At what point can she come home from the care facility?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
Draeder1 asked...

My 80 year old mother broker her hip 3 weeks ago. She is in an extended care facility and doing great, however, she still has not put any weight on the injury. Is there a rule of thumb as to when she will be able to return home. We have hired an in-home caregiver and have also arranged for in-home hospice care.

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Discharge from a extended care facility does not mean that you have to be fully recovered to go home. It simply means that the healthcare team has determined that your condition is stable, and that you do not need rehab-level care anymore. At an extended care facility, a social worker or nurse usually serves as the "discharge planner". Their job is to make sure that all of the patient's needs will be met upon discharge from the skilled care facility. This would include setting up in-home services, like PT or nursing care, and making sure that the patient will get meals and medications at home. This is an individualized process, since every person has different needs. To help you and your mother, you should find out who does the discharge planning in that facility and start talking with them about your concerns.

If you have already arranged for in-home hospice, then they usually take care of everything themselves. Typically, your mother will be assigned a case manager by the hospice, which will help direct her care. They can arrange caretakers, and provide medications to keep her comfortable at home. So, if she cannot fully bear weight, I don't think this will be a problem for the hospice team, as I think they can work around it. Good luck!

Community Answers

*susan answered...

To Draeder 1, First, I think it's terrific that your mother is "doing great" and the professional response above makes sense based on my 97-year-old mil's experience after breaking her hip and having successful surgery to put a pin in. I doubt there's any "rule of thumb."

Her surgeon supplied the rehab prescription for the rehab facility. At a certain point she could have gone home and continued physical therapy there. However, she chose to stay at the rehab facility which had a reputation for outstanding physical therapists who worked with her daily--as opposed to someone who might not be outstanding and wouldn't come daily. All covered by Medicare until she reached the level where it was determined by the social worker and team that she could return home and function basically as she had before the broken hip.

Because you mention hospice, your mother's health situation sounds different from my mil's. She was in very good health. So I don't know how that enters into the equation. I do know the surgeon insisted that she put no weight on the broken hip for 90 days--so that meant 3 months in rehab. plus the extra 6 weeks of rehab once the hip could bear weight.

Being in a rehab facility is not easy, being home always feels better. But my mil is disciplined and decided daily, excellent therapy meant more than going home for the reasons in paragraph 2. Hope this helps. Obviously every individual is different.

(That said, I've detailed my mil's amazing recovery in another answer to: "What is the Treatment for Broken Hips in the Elderly?" here on or you can get a chronology of her rehab on my blog:

Wishing you and your mother the best--