Choosing a Post- Acute Facility: Transitional Rehabilitation or Skilled Nursing?

Health Care is changing and so are the options for care and rehabilitation following an accident, injury or illness.  The new Transitional Rehabilitation model is driving trends in post-acute care and providing a better recovery experience for patients.

New Transitional Trend #1: providing short term care without providing Long Term Care.

New Transitional Trend #2: providing care and rehabilitation in a comfortable setting with a hospitality focus.

New Transitional Trend #3: providing high intensity therapy for faster recovery, often 7 days/ week.

New Transitional Trend #4: focusing on discharge goals at the time of admission and following up after returning home.

Transitional Rehabilitation facilities (“TRF”) are typically licensed as Skilled Nursing Facilities (“SNF”) but the similarities end there.  TRFs are focused on providing the nursing services and therapy services to return people home as quickly as possible, usually in less than 20 days. They do not provide long-term care and frequently are not certified for Medicaid.  Many accept Medicare and Insurance. Most TRFs are new, have private rooms, large therapy spaces and well-appointed dining areas. A hotel like feel is common in the more upscale TRFs with an emphasis on customer satisfaction.  Usually, staff to guest ratios are higher in TRFs and some TRFs offer therapy 7 days a week.

How to choose?  Here is a quick checklist to see if the options you need/ want are available where you are looking:


FEATURE                                                                                                                                        Yes/ No
Therapy available up to 3 hrs/ day, 7 days a week.
Physician actively leads plan of care for each guest
One on One, individualized therapy
Large gyms with state of the art equipment
Direct care staff to guest ratio (Nurses and CNAs)
“First dose” medication system on site
Registered Nurses on site 24/ day
Private rehab suites with full wheelchair accessible shower
Chef inspired menus with open dining and room service.
Complimentary WiFi, flat screen smart TVs and other amenities
Discharge planning upon admission
Comprehensive Electronic Medical Record
Mobile charting system for in-room care and immediate documentation
Long term care at the same location


Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Kevin Braa. Kevin is  a  Community Liaison with Welbrook Transitional Rehab Grand Junction and may be reached at  970-628-0669  or by email at