After a major health event such as a stroke, hip fracture, or joint replacement surgery, many of us would prefer to recover in the comfort of our own home. But that’s not always possible. Transitional care at a short term rehabilitation facility is the best bet, especially for those who need to build up their strength before resuming routine activity. Whether your hospital stay was unexpected, or occurred after a long-planned hip replacement, the decision of where to go for rehab can seem overwhelming. So, how to choose?
We will share with you some great tips for selecting a short term rehabilitation center that get you back to your life as quickly as possible, thanks to great advice from Helen Dallaris, director of rehabilitation at United Hebrew of New Rochelle, and Lindsey Gallagher, a physical therapist and team leader of the rehabilitation unit.
5 Tips for selecting a Rehabilitation Facility
- Check that there’s an expert team that can plan a high-level of care for you.
Why traipse all over Westchester County to an array of medical appointments, when you can get all of your care in one place? Dallaris recommends looking for a facility that includes a specialized team that can work with your doctors to provide high quality care that meets individual recovery goals. At United Hebrew, each patient is assessed by an expert interdisciplinary team including nurses, a doctor, a social worker, a recreational therapist, an occupational therapist and a dietician, all overseen by a board-certified medical physician. “Upon being admitted, our Burke Rehabilitation therapists assess each patient’s range of motion, strength, gait and ability to walk up and down stairs,” Dallaris explains. “Then, working together, our team tailors a customized plan specific to individual needs and abilities, including how many hours per day we recommend for therapy.”
- Know that the more time you devote to rehab, the sooner you’ll regain your independence.
Yes, it takes some work on your part but among the benefits of inpatient rehab is your ability to focus solely on your rehabilitation and recovery without interruption and the distractions of home. At United Hebrew, rehab patients have access to therapists, as well as therapeutic equipment and facilities, daily, rather than two or three times a week, which is typical during outpatient or home-based therapy. “Our therapists get patients up and walking every day, and performing exercises that will help individuals regain strength, mobility, and confidence in performing everyday tasks,” says Dallaris.
- Check to see that the rehab facility has a variety of therapeutic equipment and approaches.
Gallagher recommends choosing a facility with an array of equipment for patients to use in their recovery. “We use all of the latest equipment, including treadmills, a Lite Gait mobility trainer, a NuStep machine, recumbent bike, and much more,” she says. “What’s more, before sending patients home, we ensure they can safely care for themselves.” She said at the inpatient rehab center, they work on specific skills such as being able to transfer to a toilet seat, get dressed, get in and out of a shower, and cook a meal. “Plus, we have one of the lowest staff turnover rates in New York State, so we provide a consistency of care throughout a patient’s stay. You come to us needing assistance, and you leave independent.”
- Find out if the facility provides a continuum of care.
Skilled medical professionals recognize there is no one-size-fits-all approach to rehab, says Gallagher. A high-quality rehab facility will be able to care for patients in a wide range of health situations, from those who will benefit from aggressive physical therapy, to those for whom returning home to independent living may not be a realistic goal. “At United Hebrew, we handle everything from routine post-operative recovery and wound care to medically-complex disorders. We can help arrange follow up home care after a patient returns home, or help with a transition to assisted living or skilled nursing, all on our campus of comprehensive care,” she says.
- Look for the extras that will make your stay comfortable.
Before making your decision and if you are able, take time to visit one or more rehab facilities. Ask to see the patient rooms and common living spaces so you can evaluate the level of comfort and privacy residents have, and weigh that against your personal preferences. “Some individuals may not want to share a room during their recovery, while others may enjoy the companionship,” says Dallaris. United Hebrew offers private rooms, a 24-hour kitchen, housekeeping, and laundry services. “What’s more, we have a beautiful outdoor courtyard and a variety of entertaining programs open to our rehab patients. Plus, our therapy suite overlooks New Rochelle Harbor and Long Island Sound. The sweeping views there are enough to help lift anyone’s spirits as they recover!”
Helen Dallaris, who oversees 20 Burke therapists at United Hebrew, is a trained occupational therapist with more than 25 years of experience in adult and geriatric rehabilitation . Gallagher earned her doctorate in physical therapy from CUNY Graduate Center, Hunter College in 2010. She began working for Burke Rehabilitation Hospital that year and moved to United Hebrew in 2011.