After your hospital stay, you might need additional time to recover. Rehabilitation centers are designed to provide a safe environment for recovering patients. They offer an array of services that ensure each patient's needs are met, so that they can heal both physically and mentally.
Depending on the performed surgery type and how well it went, doctors may recommend rehab services at a facility or an outpatient center if they feel comfortable sending you home after discharge from the hospital.
Some patients who are cleared to be fully discharged will take advantage of therapy sessions in their own living spaces. In contrast, others require more intense care, such as physical rehabilitation in long-term treatment centers, before heading home.
What Is Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is a process that can reverse many disabling conditions or help patients cope with issues due to mental or physical ailments. It involves restoring the patient's physical functions and modifying their environment to suit those needs.
Various types of rehabilitation address different aspects, such as psychological or environmental factors; however, most focus on essential things like cognitive functioning and/or communication skills in order for the individual to have more independence after treatment has been completed.
A proper rehabilitation program will address a person's functional limitations such as competence, independence, and self-esteem enhancement, as they are essential components of quality life experiences, irrespective of impairment or disability.
Rehabilitation will also address both the psychological needs and environmental factors, such as how people with disabilities interact in public spaces and identify areas they will need help from other individuals.
Who Can Benefit from Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is for people who have lost the abilities that they need to live their lives. Some of the most common causes include:
- Injuries and trauma, including burns, fractures (broken bones), traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injuries
- Severe infections
- Major surgery
- Side effects from medical treatments, such as cancer treatments
- Certain congenital disabilities and genetic disorders
- Developmental disabilities
- Chronic pain, including back and neck pain
What Is Rehabilitation Care for Seniors?
Senior rehab centers are designed to help those recovering from an injury or serious medical event. They often include services such as:
Physical therapy: Improve movement, stability, flexibility, build strength, and control pain.
Occupational therapy: Help with activities of daily living (ADLs), use of adaptive devices, or fine motor skills.
Speech therapy: Improve conditions that alter speech, swallowing, or cognitive abilities, such as concentration or memory difficulties.
Inpatient rehab requires those recovering from a severe injury, debilitating disease, or major surgery to stay at a facility for a period of time. This type of rehab allows them the opportunity to be surrounded by therapists and patients who are in similar circumstances as they work on their physical rehabilitation together.
In addition to daily physical and occupational therapy sessions, there is an entire staff from nursing assistants to certified nurses who are available 24/7 if anything should arise that requires additional assistance.
Outpatient rehabilitation centers offer various services from physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and psychologists. Cancer treatment is among the most common outpatient therapy treatments provided by these facilities.
Outpatient rehab can be an effective solution for people who have been diagnosed with various conditions such as neurological disorders or neck and back pain but do not require hospitalization to heal their ailments.
The Types of Therapy at Rehabilitation Centers
The type of therapy at rehabilitation centers is instrumental in determining the level of success that a person may achieve after they complete their treatment. There are many different types, some more common than others, and each has its own benefits or drawbacks for specific patients.
Each form of rehabilitation serves a distinct objective in helping people return to a healthy lifestyle after an injury or illness. Still, all share the same goal: fostering health and wellness for those who need it most.
Physical therapists are the doctors of moving. With a background in anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, they use their knowledge to help those who experience pain or difficulty with movement by providing treatment that helps relieve symptoms and prepares patients for an active lifestyle.
Working with physical therapists can help you regain mobility and strength. They'll take the time to learn about your injury or condition, develop an individualized treatment plan tailored for you, and meet up weekly to track progress during these sessions that will last anywhere from 8-12 weeks. Common therapies include:
- Exercises and stretches intended to relieve discomfort, recover mobility or regain strength
- Massage, heat or cold treatment, or ultrasound to alleviate muscle pain and spasms
- Rehab and exercises to improve the use of an artificial limb
- Incorporating canes, crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs into your daily routine
- Stability and gait retraining
- Pain control
- Cardiovascular strengthening
- Casting, splinting, burn care, or use of orthotics (braces or splints)
Occupational therapists are trained to treat individuals with disabilities for them to participate and engage in everyday activities and any therapeutic goals that they may have.
Occupational therapy (OT) uses therapeutic activities to help patients develop, recover, or maintain important skills in everyday life.
Occupational therapists work with people who have medical conditions such as arthritis and Parkinson's disease, developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), injuries from an accident—or even just someone looking for a way back into society after being treated for severe depression.
Speech therapy is a valuable tool for people who communicate in less than ideal ways. The goal of speech therapists is to combine the mechanics associated with using spoken languages, such as articulation and pronunciation, or practicing new skills like communication through writing and sign language. Conditions that typically need the help of speech therapy include:
- Articulation problems
- Cancer of the head, neck, or throat
- Cerebral palsy
- Cleft palate
- Down syndrome
- Fluency problems
- Huntington's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Oral feeding problems
- Parkinson's disease
- Resonance or voice problems
What's the Difference Between Nursing Homes and Rehabilitation Centers?
Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers have different goals. Nursing homes typically offer long-term care, where patients are rarely discharged. Rehabilitation centers instead focus on getting people back up on their feet so they can live independently.
Choosing a Rehabilitation Center for Your Loved One
Choosing a rehabilitation center is an important decision and one that can be challenging, especially if you're struggling with a difficult, aging parent. With so many factors to consider, start by asking yourself these questions while researching:
- What type of therapy does my loved one need, and are they all offered in one center?
- How much will it cost me?
- Should I choose inpatient care over outpatient services?
- Do their programs fit all recovery issues, including mental health problems such as anxiety disorder or depression linked to their rehab?
These are just some considerations on determining which treatment center would work best for you and your loved one. We recommend speaking with the doctor to review any opportunities or suggestions they may have.