Every day, in every part of America, there are individuals facing similar challenges transferring from medically supervised rehabilitation care in a skilled nursing facility back to their “normal” routine at home.
Doctors suggest walking, swimming, low-impact exercise, and even returning to the gym, to regain strength and balance. However, doctors are not trained in exercise physiology and cannot offer the practical advice needed for each individual’s recovery. For this reason, they prefer to send their patients to a supervised rehab facility. Too often, if there is no means of structured support to continue their recovery through exercise once rehab is over, people settle back into a more sedentary lifestyle, resulting in a less than optimal recovery.
Sarah Ross, Physical Therapist, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA, a certified expert on exercise for aging adults, works with many of our patients in the Smith Care Center (SCC) during supervised rehabilitation. Sarah says the ideal outcome is for every individual to safely mainstream into an exercise program suited to their body and condition. “Ongoing exercise provides the maintenance program for a happier, more active lifestyle which everyone deserves,” she adds.
“At Plymouth Harbor, our goal is to provide a continuum of care and communication to help residents safely transfer from supervised rehabilitation to ongoing use of the exercise equipment in our Wellness Center,” says Chris Valuck, M.S., ASCM-CES, CWWS Certified, Director of Wellness.
The Wellness Program at Plymouth Harbor, led by Chris Valuck, communicates routinely with SCC Rehab Services, led by Clinical Manager Gina Kanyha. When a resident in rehab expresses an interest in actively pursuing their recovery by using the facilities in the Wellness Center, a connection is made with Chris Valuck to confer on individual rehab needs and requirements.
While the Wellness Center staff do not provide one-on-one physical training, they are on hand to monitor and attend to resident needs in the strength-training area. They have found the communication with SCC Rehab Services goes both ways. “It is not uncommon for a resident to share their concern about an observed pain or decreased mobility,” shares Chris. “I can then refer them to Sarah or the other physical therapists in the Smith Care Center where they can receive out-patient rehab services.”
“I like to bring patients over to the Wellness Center before we release them so that I can encourage their use of the Wellness Center and provide an initial orientation to the equipment best suited to their rehab and medical issues,” says Sarah.
One resident shared, “In rehab, I liked the security of knowing that someone (a physical therapist) was there to push me to do things that I didn’t realize I was even capable of doing. Things (exercises) I would not have dreamed of trying.” She went on to say that she was encouraged and challenged throughout the process and considered it a great opportunity to learn and continue her exercise program in the Wellness Center once her physical therapy ended. Her ‘transition’ experience from Rehab Services to the Wellness Center? “It all just fits together!” she exclaimed.
That’s what it is all about: one smooth transition of care with the goal of optimal health for all residents.