Medical Rehabilitation Speeds Healing
By Bernice Miller, RN
You have suffered a life-changing event - a car
accident, a stroke, or perhaps a fractured hip. You are ready to leave the
acute-care setting of the hospital but you aren't able to go home yet. How you
spend this stage of your recovery can make a significant difference in the
healing process and your ultimate outcome.
People who have experienced a loss of function, either temporary (from surgery
or an injury that will heal) or permanent (from a stroke or progressive
neurological disease) can make considerable gains in a care setting called inpatient medical rehabilitation.
Where is inpatient medical rehabilitation available locally?
Inpatient medical rehabilitation occurs in a hospital setting and is available
at Cayuga Medical Center in a special unit that accommodates up to fifteen
adult patients. This unit has a multidisciplinary staff consisting of
physiatrists (doctors who specialize in physical medicine), physical and
occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, dietitians, activity
therapists, and registered nurses and aides who are trained in rehabilitation.
If you are a patient at Cayuga Medical Center, you or a family member can ask
for a rehabilitation evaluation, for transfer to the physical medical
rehabilitation unit following your acute-care hospitalization. To be admitted a
patient must show potential for improvement and be able to participate in a
Can I be transferred from an out-of-town hospital to Ithaca for medical
Yes, if you are hospitalized out of town, you can request to be transferred
back home for inpatient medical rehabilitation. It happens all the time and, in
fact, doctors encourage patients who are recovering from life-altering events
to be as close to home as possible. Close proximity makes it easier for family
and friends to actively participate in the recovery process and provide
emotional support. Just call the medical rehabilitation unit at (607) 274-4555
for transfer information.
Specifically what types of patients benefit from inpatient
The most common conditions we treat on the medical rehabilitation unit include
multiple injuries from accidents, stroke, surgery following hip fractures, and
neurologic diseases, such as Parkinson's or muscular sclerosis (MS). We help
patients who need assistance getting back into the activities of daily living,
such as walking, bathing, dressing, and eating. When people have suffered brain
injury from stroke or trauma, we help them regain speech and language skills
and give them tools to help reorder their thinking processes.
What are the goals of inpatient medical rehabilitation?
This unit was created so patients could increase and progress their activities
under the guidance of specialized therapists and physicians. These physicians
monitor both the healing process and the impact of increasing mobility on each
patient's underlying illness or injury.
The overarching goal for patients in this care setting is to become as
independent as possible, within the parameters of each patient's level of
function. Individual patient goals are based on what that person wants or needs
to accomplish in order to get back home and return to community living. Your rehabilitation
plan will be tailored and specific to your needs and desires.
Just how does a patient go about reaching personal goals?
Once we establish goals, we assess your current status and put a plan into
place to reach those goals, small steps at a time. We may begin by simulating
your normal daily routine. Then we initiate the kind of therapy that will get
you to the point where you can get up out of bed, bathe, dress, and eat. In the
case of someone who has suffered a stroke, therapy may involve something as
basic as relearning how to swallow or pick up a spoon.
Inpatient medical rehabilitation is all about improving quality of life. The
rehabilitation specialists at Cayuga Medical Center help people put the pieces
of their lives back together following a serious medical interruption. In this
setting, our patients lead the way by identifying their goals and we help them
achieve those goals. Our special strengths lie in our rehabilitation
experience, and in our compassion for our patients and a true understanding of
what they are going through.
Bernice Miller is a registered nurse with eleven years of experience in
inpatient physical medical rehabilitation. She is director of Medical
Rehabilitation Services at Cayuga Medical Center.