Lehigh County Health & Medicine Fall 2019 - 19

L C M E D S O C .O R G

I

n many cases, critical decisions about a
rehabilitation stay must be made in as little
as 24 to 48 hours before discharge with little
advice or support available. The choices
can seem overwhelming, but it's important
to understand your options and rights as you
navigate this next step.

DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE
Although it may be difficult in the immediate
aftermath of a trauma or serious illness, it is
vitally important to ask questions and make
informed decisions about your future care.
You have the right to choose a facility that is
right for you.
In order to get the best medical care and
support, you should feel empowered to be an
advocate for your own or a loved one's recovery.
Be sure to have an open and honest discussion
with the medical care team and keep a record of
any information given to you by your doctors.
Take notes or ask to record conversations so that
you can refer back to important information
as you weigh all options.
Then, begin researching the type of care and
rehabilitation required for your injury, and
seek out respected experts and highly-rated
facilities. For example, look for facilities with
third-party certifications, like the Commission
on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities,
which ensures high standards of care and
quality are met by its accredited inpatient
rehabilitation providers.
Instead of relying on second-hand information, call rehabilitation providers directly to ask
questions about your situation and learn what
you can expect with the transfer and admissions
process. Once you make a decision, share it with
a trusted friend or family member to ensure
your wishes are carried out.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS WHEN COMPARING
REHABILITATION FACILITIES
There are many options, specifically in the
Lehigh Valley, for rehabilitative care. For the
best possible outcomes, select a facility with:

* Coordinated clinical teams that specialize in
specific conditions, such as stroke, amputation, brain injury and spinal cord injury;

WHEN CONTACTING AN
INPATIENT REHABILITATION
FACILITY, ARM YOURSELF
WITH THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
TO ASK.
How long has the facility offered
specialized rehabilitation care?
How quickly do the facility's patients gain
function or recover?
How many patients leave the inpatient
setting for home versus a nursing home?
Does the facility have functional
outcomes for its patients that exceed
regional and national averages?
Is the facility nationally recognized for its
standards of care? Does it have thirdparty accreditations?
Does the facility offer innovative
rehabilitation technology?
Is the inpatient facility's care overseen
by physical medicine and rehabilitation
physicians, who are specially trained in a
specific area of rehabilitation medicine?
Do physicians, physician assistants and
nurse practitioners see patients at the
inpatient facility on a daily basis?
Do the physicians follow the patient
throughout recovery - from inpatient to
outpatient and beyond?
Will your therapy be in a group setting or
will you have one-on-one attention from
therapists?
What type of therapies are offered?
How much therapy will you receive on a
daily basis?

* Staff physiatrists who focus on helping
patients recover function;
* Specially trained nursing staff who are
certified in caring for patients undergoing
rehabilitation;
* The latest assistive and rehabilitation technology that can help increase, maintain or
improve the functional capability of people
with injury or disability;
* A proven record of positive outcomes, where
patients are able to return home rather than
to a long-term nursing home facility;
* And the highest level of rehabilitation
accreditation possible, indicating high
standards and outstanding outcomes.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, YOU HAVE A CHOICE
Your choice of a rehabilitation provider
is indeed just that. No one at an acute care
facility should dictate where you receive
rehabilitation care. Many hospitals have the
option of keeping patients within their own
networks and often recommend moving to
their facilities as the next step. While this
may be attractive as a short-term convenience,
consider the longer-term implications of
your decision. It's important to explore all
options that offer intense rehabilitation
for your specific condition before making
a decision.
Frank Hyland, MSPT, is the Executive Director of Good
Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, overseeing inpatient and
outpatient rehabilitation services for Neurorehabilitation,
Pediatrics, Musculoskeletal-Orthopedics and Cardiopulmonary-Complex Medical. Previously, he was the vice president
of Rehabilitation Services, and administrator, Good Shepherd
Rehabilitation Hospital, joining the organization in 1981. In
2015, Hyland was awarded the Healthcare Heroes Lifetime
Achievement Award from Lehigh Valley Business for his
significant contributions to improving health care in the
Lehigh Valley community.

* A successful history of providing rehabilitation care as its core focus;

FALL 2019 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 19


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Lehigh County Health & Medicine Fall 2019

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