Swing Bed Program

Swing Bed Program
female nurse with her hand on elderly male patients shoulder, male patient in lying in hospital bed looking up at her smiling

What is Swing Bed?

Swing Bed (or Skilled Nursing Care) is a Medicare program designed to provide additional inpatient care to those needing extra time to heal or strengthen before returning home. The term swing bed came from the idea that the patient will “swing”, or transition, from inpatient acute care through the program to return home to the same level of independence prior to entering the hospital. Swing Bed allows physicians to swing the level of care from “acute” to “skilled rehabilitation.”


When is Swing Bed appropriate?

Often the swing bed is used for patients who have had surgery such as hip or other joint replacement. Individuals who have had these types of procedures can be transferred to Patients’ Choice Swing Bed. In addition to major surgery, a lengthy illness can also result in the need for swing bed care. A patient can transfer from a larger facility to swing bed or, if already an inpatient at Culbertson, your hospital designation can be changed to receive swing bed care.

Who qualifies for Swing Bed?

  • Patients must have at least a three-day stay as an acute patient within the last 30 days before transferring or transitioning to the Swing Bed program.
  • Patients must need on-going monitoring and require rehabilitative therapy.
  • There are no age restrictions.
  • Swing Bed is routinely considered for patients who have had hip or knee surgery and need additional therapy before returning home.

Financial Information

Swing Bed Care may be paid for with private funds, private insurance and/or Medicare. The patient’s physician and the hospital staff can help the patient determine if they qualify, under federal guidelines, for Medicare coverage. A patient’s private insurance company will determine if it will cover Swing Bed Care. If a patient is not eligible for Medicare or private insurance coverage, they have to pay for their care through private funds.

Level of Care

The patient's needs will be monitored throughout their stay to determine whether or not they meet the Medicare Program’s criteria or guidelines.  If the level of care the patient needs decreases, they will be notified that they are no longer eligible for Medicare coverage.  At that time, they would receive a Medicare letter of denial stating the reason they were no longer eligible for coverage. The patient would then become responsible for their bill.

Nursing Care

The intensity of care a patient receives in the Swing Bed Program is different from the care they would receive as an Acute Care patient.  The nursing staff will continue to assist the patient with their needs, but as a part of the patient’s rehabilitation, they will be encouraged to increase their level of independence by doing what they can for themselves. The patient’s vital signs, such as pulse, respiration, weight and blood pressure, will be monitored as dictated by their physician but the patient will still have a call light by their bedside.

Swing Bed Therapy Services

Culbertson Memorial Hospital’s Swing Bed unit’s top priority is to assist patients in recovering their independence and mobility through intensive therapeutic sessions. Our skilled physical therapists evaluate each patient’s capacity and develop a program to meet achievable goals. Therapists work with each patient employing techniques to lead to recovering pain-free movement or to teach patients how to handle equipment that allows them to return to some level of self-sufficiency. Treatment may include therapeutic exercises, endurance training, training in activities of daily living, massage, joint mobilization, applications of heat and cold or wound care. Occupational and Speech therapy is provided to swing bed patients if they are needed. All therapies have short and long term goals for their patients to achieve while in the program.

Activity Program

A special activity program can be designed for patients according to their needs and interest. Activities may be ordered by the patient’s physician or are available at the patient’s request.  Personal care items such as nail care and nail polish are also available.


Meals are served in the same manner as Acute Care hospital inpatients. The Culbertson Memorial Hospital Dietary Department will work with the patient and their doctor to provide the foods they need and enjoy.


When you have surgery at another facility and need rehabilitation or skilled care, have the hospitals Discharge Planner contact Culbertson Memorial Hospital for our Swing Bed Program. Please have the Discharge Planner contact: Culbertson Memorial Hospital Patient Care Coordinator Melinda Murk at 217-322-4321.