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more articles by Morpurgo, Andrew , MD  |  author's bio

Getting Your Life Back

Getting 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 alone.

 

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. 

 

How 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 regain confidence.

 

What 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 recovery process.

 

What 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 therapist.

 

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 bureaucracy.

 

How 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 rehabilitation.

  

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 centers 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 (607) 274-4555.

 

 

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