What to expect during your inpatient rehabilitation stay

Family Health
May 17, 2023

Longtime St. Joseph’s/Candler physical therapist and occupational therapist share what to bring, what you’ll do on our inpatient rehab units

There may come a time when an illness, surgery or injury requires treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation unit. We want you to know you have a choice regarding your rehab and that decision can impact the rest of your life.

At St. Joseph’s/Candler, we have Acute Rehabilitation Units (ARU) at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Candler Hospital. Patients choose our inpatient rehab for our faith-based, holistic approach to healing while providing the most advanced, comprehensive treatments.

Additionally, both our ARUs are accredited by the highest level awarded by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). This certification demonstrates the Acute Rehab Unit’s commitment to continually improving service and outcomes for patients who have experienced serious illness or accident.

Related Article: VIDEO: St. Joseph’s Hospital inpatient rehab patient learns to walk again

So when you choose inpatient rehab at either St. Joseph’s Hospital or Candler Hospital what can you expect?

“Our ultimate goal is home and getting that patient as mobile and independent as possible,” says Amy Long, physical and occupational therapy manager and physical therapist at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “We’d love for everyone to get back to their prior level of function. Sometimes that’s achievable; sometimes it’s not, but the goal is to get them as close as we can back to meaningful activities and being as independent as possible so they can feel their quality of life is where they would like it to be.”

That happens with physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy – all of which are available on our ARUs.

Physical therapy helps you regain strength, balance and coordination to restore mobility.

Occupational therapy helps you regain the physical and cognitive skills required to perform daily activities such as bathing, getting dressed, cooking a meal and doing laundry.

Speech therapy helps you regain speaking, swallowing and cognitive abilities.

Related Article: What is speech therapy?

While a patient on our ARUs, you’ll have a minimum of three hours of combined therapy a day, for five or six days a week. Your stay starts with an evaluation to assess your deficits and develop a plan of care, Long says. That may determine if you need more time in one discipline than another.

“Some patients may need more occupational therapy than others, but everybody gets dressed. Everybody goes to the bathroom,” says St. Joseph’s Hospital Occupational Therapist Heather Douglas. “At the end of the day, we all need both to be able to live our lives – to get to where we want to go, which is physical therapy, and then be able to do what we want to do when we get there, which is occupational therapy.”

What to bring

We want you to feel at home while on our unit and welcome bringing personal items to participate in therapies and daily care including:

  • Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing such as pants, shirts, socks, underwear, etc.
  • Sturdy and comfortable shoes with non-skid bottoms
  • Sweater or jacket (with zippers or buttons as this is helpful to work on dressing goals)
  • Personal care items and cosmetics
  • Eyeglasses or contact lens and supplies
  • Sleepwear and robe
  • Hearing aids in labeled container with your name
  • Dentures in labeled container with your name
  • Assistive or adaptive equipment that you may have used at home. This will help staff members get a better idea of your prior level of function.

We do discourage bringing any valuables.

But we do encourage a positive attitude.

“I’m a big believer that laughter and humor do a lot for the soul, the mental side of things,” Long says. “Just to have that mental attitude, that positivity in your life goes a long way. The healing process is a mental process also, not just the physical.”

“That’s why we try to have fun and joke around and talk with our patients,” Douglas adds. “We try to have a good interaction with our patients because nobody is here because something good happened. We try to make it a good, fun environment. I find most of our patients enjoy coming to rehab. They talk to each other and watch each other’s progress. You’ll see them cheering each other on.”

Related Article: Inpatient rehab helps mother of two walk sooner, get home quicker

More about our team

As mentioned, our goal is to prepare you for discharge to a home setting as independent as possible. Our home-like setting allows you to perform daily care with the guidance of a team of experts that includes rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, rehabilitation nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and pastoral care.

“We definitely come together to discuss our patients’ care, including nursing and dietary, for example,” Long says. “We do an interdisciplinary plan of care. As a team, we work together, but we also tailor to what each individual patient’s needs are.”

Learn more about our inpatient rehab here.

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