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Acute rehabilitation: Hard work pays off

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Coordination. Endurance. Personal goals.

Words like these usually are associated with athletes. But, on Northwest Community Healthcare’s (NCH) acute rehabilitation unit, patients show grit and determination that could put some athletes to shame.

While each patient’s plan of care is customized, the common goal is to help regain independence and return to daily activities as quickly and safely as possible. Some patients may focus on improving their balance and ability to ‘transfer’ from one surface to another (for example, getting in and out of a chair). Others may learn to adapt to an artificial limb, or based on a neurologic disorder, others may undergo retraining to improve memory and judgment.

Whether patients are recovering from stroke, brain injury, cardiac disorders, orthopedic conditions or other issues, building function and endurance is at the top of the NCH care team’s list. The doctors, nurses and therapists on the unit are specially trained in rehabilitative and physical medicine – and they work closely with patients and their families to bring about the desired results.

“It is hard to describe how rewarding it is to see patients continue their daily therapies and overcome physical pain or limitations to regain their independence,” says Vijay Rajaram, M.D., medical director of the NCH Rehabilitation Care Unit.

Three hours of intense therapy, five days a week, isn’t easy. It can be challenging, and in some cases, frustrating. But the hard work pays off. It may not result in a gold medal or any product endorsements. However, for those faced with an uncertain future, getting back to a homelike environment is certainly a prize worth pursuing.

“Every day, I help patients start their journey toward rehabilitation,” says Dr. Rajaram. “And, it is their commitment and resilience that keeps them improving.”

By the numbers

  • 81 percent of inpatient rehab patients return to their home environment.
  • 76 percent of inpatient rehab patients are walking independently using a device when they are discharged.
  • Patients discharged from an inpatient rehab unit have a far lower rate of being readmitted to a hospital (9.4 percent) than those discharged from a nursing home (22 percent).

Source: American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association

Read more about NCH’s inpatient rehabilitation unit, and take a virtual tour of the unit.

Physicians
  • Vijay Rajaram

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