Physical therapy in nursing home rehabilitation centers in New York and across the U.S. often improves patients’ quality of life. However, here at Futterman Sirotkin & Seinfeld LLP, we see cases where too much rehab has led to injury for a family’s loved one. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, ultrahigh therapy involves a minimum of 720 minutes each week of physical exertion, an inappropriate rehabilitation standard for some seniors. We understand that you may not be aware that the therapy your loved one is receiving is too aggressive, as the expense is often billed to Medicare.
Based on its analysis of Medicare billing records, the WSJ reported that in 2002, only about 7 percent of days billed to the program included ultrahigh therapy. In 2013, the number was 54 percent. The rates set by Medicare are about $560 per day for ultrahigh therapy, versus $324 for a lower level of exercise, which would run between 45 to 149 minutes each week. While the facility that cares for your loved one may encourage high-intensity rehabilitation, more does not necessarily mean better for your elderly loved one.
Dangers to your family member from over-exertion or inappropriate levels of exercise may include injury to the joints, fractures, risk of falling, dehydration, excessive weight loss, and more. Safe rehabilitation requires an individualized assessment of your loved one by a skilled professional. Your family member may well benefit from exercise that is tailored to his or her abilities and physical condition. Misguided or overzealous activity has the potential to create more problems than it solves. For more information about senior care issues, please visit our page.