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Tue, June 18

KRMC opens new acute rehab unit

People with debilitating conditions no longer need to travel to Phoenix, Las Vegas or Needles, Calif.

to get the rehabilitation necessary to get them back on the road toward an independent life style.

Kingman Regional Medical Center opened an Acute Rehabilitation Unit in a new wing of its third floor May 15.

The unit received Medicare certification on July 1, according to Cheryl Savory, nurse manager of the unit.

Lou King is director of in-patient physical rehabilitation and Dr.

Thomas Parks is the unit's medical director.

"The unit was created because of the need for rehabilitation here instead of sending patients to other areas," King said.

"We assist patients and their families with the transition from an acute hospital setting back into their homes."

A home assessment that takes about one hour is the first step toward admission to the unit.

That assessment comes following a referral by the hospital, a nursing home, a doctor's office or family member, Parks said.

Parks added that a caseworker also might refer a patient for assessment.

Typical conditions that qualify for admission include stroke, neurological disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, hip or knee replacements, amputation above or below a knee, and multiple traumas, Savory said.

The Acute Rehabilitation Unit has 21 beds and includes a transitional living apartment containing a bed, washer and dryer, microwave oven, stove and oven, refrigerator/freezer and kitchen counter area with sink.

It simulates a home environment and is useful in helping patients who are recovering motors skills feel safe and comfortable.

In addition, caregivers may learn skills needed for assisting patients when they are ready to return home – skills that include bathing, dressing, grooming and feeding of the patient.

There are cooking and dining areas on the unit where other basic skills are re-introduced.

The unit also has a fully equipped therapy gym.

"Patients wear their own clothes and go to the dining room three times a day," King said.

"They undergo three hours of therapy a day."

Those three hours may include a combination of physical, occupational and speech therapies, whatever is prescribed in the patient's treatment plan.

"We had one woman cook spaghetti and an 81-year-old woman fixed enchiladas," King said.

"That woman had a double knee replacement.

"Our patients laugh and love it."

Patients make up their own menus and occupational therapists go out and get the ingredients for the meals, Savory said.

"We're going to offer clinical psychology," Parks said.

"We already have certified rehabilitation nurses."

Parks holds board certification in physical medicine and rehabilitation as well as in electro diagnostic medicine.

Patients typically stay on the unit 16-20 days, Savory said.

But programs are tailored to the individual; so one patient may stay seven days while another one stays six weeks, Parks said.

"Socialization skills are re-learned here," Savory said.

"Patients bond and help each other."

There are an average of six patients in the unit daily, Savory said.

A total of 16 patients were admitted during July.

Other services available include case management, a social worker, and clergy.

"After the patient is discharged, we follow up with them at home in seven days to ensure they're getting any needed nursing care and additional therapy and to make sure they're safe," King said.

"We do a second follow-up after 90 days to see they've maintained the functional level they'd attained when they left here."

A patient is considered to be able to be functional when he or she can walk 150 feet, King said.

Anyone wishing more information on the Acute Rehabilitation Unit may call 692-4688.

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