Returning home safely after rehab

Photo courtesy of Cortland Regional Medical Center


No matter what your age, returning home and safely resuming daily activities after a joint replacement or other major surgery can be a big challenge. Cortland Regional Medical Center offers a full range of pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation services that can be tailored to your needs.

Depending on the type of surgery you’re having, your overall mobility, and your caregiving support, a short-term stay in Cortland Regional’s rehabilitation facility may be recommended by your doctor. The typical length of stay is about three weeks, but this varies based on the individual, says Kevin Dean, Admission Coordinator for Cortland Regional’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

“Our goal is to provide a safe discharge as quickly as possible. For example, if a resident has a strong caregiver at home, they will likely be discharged sooner than someone who lives alone,” Dean says.

Cortland Regional is also the only rehabilitation facility in the region with a physiatrist (rehabilitation physician) on staff. “My role is the medical care of rehabilitation patients and the coordination of the services they receive,” explains Dr. Polly Cator. “Having a doctor leading the team who understands the therapy and equipment needs of our patients adds a level of quality and value that distinguishes CRMC in the Cortland area.”

Many patients will have a pre-surgery visit with a physical therapist (PT), says Scott Mayberry, Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation services for Cortland Regional. “The therapist will educate you about what to expect on the surgical side and who will visit for treatments following the surgery,” he says. After surgery an occupational therapist (OT) will evaluate your readiness to leave the hospital, including your risks of falling, your ability to return to routine activities, and the need for any assistive equipment.

Many patients begin their treatment and receive post-surgical therapy at Cortland Regional’s Fisher Avenue outpatient clinic, as well. Outpatient services available include PT, OT, vision, speech/language, and aqua therapy.

Individuals who qualify for it may receive visits from Cortland Regional home care clinicians, adds Kevin Dean. “Cortland Regional is unique in that it offers many long-term therapy options for patients recuperating at home,” he says.

Mayberry says there’s no reason for Cortland-area residents to look outside their home community for high-quality rehabilitation services.

“We have a terriἀc team of inpatient and outpatient therapists with an average of 8 to 10 years of clinical experience,” he says. “We have a lymphedema specialist, someone who specializes in therapy for upper extremities, and a certified hand therapist. If someone has had knee or hip surgery, we also have balance rehabilitation experts. Together we provide comprehensive care, and we collaborate as a team to meet our patients’ needs and goals.”

Cortland Regional’s short-term rehab and outpatient therapy services are available even if patients choose to have surgery elsewhere. Dean is currently working with a patient from Dryden who had hip replacement surgery at another facility and is doing her physical therapy at the Fisher Avenue site.

“She has family in Cortland, and she is getting the rehab that she needs right here without the added hassle or expense of driving to and from Syracuse for it. That is a huge plus,” he says.

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