At Prestige Care’s Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, our goal is not only to transition patients from hospital to home after a hospitalization, but to also prevent future complications with the tools and resources needed to maintain their independence.
Our experienced physical therapy teams with Infinity Rehab provide each patient with the care they need to increase their functional mobility skills, and improve their strength.
In this interview we speak with Infinity Rehab’s own Jennifer Newman, PT, DPT, Senior Director of Rehab, to address some common questions regarding physical therapy at a Post-Acute Rehabilitation Center.
What should a person expect from a physical therapy program at a skilled nursing center?
Jennifer Newman: “A physical therapist (PT) will complete a thorough evaluation when you first arrive in order to create a plan of care tailored to your specific discharge goals. Your sessions will be a combination of functional training and strength training. Expect to work HARD. Each session could look very different – from weight training with dumbbells and a weighted vest while you simulate a cooking task to virtual reality balance training. All [PT] sessions will work with you on the goal of discharging home or to the next level of care.”
How does physical therapy help reduce fall risk and prevent future hospitalization?
JN: “Research shows that lower extremity strength is significantly related to repeat falls in geriatric populations. A fall can be a major, but avoidable cause of injury or even death in community-dwelling adults over 65 years old. Through physical therapy, you can improve your generalized strength, balance reactions, and activity tolerance. These improvements will reduce the likelihood of a fall or other adverse injury occurring and leading to hospitalization.”
What are the benefits of physical therapy during a post-acute care stay?
JN: “Physical therapy is able to improve so many different aspects of life. Physical therapists are experts in restoring lost movement or function as a result of an injury or illness. PTs can help improve strength, balance, and reduce pain to maximize quality of life and mobility levels.”
What is the most important thing a person can do while going through physical therapy to ensure an optimal recovery?
JN: “Keeping a positive attitude and open communication with your therapist will maximize your outcomes. Rehabilitation is a journey that will include both good and bad days. Staying positive and focusing on the day-to-day improvements keeps the motivation strong.”
What types of exercises or activities do you recommend for people who have returned home after a post-acute care stay?
JN: “Maintaining an exercise program is a vital part of the post-acute care stay. Your PT will help create a home exercise program (HEP) prior to your discharge from the facility with exercises targeting your specific needs. Therapy can be continued in the community either with home health or outpatient services. Walking on a daily basis is one of the best and easiest activities to keep up with after returning home.”
What is one final piece of advice a person should know pertaining to physical therapy during or after post-acute care?
JN: “Your physical therapist is here to help YOU. They are specialists in the field of movement science and should be used as a resource for any questions you have.”