital varies greatly depending on the acute symptoms, but seniors will typically have a longer length of stay than the average. A hospital admission can be as short as overnight, or be as long as several weeks.

Who pays for it

Hospital admissions are covered by Medicare Part A, Medicare Advantage Plans, AHCCCS, and other private insurances. There will typically be co-pays that the patient will be responsible for, so it’s important to understand your insurance benefits prior to being admitted to the hospital. Veterans enrolled in the VA may have coverage for hospital admissions at a VHA medical facility.

What I should know

It is important to know if your stay is Inpatient or Outpatient, as it could affect what your co-pays will be. Inpatient begins when a patient is formally admitted into the hospital with doctor’s orders and the day before you discharge is the last inpatient day. Outpatient status is for those in the emergency room, under observation, or receiving outpatient services like x-rays and some surgeries when the doctor has not written orders for admission.

Private duty nursing, private rooms (unless medically necessary) and personal supplies like razors and socks are not typically covered by Medicare or insurance.

Long term care hospitals can sometimes be confused with long term care facilities (nursing homes) but are not the same. Long term care hospitals are covered by Medicare and insurance, but long term care facilities are not. Long term care hospitals are specialty hospitals treating acute symptoms with the goal of improvement and discharge home, and long term care facilities are considered the “home” of patient with no goal of discharge. Please click here for more information about long term care facilities.

Where do I go from here?

From the hospital a person may discharge to a sub-acute rehabilitation facility, a hospice in-patient facility, home with outpatient therapy, home health, or hospice, or with no additional services.

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