Realistic Expectations for Rehab

man using rehab equipment with help from nurse

Dear Jeremy:

My dad will be having hip surgery in a few weeks. It is something he has put off for several years, and now, his hip is in pretty rough shape. The orthopedic surgeon has let us know that he will need to transfer to a skilled nursing and rehab center afterward.

The catch is my dad thinks his rehab will only take a week or so. But I’m sure it will take longer than that. He has diabetes, and wounds don’t heal as quickly as they used to.

We are trying to set some realistic expectations for my dad before his surgery. We aren’t quite sure what to tell him though. Can you offer us any advice?

Kind Regards,


What Are Realistic Expectations for Rehab?

Dear Nancy:

It is a great idea to have this conversation with your dad before his surgery! All too often, patients transition from the hospital to a skilled nursing center with unrealistic expectations of what rehab really entails.

Here are a few things that factor into your father’s recovery:

  • Age: While it isn’t always the case, older adults often take longer to bounce back after an illness or injury.

  • Motivation: If your father is motivated and positive, he is likely to be more cooperative with therapy services. It can help hasten his recovery.

  • Baseline before the illness/injury: You mentioned that your dad has diabetes. Conditions like this can make rehab more complicated. That often translates to a longer recovery.

  • Pain management: A quality-driven rehab center will be able to help your dad manage his pain. This is another important factor in his rehabilitation.

In many cases, a rehab patient will be able to go home and continue their therapy in an outpatient therapy center. This will depend upon what type of insurance coverage they have.

Finally, a successful rehabilitation will depend upon how well your father follows his physician’s instructions after he is discharged and settled back in his own home.

We’d like to invite you to bring your dad for a visit and tour before his surgery. Meeting the staff who will help him through the next phase of his rehab can help reduce the anxiety associated with his surgery and recovery!



Jeremy Evans

Rehab Director