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Steps To Home offers a local option for inpatient short-term rehab

By Michelle Fortune

Healthcare Umbrella

Recently, I’ve added longer distances to my running regimen as part of my training plan to complete a marathon in January. I must admit, this is one of the toughest weeks I’ve had to-date. My left hip and hamstrings have been screaming in pain, and honestly, if I had not successfully finished a marathon in the past, I would likely conclude that I am not capable given the level of discomfort.

On a recent run it was very humid, and my legs were aching so terribly that I wondered if I would finish. The thought of getting back home kept me motivated. It felt as if I was counting the steps to get there – two more miles to home, one more mile to home, only a half-mile to go until, gratefully, my feet hit the driveway and the house was in sight.

Sometimes, a healthcare challenge can feel much the same. Patients and families are counting the moments, days, and even hours until they can get back home to some semblance of normalcy.

At St. Luke’s Hospital, we have a variety of services that help patients receive the help they need to return home safely following surgery, illness or injury. One exceptional inpatient program is called Steps to Home.

Oftentimes, following a medical situation and inpatient hospital stay the patient doesn’t quite need or desire a skilled nursing facility stay but they require additional support. This is where Steps to Home plays an important role. It provides 24/7 inpatient care for patients that includes medical and nursing support as well as services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and short or long-term IV antibiotic therapy. Sometimes, we have patients who have been at St. Luke’s for an inpatient medical stay and they meet criteria for hospital discharge but are not quite strong enough to return home yet. These patients are often able to convert to a Steps to Home short-term stay and receive the vital care needed to be able to return home safely.

Some examples of situations, where Steps to Home care would be appropriate, include: post stroke recovery, following major orthopedic surgery with need for extended rehab, or following a major medical or surgical related illness to regain strength. The average stay for patients in our Steps to Home program is between seven to 14 days, but there are times, due to long term IV infusions, patients qualify to stay several weeks longer. Each person’s goals are individualized to focus on renewing their strength and ability to return home.

Should you find yourself in another hospital with the need for extended care before being discharged home, you can request to come to St. Luke’s Steps to Home program. Referrals or questions about Steps to Home can be directed to the Case Management Department at St. Luke’s Hospital. This department is staffed with nurse professionals who will work diligently to ensure you are receiving quality care and they will coordinate all medical and necessary equipment and support services. This team can discuss with you the coverage Medicare provides for Steps to Home services and work with other payors to gain prior authorization for a Steps to Home stay. Our Case Management Department can be reached at 828-894-0911, and they are eager to help you count your steps toward a safe transition to home!

We look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions about healthcare here in Polk County. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or visit our website at SaintLukesHospital.com. Michelle Fortune can be contacted at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org.