Your Life Back
By Andrew Morpurgo, MD
People who are hospitalized for a
stroke or traumatic injury, or who have undergone serious surgery, often wonder
how they will recover and get their lives back to normal. Returning home from
the hospital after a significant illness or injury can be particularly daunting
for seniors, for people with multiple medical problems, and for those who live
Cayuga Medical Center has a very experienced
multidisciplinary team of caregivers who specialize in helping people gain the
strength and skills to return home. This team works in the Physical Medicine
Rehabilitation Unit (PMRU), under the direction of a board-certified
physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation).
Cayuga Medical Center’s PMRU is ranked nationally in the 99th
percentile for its quality of care.
is a patient admitted to PMRU?
Following an assessment by the
physiatrist, patients requiring medical rehabilitation are transferred directly
from their hospital inpatient unit to the PMRU. To be admitted a patient must
have the stamina necessary to participate in three hours per day of active
therapy. Patients work hard during their stay in PMRU to recover abilities and
if a patient is hospitalized elsewhere?
If you are hospitalized out of town for
an acute illness or injury and wish to undergo medical rehabilitation in
Ithaca, you can call (607) 274-4555 and request to be transferred to Cayuga
Medical Center. It happens regularly and is not difficult to facilitate. We
advise patients to undergo inpatient rehabilitation near where they live
because the encouragement and involvement of family and friends can speed the
kind of therapy is provided in the PMRU?
Rehabilitation in PMRU is a team effort
and is very specific to each individual, based on the needs of the patient. People who must regain strength, balance, and mobility will
work closely with a physical therapist. If your injuries have made it difficult
for you to engage in the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing
yourself, going to the bathroom, or eating, you will work with an occupational
Speech therapy is available for people
with neurological conditions who are having trouble using language or who are
experiencing difficulty swallowing, which often happens following a stroke.
Specially trained registered nurses focus on aspects of care that are unique to
rehabilitation patients, with an emphasis on preventing medical problems
related to immobility, skin condition, and bowel and bladder function. Hospital
aides are vital in assisting with nursing issues and in preparing patients for
therapy sessions. Social workers counsel patients and family members, to help
them adapt to their new situation and to assist in managing medical system
is the effectiveness of care measured?
All inpatient rehabilitation units must submit
data on every patient to a national organization that monitors how patients
function at the time of admission and the time of discharge. This database also
takes into consideration the impact of co-morbidities, which are medical
conditions a patient may have that are unrelated to their admission for
Cayuga Medical Center’s PMRU is evaluated
along with 800 other facilities that are included in this national database.
These inpatient facilities include a wide range of hospitals, from larger medical
to smaller community hospitals across the country.
Last year Cayuga Medical Center’s PMRU scored in the top three percent
and this year the rating moved into the top one percent nationwide.
Dr. Morpurgo is board
certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He has been the medical
director of the PMRU at Cayuga Medical Center since 1996 and can be reached at