Rehab is an Ongoing Process

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Many people enter short-term geriatric rehabilitation with the goal of getting stronger and returning to their former lives. There are various reasons to enter short-term rehabilitation including the need for cardiac, orthopedic, cognitive and overall geriatric rehabilitation. Receiving education about your diagnosis is helpful to ensure an eventual return home and a successful recovery.    It is important to be positive and set realistic goals as part of your recovery. Both short and long term goals are an essential and helpful part of your short-term rehabilitation and recovery process.

Short-term rehabilitation may include physical, occupational and/or speech therapy. Many patients are disappointed when they are not fully recovered at the time of their discharge. Try not to be disappointed if your discharge plans include additional therapy, suggested modifications to help make your home safer in order to prevent falls, and the need for additional services, including home care, to aid with your transition.

There are a number of steps and suggestions to follow when you are discharged to ensure a smooth transition and enhance your recovery process.

  • Check your vital signs on a routine basis as suggested by your physician and healthcare team. This is especially important for individuals with heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses
  • Maintain an updated medication log to ensure appropriate dosage and compliance. To help you keep track using online tools, pill box, or simply pen and paper. You may consider asking a friend or family member to help you organize your weekly medications.
  • Let your doctor know if there are changes in your health. It is always better to be careful. Trust your instincts. You know your body the best.
  • Understand and observe your diet restrictions.
  • Realize that you can make changes in your health even if you didn’t previously observe healthy advice.

Other suggestions include:

  • Continue to work on overall strengthening especially ambulation.
  • Observe safety measures.
  • Stay in touch with your medical team.
  • Incorporate previously enjoyed activities even if they need to be modified.
  • Set realistic goals including short and long term outcomes.
  • Maintain social interactions.

It is important to consider short-term rehab as an ongoing process consisting of therapy, strengthening and ongoing healing. It is important to not feel that you have not succeeded when you are discharged from short term rehab. Your recovery and rehab will consist of ups and downs. Your mantra or feedback to yourself can be that your short-term rehab is a journey. Congratulate yourself on your successes and be kind to yourself if you have a setback.