People recovering from fractures, joint replacement, accident trauma, cardiac conditions, surgical procedures, stroke, or the consequences of neuromuscular problems such as Parkinson’s disease, will often require a period of rehabilitation to regain optimum functional ability and independence. During a rehabilitation stay, patients may receive physical, occupational, speech and/or respiratory therapy, gait and balance training, adaptive training, as well as specialized care for complex conditions. This specialized care may include wound care, pain management, IV therapy and even dialysis.

Regardless of the age or overall health of the individual, the overriding goal of rehabilitation is to help each person regain the highest levels of form, function and independence that he or she is capable of achieving.

A specialized healing environment

If your doctor recommends rehabilitation after hospitalization, there are several settings where you can receive inpatient care. The great majority of post-hospital patients rehab in specially designed wings or units of skilled nursing facilities. Nursing facilities are ideal sites, since they already have the capabilities, staff and expertise needed to handle a wide range of health care needs. It is important to keep in mind, however, that post-hospital patients are not nursing home residents. Although they may be housed within the same building, short-term rehabilitation patients receive a specialized level of care in a dedicated setting. Short-term rehabilitation may also be provided through home care, and in freestanding facilities and specialty units within certain hospitals.

There is no “standard” length of stay

The length of stay in the rehabilitation facility will vary from patient to patient, according to specific needs. For example, after a routine orthopedic procedure, inpatient rehab will typically last from five to seven days. More complex cases may require two or three weeks of therapy. Once your doctor determines that you are well enough to be discharged, rehabilitation may continue on an outpatient basis.

An interdisciplinary approach to care

Rehabilitation programs are designed under your doctor’s supervision, according to individual capabilities and specific needs and goals. Since injuries, surgery and other medical conditions may affect many parts of the body and several functional abilities, a “typical” program may include a number of distinct services. This interdisciplinary approach may involve physical and occupational therapy, pain management, IV therapy and wound care, among others. In addition, optimum long-term recovery and re-entry into the community often requires the support of healthcare professionals in the areas of nutrition, nursing and social work.

Individualized care and programming

When it comes to effective rehabilitation, one size definitely does not fit all. At our facilities, for example, programs are designed around each patient’s specific needs and goals. Each person’s capabilities and limitations are carefully evaluated and used to establish realistic objectives and effective care plans. Therapies are age-appropriate and may take your occupation, lifestyle and even your favorite sport or activities into consideration.

Ensuring a smooth transition back home

Prior to discharge, your therapists will likely provide you with a plan of exercises and guidelines for safely performing your daily routines. If needed, social workers will arrange for wheelchair assistance, nutritionists may counsel you on dietary issues or nurses may educate you on wound care or medication management. All of this important planning and preparation is designed to ensure that you will be equipped to complete your recovery and enjoy the best quality of life possible.

Choosing a rehab or sub-acute care facility

If your doctor recommends a period of post-hospital rehabilitation, carefully consider your options. Make sure the facility you choose matches your specific needs and that your doctors are able to oversee your treatment there. You’ll also want to determine the types of insurance they accept.