Healing Right Here: Inpatient Therapy Services Close to Home

Especially as winter moves in, it may be reassuring to know that for the unexpected health issue you or a loved one may face, the Inpatient Rehabilitation program at Penn Highlands DuBois means there’s a team right here at home to walk alongside you in the recovering journey, offering physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy services. Says Sarah Craft, program director of Inpatient Rehabilitation at Penn Highlands: “In our unit, we work with the interdisciplinary team—the physicians, the nursing team, our therapists and case management—to get patients back to baseline, or as close to that as possible.”

That means there’s support to see you through recovery when someone in your life experiences a serious medical event like a stroke, a cardiac event, neurological problems, an accident or other trauma, an orthopedic need, or an illness that leads to general debilitation. Patients can be admitted to Inpatient Rehab from elsewhere in the Penn Highlands system or “from any hospital from our region,” Craft says, noting that the Penn Highlands Inpatient Rehabilitation team regularly cares for patients who are transferred from hospitals in Pittsburgh, Altoona and Erie. “We’re here for anyone who needs to come back home,” Craft says. “That way, they’re closer to their family and in the community setting to make them more comfortable so the family doesn’t have to travel as far to see them.”

The patient is admitted to Inpatient Rehabilitation following a pre-approval process that includes approval by insurance. From that point, right away the therapy team schedules them to receive three hours of therapy per day in spaced-out sessions to make it comfortable. Then care can be delivered 24 hours a day, seven days per week from physicians and nurses who can also support the patient through pain management and wound care, if needed. Craft adds that on average, patients typically stay 12 to 14 days, and she highlights an added benefit even after discharge when it comes to check-ups and outpatient rehabilitation services: “We offer continuity of care, which means an easier transition throughout our system.”

The 15-bed unit is specially designed to promote the patient’s wellness. “The rooms are very large and semi-private,” Craft says, while the common area is outfitted with a “very spacious open bay room for activities and family visits or any kind of visitation or celebration”—COVID-permitting, of course. The floor also features “huge windows, beautiful views, and a clean, healing and quiet environment.”

What else serves the patient’s needs? The staff’s spirit toward what they do. “It’s a very rewarding type of nursing,” Craft says. “Our department has a great family atmosphere and everyone works really well together.” That’s thanks in part, she says, to the nature of their mission. “We get to treat patients who have a wide range of needs, and then we watch them walk out. People get better. You get to celebrate more than you don’t.”

The program also delivers peace of mind to families, who have traveled from as far as Asia to be at the side of their loved one at the Penn Highlands Inpatient Rehabilitation unit. Says one friend of a patient who received care for a stroke: “I was amazed to see how well my friend progressed from being nonresponsive at a large city hospital to making eye contact with us, holding my hand, and able to speak and read the newspaper after a few days at Penn Highlands DuBois. The caregivers and therapists were supportive, like family. And it was such a clean, up-to-date space for us to spend time cheering on someone important to us until it was time for him to be discharged.”

To learn more about inpatient therapy services at Penn Highlands, visit www.phhealthcare.org/rehab.