-Contributed by Leslie Shaw, RN in EIRMC's Transitional Care Unit

In the Rehabilitation Unit at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, patients from all walks of life are recovering from various injuries or illnesses. Though patients may come from all different backgrounds, they all have one thing in common... they now need help with almost every aspect of everyday living; eating, dressing, showering & walking again. Even sitting up on the edge of bed can take a major effort and tremendous amount of energy the first few days.  They are brought down to the very basics of life, and all that matters is that they have someone to care for them while they get better.

What happens once they get to the Rehabilitation Unit? A unique plan of action is developed for them.

From the time a patient is admitted to the 6th floor, the staff plans their care in order for them to get back to their homes. The care plan is carefully set up according to which functions the patients have lost due to their stroke. For example, if one arm is affected & weaker than the other, the occupational and physical therapists may start with specifically designed exercises & equipment in order to strengthen that area. If speech is affected, the speech department is ready to implement swallow evaluations and precautions to ensure the patient doesn't choke or aspirate during their recovery process.

Nurses and Aides play a key role in implementing the therapy departments' goals. They follow the recommendations of the physical, occupational and speech therapists in transferring, dressing, walking and feeding the patients. They also add their own 'medicine' to the mix by ensuring that the patients' other health issues are taken care of. Proper nutrition, vitamins, protein shakes, and medication are administered to each patient daily.

With approximately three hours of therapy per day, a patients' progress is astounding from week to week. The patients' family & friends are frequently surprised by the amount of progress they make each day. Although each day can be a struggle when your life is abruptly altered from a stroke or injury, patients on EIRMC's Rehab Unit are back home or off to a skilled unit within a few weeks to continue their recovery on an outpatient basis. The skill of the rehabilitation department is noticeably apparent when a patient, who could hardly walk on their own when they arrived, is discharged with all the resources they need to continue on a healthy recovery.

For more information on EIRMC's Rehabilitation Unit, please call (208) 529-7677.