What to Look for in a Short Term Rehabilitation Center

Short term rehabilitation has become the preferred choice for easing the transition between hospital and home for individuals who have been hospitalized and require a period of medical monitoring or rehabilitation before safely returning home. Short term rehabilitation, which is normally less than 30 days, can be highly beneficial after a surgery or a hospitalization following a stroke, injury or other serious medical problem.

Short term rehabilitation centers, which are often part of skilled nursing centers that also provide longer term care, offer several advantages over traditional hospital-based rehab places. Benefits include lower costs, a less institutional, more home-like environment and pleasing amenities. However, as with most things, “short term rehab centers are not all created equal” so it’s worth taking some time to make sure the center you choose is best suited to you or your loved one’s individual needs and preferences.

Licenses and Certification

State licensure and certification by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are important quality indicators and serve as “the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for places that provide healthcare and short term rehabilitation services. 

How Does It Look? 

It’s a good idea to visit the center to get a sense of its current state and general ambiance. Does the center look modern, clean and inviting? Is it a place you would feel comfortable calling “home” for a short period of time? Are private rooms available? Many skilled nursing centers are older and may not have the state of the art services or “evidence-based design” to optimize your recovery. If you cannot visit the center, look for pictures on the centers website.

Costs and Insurance

Ask about how costs for services are handled. Certain services may be considered “extras” beyond the basic services. Make sure the center is approved to accept Medicare and Medicaid and/or accepts the private insurance coverage you or your family have.

Rehabilitative Services

Make sure the center provides the appropriate nursing care as well as the physical, occupational and speech therapy services you may need. Does it use the latest technologies to speed and improve your recovery? How are prescription drugs administered so they are provided in a safe and timely manner?


Does the center offer amenities like private rooms with private bathrooms; free Wi-Fi; flat-screen TVs; a quiet, soothing environment; quality food service and dining options?


Does the center employ a full time medical director? What are the staff members’ professional qualifications? Have they received special training and been credentialed for the care and services they provide?


Does the center have a good reputation for providing quality care, positive results and high patient satisfaction. Has the center received any special awards or honors that recognize the quality of its services?


Are direct caregivers and other family members welcome at the center, and are they encouraged to participate in the plan of care for the patient? Are they offered a role in the recovery process?

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