What is the Swing Bed Program?
Swing Bed is a concept developed by Medicare, which permits certain small rural hospitals to use their beds as needed for patients who no longer require acute care in the hospital.
Physicians may “swing” patients from one level of care to another when they are not ready for discharge to home, while staying in the same facility. Swing Bed offers positive hope of recovery while helping the patient remain closer to family and friends.
Be aware that Swing Bed programs differ from one facility to another and are intended when care is only needed for a short period of time.
The goal of the Swing Bed program is to assist the patient who needs additional time to recover from a surgery, illness or injury, in a hospital setting versus a nursing home.
The emphasis is to assist the patient in becoming as independent as possible and move to a permanent living situation as soon as possible.
In the hospital, you would have easy access to nursing care and therapies. The medical staff expects
the patient to be cooperative, to take instructions, and to participate in consistent rehabilitation and physical therapy activities essential to his/her recovery, helping the patient work towards their independence.
When is a Swing Bed appropriate?
If you or a loved one needs any of the following care, Swing Bed would be appropriate:
• Need to heal or regain strength through physical, occupational and speech therapies to aid in a safe
return home or to other living arrangements, after acute medical or surgical stay.
• IV therapy
• Orthopedic rehabilitation following any surgery
• Specialized wound care
• Stroke rehabilitation
How Do I Get into the Swingbed Program?
When your doctor determines you need continued skilled care, a referral is made to the Swing Bed
Coordinator. The Swing Bed Coordinator will help answer your questions and verify insurance eligibility.
What Types of Services do Swing Bed Programs Offer?
The goal with a Swing Bed program is to help you achieve your maximum level of function and return home. Swing Bed programs are located within hospitals and are often able to offer specialized services, such as:
• 24 hour emergency department on-site
• 24 hour registered nurses on staff
• Discharge planning/social services
• In-house pharmacies and registered dieticians
• IV Therapy
• Rehab therapy services located on-site
• Specialized wound care
How Long Will I be in the Swing Bed Program?
Generally, you can stay in a Swing Bed program as long as you are making measurable progress as determined by rehabilitation services, nursing, and the physician. You could be in the GCH program as little as three days, or up to ten days.
After you have reached your goals, Medicare will no longer fund your stay in a Swing Bed program. It is very important to check with the facility of your choice to inquire about how their program is run.
Who pays for Swing Bed?
Medicare Part A will generally pay for Swing Bed if the patient meets the following Medicare criteria: Your Swing Bed care must be related to an acute hospital stay.
You must need skilled nursing or skilled rehabilitative services on a daily basis, and must be complex enough that services must be performed by or under the supervision of professional or technical personnel.
You must have had a three night qualifying stay in an acute care setting in the past 30 days.
Many commercial insurances also offer a Swing Bed benefit, which would need to be verifi ed by the hospital prior to an admission to Swing Bed. Patients may also pay privately, and would need to contact their local Swing Bed program on cost.
What is Skilled Care?
In order to qualify for Swing Bed, a patient must have a need for skilled services. Skilled services are tasks that can only be performed by a licensed professional and include:
• Bowel and Bladder training, nurse/patient teaching
• IV therapy, sterile would dressing changes, skin and wound care
• Occupational Therapy
• Physical Therapy
• Speech Therapy
What Do I Do When I Have Improved?
Swing Bed Team Meetings are scheduled every Monday with you, your family and our staff to discuss your progress, goals, and discharge needs. When it is determined by your Doctor and Swing Bed Team that you have met your goals, we will assist you in your transition from the hospital.
Caregivers/Family are encouraged to attend all team meetings as they are as much a part of recovery and success as you are. The meetings will take place in your room and the team will come to you.
The Case Management Team will assist you in obtaining any home medical equipment you may need. They will also help arrange follow up therapy services, if needed, such as Home Health or Outpatient Therapies.
What Will I Need for the Swing Bed Program?
Each room has both a television and a telephone. The hospital provides basic supplies such as toothpaste, toothbrush, soap and gowns, but you may want to bring in some of your own things from home such as:
Clothes – loose fitting and comfortable, at least 3 sets.
Hobbies or Activities you enjoy.
Personal Toiletries – such as a brush, deodorant, dentures and denture cleaner, electric razor, hearing aids, glasses, cane, walker, book, music, radio, etc.
Shoes – well fitting with adequate traction.
What Can My Family Do to Help?
Families and friends are a vital source of help and encouragement while in the hospital. Family and friends can help by spending time with you, encouraging you, and even bringing in items from home to make your stay better.
We also actively encourage their participation in team meetings, safety training, and nurse/patient teaching.
We ask that family and friends do not help you out of bed or walk without teaching, training, and permission from our staff as patient safety is our utmost concern.
What to Expect on Swing Bed?
Two major goals of Swing Bed are to get dressed in your own clothing daily and to walk to meals.
Occupational Therapy will assist you in your daily routines, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
Physical Therapy will work with you on strengthening and mobility.
Speech Therapy will work with any speech/swallow issues.
The Activity Coordinator assists you with keeping busy during your down time and can provide you with many diversions such as music, newspapers, puzzles, games or even just conversation. We will help in any way to keep you active and involved.
Breakfast will be served in the patient’s room, but patients are expected to be up in a chair rather than eating in bed.
We can accommodate seating your family if they wish to eat meals with you. Please give Nursing staff advance notice of the request.