Recovering from a life-changing trauma or illness requires a holistic approach. An inpatient acute rehabilitation program is designed to get you back to your active life. Diane Salgado PT, Therapy Manager at CHA HPMC, shares insights into the comprehensive care provided by our facility.

Can you provide an overview of what acute rehab services entail in a hospital setting?
Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU) utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to providing therapy services: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or speech therapy. It’s an intensive daily rehabilitation program. The focus is on the goal of patients returning home.

What types of patients typically benefit the most from acute rehab services?
There are various patients that would benefit from ARU, including stroke, head injury, amputation, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and post-COVID patients in recovery, to name a few. Most importantly, patients need to be able to tolerate three hours of therapy.

How do acute rehab services differ from other forms of rehabilitation, such as outpatient or home-based therapy?
In outpatient therapy, patients come to the therapist usually 2 to 3 times a week. Patients can leave their house safely and often have other activities. In home health, patients are homebound and cannot safely leave their home. They are typically doing well enough not to require hospitalization. ARU is for patients to receive intensive rehab to maximize independence to facilitate their transition home.

What role does a physical therapist play in the acute rehab team, and how do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals?
ARU is entirely collaborative. Team members communicate daily and hold formal weekly meetings to discuss patients collectively. If a team member needs to speak to another, accessibility is never an issue.

Could you share some specific success stories or examples where the acute rehab unit led to significant improvements in patients’ functional abilities?
We had a patient on an electric scooter who had an accident resulting in multiple injuries. She was very active prior to her accident. Her primary goal was to return to running. She left our unit walking independently and soon informed us she was running marathons again. She was extremely appreciative of the care she received at CHA HPMC.

Can you highlight key features or specialized programs distinguishing CHA HPMC’s acute rehab unit team from those of other hospitals?
We provide therapy 7days a week, including holidays, offer one-on-one treatments, have a fully functional kitchen, and utilize a partial body weight supported system called “Lite Gait.” Lite Gait supports patients in an overhead frame while therapists adjust the level of support for stepping or standing. It’s used as a pre-gait/gait device.

For patients considering or about to start acute rehab, what advice would you give them to make the most out of their rehabilitation journey?
Identify who will assist you at home upon discharge. Often, therapists provide caregiver training before patients go home. Bring clothes for practicing dressing with your Occupational Therapist and comfortable shoes for gait training with your Physical Therapist.
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