Post-Surgical Rehab Meets Rural Neighborhood Care
Post-Surgical Rehab Meets Rural Neighborhood CareL
et’s face it…the older we get, the more likely we are to require surgery. And as surgical procedures become more complicated, so does the healing process that follows. Although rural hospitals may not offer the more complex surgical services of an urban facility, many of them do offer post-surgical rehabilitation in an extended care or swing bed unit. Families are often unaware that their loved ones can go through this often lengthy rehabilitation period close to home, rather than in the large, urban rehabilitation centers that may be 60 or more miles away.
Although the types of surgeries requiring inpatient rehabilitation vary, hip and knee replacement surgeries are the two most common; many traumatic injuries, such as hip fractures and tibia-fibula fractures also require inpatient rehabilitation. Occasionally, people need inpatient rehab after more traditional surgeries, especially if they are debilitated going in (elderly person, someone living alone, someone with a bowel obstruction). Sometimes people are just not able to go home without a week or two of strengthening following surgery.
People who have suffered a stroke also need rehabilitation prior to returning home. In fact, many patients with other medical problems (i.e. pneumonia, etc) may not be strong enough to return home following the initial hospitalization, so they can go into a swing bed for more short-term strengthening instead of into a traditional nursing home facility.
Depending on the type of surgery or medical illness, in-patient rehabilitation can be a few days or a few weeks. A rural hospital is often better able to coordinate care and see to the patient’s individual needs better than a big city facility. There are very few instances where patients would actually be better off in a larger facility away from home (maybe for recovery involving spinal cord injuries or large burns). Other than that, rural facilities like Newport Hospital and Health Services (Newport, WA) have everything that St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center or urban nursing homes in Spokane can offer.
The personal benefits to patients who choose to heal close to home start with consistent physician presence (either their own doctor for pre-established patients or the same doctor for their entire stay). This makes family visits much easier and allows patients to work with the same therapist inpatient as they will for future outpatient therapy.
The most common types of therapy needed following surgeries are physical therapy and occupational therapy. However, stroke patients or those patients with a feeding tube often require speech therapy. Additional routine services include working with a dietician and a social worker.
Patients who are scheduling surgeries should talk to their doctor about rehabilitation close to home rather than blindly following big hospital referral protocol. It will ease the transition and emotional toil that post-surgical rehabilitation can cause on the entire family.