What is an IRF (2023)?

An inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) provides comprehensive treatment programs that are individually tailored to meet your needs as determined by an interdisciplinary team. The IRF team includes physicians, nurses, and therapists who specialize in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology. These professionals design a comprehensive treatment program that focuses on helping you reach your maximum level of independence so you can return home with confidence

What are the benefits of an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF)?

Medical Care

An IRF offers 24-hour medical care. This means that you will have access to doctors throughout your stay and won’t have to worry about scheduling appointments with other providers once you’re discharged from the hospital. Your doctor will also be able to prescribe medications that may help manage symptoms such as pain or nausea during your recovery process.

Individualized treatment plans

The best way to improve your quality of life after a stroke is through rehabilitation therapy that targets your specific needs and goals. At an IRF, you’ll have access to individualized treatment plans that are designed by qualified professionals based on your goals for recovery and overall health status before hospitalization.

Physical therapy

This helps one to improve mobility, strength, coordination, and balance. At some inpatient rehabilitation facilities, physical therapy may be provided with special equipment that helps you move more easily.

Occupational therapy

This type of therapy helps in improving the way you perform daily activities like dressing yourself or preparing meals.

Speech therapy

This type of therapy in an IRF helps those with problems speaking clearly because of an injury or illness. These problems may include difficulty breathing while talking or swallowing while talking due to a stroke or head injury.

IRF eligibility

To be eligible for inpatient care at an IRF, you must need intensive rehabilitation therapy. This can be due to a recent hospitalization or from an injury/illness. A physician must order the inpatient rehabilitation therapy at the facility. Additionally, you must be able to tolerate at least three hours of treatment per day.

What should I look for when choosing a rehabilitation facility?


The cost of your treatment is probably one of the first things that come to mind when choosing an inpatient rehabilitation center. But it’s important to remember that cost isn’t always indicative of quality. The costs will vary based on the type of insurance that you have as well as other factors including copayments and deductibles.

Treatment options

One IRF may have a specialty program whereas others may provide a more broad approach to inpatient rehabilitation. If you are looking for an inpatient rehabilitation facility that might offer a specific program then factor that into your decision making process. 


Accreditation is a voluntary process that gives consumers information about the quality of care provided at a facility. While accreditation isn’t required by law, it’s usually a good sign that the facility has been reviewed by an outside organization and found to meet certain standards of quality care. When in doubt, you can also look at Medicare Care Compare for more details.

Clinical team

It’s always a good idea to learn more about the clinical team at an IRF. Most of these professionals are pretty easy to get along with and have advanced degrees as well as specialized training. Getting to know the clinical team will help you feel more confident with the inpatient rehabilitation services.

About us

GreySteps is where you will learn how to find the best senior care options for yourself or loved ones. We provide guides and resources for independent living, long-term acute care hospitals, hospice and other senior care options.