Brand SpotlightYour Healthy Family


Your Healthy Family: How a rehabilitation hospital treats patients

Posted at 7:33 AM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 07:38:20-04

NAPLES, Fla. — If you or your loved one falls or has to be bed bound for weeks or months, you or that person may need to stay in a rehabilitation hospital.

"We treat patients who have had typically a long or complex hospital course" Rehabilitation Medicine Doctor David Pitts said. "And a lot of what we're focusing on is the clinical care, and the functional care to get them home."

Dr. Pitts said doctors, nurses, therapists, case managers, and other staff at the NCH Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Rehabilitation work closely together to treat patients like 87-year-old Joyce Sinclair. She's been in and out of rehab facilities since January.

"This is my final stop before I go home," she said.

Sinclair said she'd spent the last two weeks working hard on her rehab so she can get back home.

"A lot of work!" she said. "And it’s hard work, depending on what steps you're in."

The NCH Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Rehabilitation is a comprehensive acute rehabilitation hospital. Many of their patients, like Sinclair, were bed bound for weeks. She got sick in January and had to have major surgery.

"I was in hospital there four weeks and two days, laying on my back. So I lost my mobility," she said.

That's what staff at Brookdale are trying to help her get back.

“They practice different things. For instance, getting in the shower, out of the shower without falling. The big thing is no falls. Please, no falls!” Sinclair said.

"People will go into our kitchen, and they're actually demonstrating making cookies. But while they're doing that, we're making sure their balance is good. They might be a neurologic or an orthopedic patient," Dr. Pitts said.

"You have to learn to put on your your clothes, dress yourself, your shoes," Sinclair said.

Even fun activities, like painting, are exercises in disguise.

"You're looking at gross motor control, fine motor control. Those are things that all go into that,” Dr. Pitts said.

The garden at Brookdale was built off donations, and is Sinclair's favorite spot.

"It helps you. It gives you vibration. You're moving again," she said. "It's just a welcoming thing. Welcome back to the world.”

It features obstacles patients may face when released.

"Getting up and down a stair, down ramps, things like that to go out and be in the community again," Dr. Pitts said.

Dr. Pitts said the most gratifying part is seeing patients get back to being themselves again after just a few weeks.

“It’s a surprise a lot of times for the patients and the families, after three weeks to go from being bed bound to going home,” he said.

Dr. Pitts said patients at a rehabilitation hospital, as opposed to a skilled nursing facility, are often still in need of medical care. That's what places like Brookdale also provide to patients.