This list was compiled by a group of ARDS survivors and family members, as well as medical professionals who either have personally experienced rehabilitation facilities themselves, or have worked at rehabilitation facilities. Not everything will be right for you or your loved one; no one facility will offer everything that you want for your loved one.
These questions are just a guideline, suggestions of what you might want to ask when you are seeking out the best facility for your loved one to continue their recovery. Each patient will have individual needs that need to be taken into consideration when speaking to those at the rehab facility.
Remember to look for the facility that will be the best overall fit, the one where you feel your loved one will receive the best care at that point in his or her recovery.
GO VISIT THE FACILITY, and if possible, speak to a patient or two who have been there for a while to see what they think about the care that they have been receiving. Not all rehab facilities are alike and the one that you choose will not have everything that you want or need for your loved one but in choosing the facility, you will want to find the one that is best for your loved one.
Look for facilities that are accredited. Accreditation from the national organization ensures that the rehab center in question is committed to meeting international standards of quality. Evaluate the staff by asking questions, and look for consistency in that staff and the facility.
Questions to ask when considering a rehabilitation facility
- What is the facility’s success in weaning the patient from the vent?
- How many RTs are on staff?
- How often will chest x-rays be taken?
- Are there respiratory therapists present at the facility around the clock?
- If not, what specific training do the nursing staff have and what do they do until the RT arrives?
- How long does it take for help to come when there is a problem, i.e., vent alarms sounding and nurses can’t figure out what is wrong OR if a patient desaturates and is very Short of Breath?
- Do they have oximeters?
- What do they do in the case of a power failure?
- What back up system do they use?
- How many ventilators would they allow in the facility? Ex. If there are 10 vent patients and a power failure occurs, they would have to ambu patients until a generator was set up or the power comes back on. How would they handle that?
- How often do the doctors visit and reevaluate the patients?
- What are the criteria for weaning?
- Is it wean at all costs or if a patient needs continuing support, is it given?
- Do the majority of patients go back to their homes or do they stay in the facility?
For both patients who are on or off the vent:
- What is the ratio of nurses to patients?
- What are the ratio of nurses to patients at NIGHT?
- Are physicians on staff or do they come on a daily basis? Or how often?
- Does your loved one’s doctor have privileges at the facility?
- Is there a pulmanologist on staff? If no, how often does a pulmanologist come to the facility?
- If a crisis occurs, what medical facility will your loved one be taken to? (you want to make sure that this is also a hospital that you would entrust)
- Does the facility specialize in pulmonary rehab issues as well as the physical aspects of PT and OT?
- How many hours a day of therapy will there be?
Will it be an hour or two, leaving your loved one to twenty-two or twenty-three hours of sitting around, or will it be regimented and scheduled therapy?
- Or will there be approximately three hours in the morning, three in the afternoon, and are patients expected to go to meals with other patients, if they are at that level of ability?
- Is there continuity of care, meaning the same therapist with the same patient, except on days off?
How qualified is the staff?
- Is the physical/occupational therapy individualized for each patient?
- Is the patient treated individually or in a group? If in a group, is there also individual therapy?
- Is there outpatient therapy available when the patient goes home?
- What is the usual length of stay at the facility before the patient goes home?
- Is there a transitional care unit?