What can a patient expect at a stroke rehabilitation hospital?
“When will they walk again?” “How long will recovery take?” These are two of the most common questions after a person suffers a stroke and begins the recovery process at a stroke rehabilitation hospital.
There Is Help For You
These inpatient rehabilitation facilities are for patients who need close medical supervision and are able to participate in at least 3 hours of therapy 5 days a week. They do not need institutional care and receive hospital-level care supervised by a doctor; physical, occupational and speech therapy; and specialized nursing, social services and other care.
What else can a patient expect at a stroke rehabilitation hospital during a stay?
- A detailed assessment of medical and rehabilitation needs after being introduced to hospital staff and shown to a room
- Working toward moving around independently with daily activities
- Daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Daily therapy that is essential to progressing toward goals
- Visits by a rehabilitation physician and nurses specializing in rehabilitation care
- A discharge plan, which includes a case manager, rehabilitation care team and necessary equipment post-discharge
- Discharge day that includes instructions and medication prescriptions
HealthSouth is the nation’s largest health-care provider specializing in inpatient rehabilitation, and, as a leader in the industry, patients can see the difference in the patient rooms, therapy facilities, rehabilitation teams and encouraging and supportive environment.
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Henderson
(10301 Jeffreys Ave.)
Here’s what can be found at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospitals:
- Advanced technologies
- Around-the-clock registered nurses
- Experienced rehabilitation nurses (Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurses and Wound Care Certified)
- Frequent physicians’ visits
- Physical, occupational and speech therapists
- A pristine environment
- Weekly team meetings with a physician
“It’s best to look for a facility with a lot of therapists so that there are a lot of ideas about how to treat a patient,” says Sandy McGinnis, an occupational therapist who has worked at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Henderson for 8 years. “A big thing we do here at HealthSouth is we try to get people out of the wheelchair and back into regular chairs and mats so that they’re using their muscles.”
“When a stroke occurs, it’s not just the stroke side that is affected — it’s the entire body. We try to find and treat any deficit so that patients can return to living independently, whether it’s driving a car, going to the grocery store, cooking, quilting, whatever it may be.”
People who have experienced the following could be a candidate for a rehabilitation hospital:
- Brain injury
- Compression fractures
- Guillian-Barre Syndrome
- Hip fractures
- Muscle weakness
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Pelvic fractures
- Pulmonary disorders
- Spinal-cord injury
- Systemic lupus
- Weakness/myopathy due to prolonged dialysis, hospitalization and/or chemotherapy
“You want to make certain that the facility is clean and the staff members are friendly, that it has the equipment necessary to care for your loved one,” McGinnis continued. “The biggest fear when families come in is that the loved one is not going to get better, and what are they going to do then. I tell them that it’s a process. As long as you continue to work on it, it will improve.”
McGinnis says that rehabilitation at HealthSouth is typically 14 days of acute therapy, which is 3 hours each day 5 days a week. “It’s pretty intensive. We’re getting them out of bed, we’re getting them to therapy, and we’re getting them to do the things that they did before the stroke. It can be tough to be a cheerleader, but the best is when they make gains and return to an independent lifestyle.”
Lori Wright is a stroke survivor and volunteer in HealthSouth’s peer visitor program Sharegivers. Wright talked about being a sharegiver:
Lori, you have a unique perspective as a stroke survivor who now volunteers as a sharegiver, and you’ve been volunteering for 13 years. Do you remember the experience of going through the stroke?
Oh, yeah. It’s something you never forget. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do anything again. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t walk, but I could still talk. I couldn’t use one side of my body, and I still can’t really, but my therapist said to use what body parts you still can move for things like opening a bottle of water. Use whatever you can — and do it.
Being a survivor yourself and now a sharegiver, what advice would you give someone caring for a stroke patient — what is most helpful?
Always telling me to never give up and having a positive attitude. If you go in with a negative attitude, then things just don’t work. If you give yourself the attitude, “I can do this — I’m going to do this,” you will get it done somehow and in some way. It’s trial and error. You keep trying until you just do it.
From now on, a stroke is for life. It’s not a couple months or a couple of years. You’re in rehab from now until the day you pass, so you can always get better from Day 1 to whenever.
Was there a turning point for you when you thought that you would get better?
When I started walking after a couple of months. I was lucky because I ran a lot before I had my stroke. My legs are strong. My husband and I did stadiums every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at our junior college, 45 minutes each time of running stairs. It’s a burn! I tell people to keep pushing themselves. When they’ve gone from point A to point B, it’s time to go from point C to point D.
When did you decide to become a sharegiver?
After moving here from California. The director said to me, “You like to talk — you’ll be good at this!” My only problem is when I see someone cry, ooh, I cry. It’s tough to walk into a room and see a patient cry and try not to cry, too. I still have a tough time with it.
What is the best part of being a sharegiver?
Seeing their faces light up and say, “I can do this because she did this.” I’m one of those been-there, done-that survivors. I tell them that it’s not easy. I’m not going to candy coat it. This is going to be rough. You can do it, but you have to put your mind to it.
Rehabilitation hospitals vs. nursing homes
A common misconception is that rehabilitation hospitals and nursing homes are one and the same, but they are not at all. Nursing homes with “rehab” in the name only add to the confusion, but there are at least six characteristics that set apart rehabilitation hospitals from nursing homes:
- Unlike nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals require frequent visits by an attending physician
- Unlike nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals require a multidisciplinary team approach
- Rehabilitation hospitals require RN oversight and availability 24 hours a day; in nursing hours, it’s at least 8 consecutive hours a day
- Rehabilitation hospitals require 5 to 7½ nursing hours per patient per day; in nursing homes, it’s 2½ to 4 hours
- Unlike nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals require specialty nursing training and rehabilitation expertise
- Rehabilitation hospitals require a physical, occupational and/or speech therapy level of service a minimum of 3 hours a day 5 fives a week; nursing homes have no minimum
“The level of care is different. We’re a hospital, and they’re a nursing home,” says Tommy Davis, RN, CMM and HealthSouth’s Area Director of Marketing, who noted that HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Henderson has the largest number of therapists and gym in the state. “We get them into a hospital and show patients the level of activity. Patients are up and moving around — there is rehab going on. They can see the difference.
“We’re all about the patients, and the outcomes speak for themselves — the smiling faces of patients and their families. The positive attitude and atmosphere make it worthwhile to be here,” says Davis.
“You see the progress all the time,” concludes McGinnis. “Patients return and say, ‘Hey, I’m walking now. I’m doing so much better. Thank you for your help.’ It’s a great environment, and we really work together to make it the best experience possible for the patients.”
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospitals are a higher level of care — they insist on a pristine environment, monitor outcomes and offer an intensive approach to rehabilitation supervised by frequent physician visits — and it is these approaches that allow HealthSouth to achieve successful and superior outcomes.