We are thrilled to celebrate our wonderful physical therapists at Paradise Valley Hospital’s South Bay Rehabilitation Center (SBRC), and the work that they do.
Physical therapists (PTs) work with patients to improve their physical and functional abilities. They aim to help patients restore, maintain, and promote optimal wellness and quality of life. Depending on a patient’s needs and goals, as well as the setting in which the PT practices, what a PT actually does can vary quite a bit. Here are a few of the ways physical therapists work with patients at Paradise Valley Hospital.
Inpatient (acute care) physical therapists work with patients who are currently hospitalized and have had a recent change in their functional mobility status. Whether a patient is in the ICU with pneumonia or recovering from a total knee replacement in the spine and joint unit, inpatient PTs strive to get patients back to their baseline level of function, or as close as possible. They may teach exercises for strengthening and balance, provide energy and safety tips, and teach patients how to use walkers, canes, and crutches. The PTs assess whether or not a patient can safely get in and out of bed, walk, and, if needed, negotiate stairs in anticipation of leaving the hospital. They make equipment recommendations, if needed, and help determine whether a patient is safe to return home. If a patient needs more therapy before returning home, physical therapists help determine the appropriate level of care for the patient.
In the case of elective surgery, PTs often get involved even earlier. At SBRC, we offer a prehabilitation class for anyone planning to have spine, hip, or knee surgery. Prehabilitation, or “prehab,” is a term for the safety, fitness, and educational training provided by therapists before patients undergo elective surgery (think spine surgery, hip replacements, and knee replacements). Our class is taught by licensed therapists, and patients receive education on what to expect before, during, and after surgery. In addition to learning strengthening and stretching exercises to prepare for the operation, they receive tips to prepare their home environment to make the recovery process as smooth as possible.
Some patients need short term rehabilitation before they leave the hospital. Again, this can be due to weakness sustained during a prolonged illness, or it can be due to a stroke or a disease process that results in weakness and inability to carry out daily activities as before. In SBRC’s inpatient rehab program, PTs provide therapy programs similar to those in acute care, but at an increased intensity (at least 1½ hours of PT a day, 5-6 days a week). In addition, the PTs provide input during weekly conferences with the patient and their family, the physician, and other team members. They conduct family/caregiver training and actually go to the patient’s home with them to assess how they do in their own environment. The PTs can then fine-tune treatments to address any specific problems that come up during the home assessment, ensuring a safer return to home.
Once patients leave the hospital, they may continue their rehabilitation journey by going to outpatient therapy. Others may never have been hospitalized, but seek care for painful injuries or conditions that impair their ability to perform daily tasks. Patients typically attend PT anywhere from one to three times per week. In the case of patients who were hospitalized, they will continue to work on more advanced goals promoting mobility and self care. A large component of outpatient therapy is education; PTs teach patients how to move properly, how to prevent injury or re-injury through exercise, and how to better manage their specific conditions.
Clearly, the role of a PT is quite varied, especially at SBRC. If you would like to take a tour of South Bay Rehab Center, call (619) 470-4223 and a rehab liaison will be happy to show you around!