Returning Patients to Active Living
Inpatient rehabilitation facilities restore function and strength so that patients can return to their highest level of independence. You probably already know that inpatient rehabilitation is a must to achieve the best possible recovery following hospitalization for surgery, injury or a serious illness.
But knowing how to make the best choice for inpatient care following a hospital discharge can be confusing. Often both patients and families think they need to stay within the hospital system where treatment took place.
Explore Your Rehabilitation Options
“Many people are unaware that they are free to choose where their post-acute or long-term rehabilitation takes place,” says Terri Rufo, Administrator at CareOne Holmdel. “Families can make their own choice depending on considerations such as location, the patient’s needs, and their impression after touring a facility and meeting the staff who will care for their parent or another family member.”
“Ideally, both the patient-to-be and family members should explore their options before hospitalization occurs,” says Terri. “If an elective procedure is planned, such as joint replacement surgery, take the time to consider finding a rehabilitation facility that’s close to home for the primary caregivers. If your grandmother lives in Staten Island, but the family who will be visiting her in rehab after her hip replacement lives in Monmouth County, then it makes sense to find a top-rated facility closer to the caregivers’ Monmouth County home.”
Terri encourages caregivers to explore their options. “Ask friends for recommendations, learn about specialized programs, tour several facilities and then make a choice based on your needs. The benefits of in-patient rehabilitation include providing a safe environment where patients receive help with their daily needs, such as bathing, dressing, and dining. In addition, post-acute care patients should receive physical, speech and occupation therapies, as needed, seven days a week, overseen by a rehabilitation medicine physician, registered nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, therapeutic recreation staff and other team members.”
Rehabilitation should continue following discharge, says Terri. “Patients are prepared for discharge with a home preparation program so that they and their families are well-equipped to handle the patient’s care and ongoing recovery.”
Specialized Rehabilitation for Brain Injury
Sometimes a highly-specialized inpatient rehabilitation program is required. Dr. Anatoly M. Rozman, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist notes that as powerful as the brain is when in good health, its resilience in revitalizing after injury is also remarkable.
“With time and an aggressive rehabilitation program, brain function can rebound,” says Dr. Rozman. “Although full recovery may not always be possible, early rehabilitation therapy is critical for repair and the full potential for recovery.”
“Most brain injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents, falls, a battlefield injury, violence, and sports injuries where severe or ongoing concussion occurs, such as in boxing or football,” says Dr. Rozman. “Non-traumatic brain injuries may result from aneurysm, stroke, lack of oxygen (hypoxia), tumors, illnesses such as cancer, and brain infections or acute inflammation caused by conditions such as influenza (the common flu) and encephalitis, such as with West Nile disease.”
“Brain injury affects the entire body,” says Dr. Rozman, “and so a comprehensive rehabilitation program is required. Medical care is the first step in treatment to stabilize and promote the brain’s healing. For long-term treatment planning, rehabilitation plays an important role,” says Dr. Rozman.
“A specially-trained, multi-disciplinary team focuses on each patient to restore the best possible level of physical, cognitive and behavioral function,” says Dr. Rozman. “The focus is on improving the patient’s condition to enable a return to home, school or work, training and adaptation for long-term limitations, and home-based services as needed.”
“The goal is always to promote healing and maximize function and independence,” concludes Dr. Rozman.