10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Physical Rehabilitation Facility

A rehabilitation facility not only should provide exemplary rehabilitation services, but it should also offer comfort to patients. Some facilities that claim they are rehabilitation facilities are actually geared toward nursing care. So before you make a decision, ask these important questions to help determine the type and quality of the facility.

Be sure you receive satisfactory answers from a caseworker on the staff at a rehab facility before placing a patient there. Many people, when faced with finding a rehabilitation facility, become overwhelmed and let hospital case workers decide. Unfortunately, the main consideration for a case worker may be which nearby facility has an available bed, not necessarily whether the facility is best for the patient. Family members and caregivers should always shop around and find a quality facility. Rehabilitation success depends upon it.


Is the Facility Accredited?

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In the United States, physical rehab facilities are accredited by the Joint Commission.

Accredited facilities are visited by the Joint Commission every three years to conduct multi-day evaluations covering all aspects of care.


Does the Facility Monitor Care Quality?

Ask whether the facility offers patient or family surveys to assess the quality of care and satisfaction. Also, ask if they conduct employee satisfaction surveys.


Is the Facility Clean and Appealing?

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When you walk into the facility, check whether it smells good and looks clean. Be wary of facilities that have a urine odor when you enter. The décor should be appealing and functional. The building should be accessible indoors and outdoors.

Check the patient rooms and see whether they have​ a personal phone, television, and shower or bath. Look for outdoor areas that patients can use.


Does the Facility Specialize in Rehabilitation Care?

Facilities that specialize in rehabilitation care are certified by Medicare as rehabilitation hospitals. The individuals who work in certified rehabilitation hospitals are specially trained in acute rehabilitation care.

A facility may also offer specialized programs, such as brain injury, stroke, orthopedic, and cardiac rehabilitation programs, with staff who are specially trained in these areas.


Are Board-Certified Medical Staff Available at All Times?

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It is very important to have board-certified medical staff trained in rehab care in the facility. They should be available around the clock.

Look for a facility that has a physician on site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and preferably an internist with critical care training.


What Is the Ratio of Qualified Nurses to Patients?

A facility may seem to have plenty of caregivers on staff, but are they qualified rehabilitation nurses? An ideal ratio of nurses to patients is one nurse to every five or six patients during the day. In the evening, a nurse for every six or seven patients is ideal.

Be wary of facilities that are heavily staffed with certified nursing assistants (CNAs) rather than registered nurses who specialize in rehabilitation care.


How Much Therapy Will the Patient Receive?

woman being helped with physical rehab exercises

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A rehabilitation facility should provide more therapy than a nursing home. Ideally, therapy should be provided for three hours a day, five days a week.

The therapy should be progressive as the patient gains strength during their stay. The type of therapy will vary depending upon the therapists and specialists assigned to the case.


Who Develops the Treatment Plan?

The treatment plan should be developed with a team made up of therapists, the patient, and the patient’s caregivers. It should be tailored to the patient’s individual needs.


Is There a Patient Care Coordinator or Case Worker?

patient and case coordinator talking

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One of the most important people in the patient care team is the patient care coordinator or caseworker.

Someone in this role should be available to answer questions about things like discharge and insurance issues. They should also help to arrange for services that may be needed after the discharge from the facility.


Does the Facility Offer Outpatient Therapy and Services?

Ask whether patients are able to return for outpatient therapy if needed after they are discharged.

After a patient establishes a relationship with a therapist, it can be helpful for them to continue with the same therapist after they have been discharged.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Gadbois EA, Tyler DA, Mor V. Selecting a skilled nursing facility for postacute care: individual and family perspectives. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017;65(11):2459-2465. doi:10.1111/jgs.14988

  2. The Joint Commission. Facts about the Joint Commission.

  3. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities.

  4. Cleveland Clinic. 10 tips for choosing a rehab facility.

  5. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Inpatient rehabilitation therapy services: complying with documentation requirements.

  6. Trossman S. The future is now. Rehabilitation nurses well-prepared for care coordination, team focusAm Nurse; 45(1):1‐6.

By Charlotte Gerber
Charlotte Gerber is a disability writer and advocate. She has made a career of educating the public about various diseases and disabilities.