Swing Bed Program

A Swing Bed is a unit within an acute care hospital where a patient receives skilled nursing care. The Swing Bed program gives patients additional time to recover from a surgery, illness or injury. Swing Bed patients will have easy access to high-quality nursing care and evidence-based therapies. Our goal is for Swing Bed patients to become as independent as possible before being discharged from the hospital. Swing Bed patients enjoy round-the-clock access to our providers and nurses and 24/7 access to our lab and imaging services.

Swing Bed services may include any of the following depending on patient needs:

  • Rehabilitation
  • Daily IV or injection treatment
  • Tube feedings
  • Wound care
  • Skilled physical, occupational or speech therapy

Our goal is to have patients return to their permanent living situation as soon as possible.

Swing Bed patients are expected to be gradually responsible for daily tasks such as hygiene, bathing and dressing. The physician and patient work together to determine specific goals and length of stay. Our Case Management staff assists in arranging services for additional needs like home care assistance or long-term care facility placement.

Swing Bed service is approved and paid for by Medicare. A case manager will call to verify possible Swing Bed benefits if patient has a Medicare advantage plan or commercial insurance.

To qualify for a Medicare-covered skilled/swing nursing benefit, patients must:

  • Be enrolled in Medicare Part A and have skilled days available
  • Have been admitted to the hospital for at least three consecutive midnights before beginning Swing Bed service
  • Have been admitted to a skilled level of care within 30 days of your discharge from the hospital
  • Be admitted for the same condition for which you were treated in the hospital
  • Be certified by a doctor as needing skilled services on a daily basis
  • Require daily skilled services on an inpatient basis (services that cannot be provided in a lesser care setting)

If the patient requires a change in living arrangements, or if financial assistance is necessary, speak with a case manager as soon as possible.

If aid is required upon discharge, the necessary arrangements will take time. If nursing home placement is indicated, patient should choose preferred nursing home and contact a case manager. A list of area options can be provided or information is available at medicare.gov.

Community resources may provide in-home nursing, meals and some homemaking services. Ask for information from a case manager.

The Difference between Skilled and Custodial Care

This is important for the patient and family to understand. Medicare does not pay for custodial care. Custodial care is general nursing care, such as assistance with oral medications, bathing, dressing, walking, turning, repositioning, supervision or cleaning up after incontinence.

What may be considered skilled services?

  • Daily intravenous medications
  • Daily intramuscular injections
  • Daily subcutaneous (under the first layer of skin) injections
  • New tube feedings needing adjustment
  • Wound care needing medicated ointments or dressings
  • New respiratory treatments requiring adjustments
  • New catheters to treat an active disease process
  • Stage III (3) or IV (4) pressure ulcers
  • Patient/family education for a new condition
  • Skilled therapy from physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy (must participate and show progress toward goals)

Contact a case manager for more information about patient qualifications.

The Swing Bed Program is available at two Memorial Health locations: 

Lincoln Memorial Hospital

Call 217-605-5308 for more information.

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Taylorville Memorial Hospital

Call 217-707-5672 for more information.

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