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10 Things to Know

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10 Things to Know

1. How is a Skilled Nursing Facility different from a Nursing Home?
Skilled Nursing Facilities help you get better, function more independently,and/or learn to take care of your health needs. Skilled care is health care given when you need skilled nursing or rehabilitation as treatment. It usually involves physical, speech, or cognitive therapy. People generally don’t stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility until they are 100% recovered, but instead they usually go home to receive "home care" or care from family. In other words, patients are rehabilitated with the intent of helping them become independent again in order for them to go back home healthy. In contrast, Nursing Homes provide care for longer term — potentially the rest of a patient's life. 

2. How can I pay for care? Do you take insurance/Medicare/Medicaid?
We take most commercial insurances. Check with your insurance to confirm coverage and requirements. 

Medicare and Medicaid are accepted. With Medicaid, there are specific requirements. Call your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) Office for more information or go to 

With Medicare, the average covered stay is 20 days, but you can get up to 100 days of coverage in a benefit period. Once you use those 100 days, your current benefit period must end before you can renew your skilled nursing care benefits. Medicare will only cover skilled care when you meet certain conditions. If you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, most health care costs are covered. Click here to learn more about Medicare and Medicaid requirements for care coverage.

3. What should I look for in a Skilled Nursing Facility?
It often happens that when a loved one is hospitalized after a fall, a stroke, or a surgery, a decision is thrust upon the family to quickly find a skilled nursing facility to accommodate the rehabilitation process. 

It's important to look for the following:

  • Highly qualified and credentialed staff
  • Staff is friendly, polite, and eager to help
  • There is a full-time Registered Nurse (RN) in the center at all times
  • Facility is Medicare/Medicaid-certified
  • Facility appears clean and well kept
  • Room temperature is comfortable
  • Good lighting and views to the outdoors
  • Facility has outdoor areas for patient use and staff help patients go outside
  • Patients may have personal belongings and/or furniture in their rooms
  • Each patient has a window in his or her bedroom
  • There are quiet areas where patients can visit with friends and family
  • Patients have a choice of food items at each meal
  • Patients, including those who are unable to leave their rooms, may choose to take part in a variety of activities

If you choose Palomar Heights Post Acute Rehab, know that our goal is to make sure patients feel safe, impeccably cared for, comfortable, and well accommodated during — and even after — their stay with us. It’s our goal to make the transition easy for our new patient, as well as keeping the family apprised of the progress they make while in our care.

4. What kinds of activities are available?
Patients are encouraged to participate in onsite activities, which include live entertainment, games, church services, cooking classes, and much more. We plan numerous daily activities, which are clearly posted. There is also a monthly outing where patients can go to local malls, restaurants, parks, etc. 

We have large TVs and wireless internet access, as well a library of books and movies. Our hair salon is usually bustling with activity, as we want our patients looking and feeling as much like “themselves” as possible. 

5. How is the food?
Not only are our meals prepared to your preferences, based on interviews to discern your likes and dislikes, we also have Registered Dietitians on staff to evaluate each patient's dietary needs. We do this the day you arrive to make sure we are meeting your nutritional requirements and catering to your tastes. 

We provide 3 nutritionally balanced meals every day, plus snacks. If a patient requires a special diet, that is always a top priority to provide each patient with aspecific meal made just to order, whether that be low sodium, low fluid, pureed, or any other modification. And assistance is available for patients who need help with eating.

6. Do patients and family members have a say in decision making?
Yes! Your success is our success. As a smaller facility, we’re flexible when it comes to meeting your needs, as we carefully craft a Care Plan for your successful rehabilitation. 

We want you to get back to feeling like yourself again, so your input is absolutely critical to make sure that happens. If you are unable to speak for yourself, family members are encouraged to step in and help, and our Social Services Director will make sure that all of your voices are heard. After all, it’s your care — so your participation is of utmost importance.

After a patient checks in, a Care Plan Meeting is scheduled within 72-hours. This meeting involves the patient, family members, our Dietary Supervisor, Activities Director, and our Social Services Director, who acts as our patient advocate.

7. When can family and friends visit? 
Visitation is not limited. Families always have access to their loved ones, 24/7. If you ever have a question or concern, there is a patient advocate (our Social Services Director) on staff full time. However we do ask, for patient's privacy, that visitors do not stay overnight. 

8. Can patients bring?
We try to accommodate small personal items of our patients. When you’re touring our facility, we’ll show you the type of room and what small personal items you may bring. We’ll make every effort to ensure you can bring a few meaningful items with you. We want you to feel at home during your stay.

9. What happens once the patient’s rehabilitation is complete?
Once rehab is complete, the discharge plan will be initiated. In most cases, the patient returns home. Others receive weekly in-home visits from a physical therapist for ongoing treatment. Others may need more long-term care in an assisted living facility.
We understand that change can be difficult at any age, so we value staying in touch with the patient after he or she leaves our facility. We want everyone to know that the care Palomar Heights provided doesn’t simply “end” because they left our center. We want them eased in to this next phase of their lives, thriving in their environment, and feeling safe and secure during this time of transition.

10. What if the patient is not ready to return home at the end of the scheduled Care Plan?
This is not a problem. We can offer a variety of resource options, from extending the patients’ stay to arranging outside sources of care.