After a severe injury or illness, your doctor may recommend inpatient rehabilitation. This type of hospital rehabilitation is for physical or cognitive limitations that require intensive rehabilitation and continued medical care. During your recovery, your doctors and specialized therapists will coordinate treatment plans to help you meet your goals.
Must meet specific conditions to qualify for inpatient rehabilitation
Adults and children benefit from specialized rehabilitation, but not everyone qualifies. Complex injuries and conditions that qualify include stroke, spinal cord or brain injury, multiple trauma, amputation or other complex orthopedic injuries.
The inpatient rehabilitation interdisciplinary team helps patients with medical conditions that limit function and independence. “Our team of experts work very closely with the patient and family,” said Shana Bohman, rehabilitation services manager with Marshfield Clinic Health System. “They address medical needs of the patient, but also the physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs of the patient and family and caregivers.”
These complex conditions or injuries require an elevated level of specialized care above what home care, or a skilled nursing facility can provide. On the other hand, skilled nursing facilities serve as a transition between hospital care and returning home. While skilled nursing offers medical support, an attending physician only sees patients once every 30 days.
Inpatient rehabilitation benefits
During your journey to recovery, you will work with an integrated team of highly trained specialists. This team includes your doctor, physiatrists, specialized hospital rehabilitation nurses and physical, occupational or speech therapists.
Physiatrists, or physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, manage your medical issues. They ensure you are stable and healthy enough to participate in therapy and assess and prescribe the therapies. Patients have acute physical, occupational or speech therapy five to six days a week at least three hours a day. Rehabilitation nurses work with each patient on a 24-hour basis to ensure consistency and meet goals.
“Research shows that the brain compensates for damaged areas by implementing regenerative strategies,” Bohman said. “Repetition is one strategy that builds neuroplasticity, creating new synapses and neural connections. Under the right circumstances, the brain can create new neurons through frequent therapy and repetition.”
The intensity of therapy provided in the inpatient rehabilitation setting provides daily opportunities for frequent repetition of skills to promote neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. “This is a key difference compared to other outpatient therapy programs,” Bohman said. “In those settings therapy happens one to two hours per session, only two to three times a week.”
You also have access to social workers and psychologists as needed. They work together to build a treatment plan to help you meet your needs and regain strength and mobility to get you back home.
Specialized environments and technology
Another benefit of an inpatient rehabilitation facility is being able to practice and gain strength using realistic environments all staged at the rehab unit. At Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield, you can practice getting in or out of a car to rebuild that muscle memory.
There are also home, community and workplace spaces. With these specialized areas, during acute physical therapy you build your mobility, relearn self-care or cognitive skills. This takes place in a safe environment under the supervision of your care team.
Hospital rehabilitation centers use specialized technology to target needs during patient recovery. Your therapist or physiatrist builds personalized therapy plans to challenge and monitor your physical and cognitive needs and abilities. With these customized therapy programs, the patient works through activities or games that challenge your skills.
“We can combine visual, cognitive, motor and balance training into one session. This provides the patient and therapist with the most efficient technology to date,” said Peyton Hegner, occupational therapist with Marshfield Clinic Health System.
Quality standards for hospital rehabilitation
The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) regularly reviews programs to ensure they meet the highest quality standards. Marshfield Medical Center has three programs that are CARF-accredited, inpatient rehabilitation for adults, children and adolescents, and the stroke specialty program.