Skilled Care

Skilled care, also called swing bed, is for patients who need to rehabilitate so they become stronger after surgery or an acute medical condition.  Our goal for the skilled care patient is to make them strong enough to go home.  Even those who did not have their surgery here at Veterans Memorial Hospital may qualify for our skilled care services post-operatively.

Skilled care is readily available to most Medicare patients if they require rehabilitation services and have a qualifying acute care stay in the hospital of three days or more.  The “swing” in care from acute to a skilled level of care allows them to remain in the hospital until they are feeling more able to take care of themselves at home.  It is a very helpful option to the spouse or caregiver of the patient.  Medications are given, pain is controlled and most importantly, the patient qualifies for more rehabilitation than if they are discharged directly to their home.  All skilled level patients are taken to their therapy sessions twice per day, Monday through Friday plus once on the weekends.  If they are discharged to their home, they only receive therapy three times per week, plus the caregiver has to load them up and bring them in for the therapy each time.

Our professional staff see the skilled level patients accelerate in their recovery much faster than the patients who elect to go home right away, due to the therapy twice a day instead of just 3 times per week which really helps them advance in their recovery, allowing them to be much more independent and safe in their own home.

Even patients who have a surgery or hospitalization at another health care facility, may still qualify to return to Veterans Memorial Hospital for the advantages of skilled care.  Becky Welper, R.N., is the Discharge Planner at Veterans Memorial Hospital.  She can help make the arrangements for patients in a larger facility to be transferred back here, closer to home for their skilled care.  Patients choosing a larger facility for surgery are commonly discharged home approximately 5 days following their surgery, which may be too soon.  By asking that larger medical facility to coordinate a transfer back to Veterans Memorial Hospital, the patient can take advantage of a longer hospital stay with in-house rehab easily accessible.  This also lightens the load on the care giver at home.

 Skilled care patients have weekly meetings with the doctor, nurses, therapists, and dieticians to discuss patient progress and to determine when the patient is ready to go home.  For more information, please contact Becky Welper, RN, Discharge Planner at Veterans Memorial Hospital. 

Veterans Memorial Hospital


40 First St SE

Waukon, IA  52172

Veterans Memorial Hospital is a critical access hospital located in Waukon, a rural community in the very northeast corner of Iowa.