Senior rehab and the healing process
Seniors face many challenges as they age and may need more intensive rehabilitation care, especially after suffering injuries from a fall, a stroke or a cardiovascular event. The length of time spent in a senior rehab program can greatly improve the senior's health, and allow him or her to maintain independence and get back to the normal routine much quicker following an event.
A facility designed especially for senior rehab, or even a nursing home equipped with rehabilitation services, can spend more time working with the patient as opposed to home care alone. This is important because the more time spent working on rehabilitation, the quicker the patient improves. Senior rehab covers many physical ailments such as:
- Orthopedic rehabilitation and multiple trauma care
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Amputee rehabilitation
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Wound management
- Cardiovascular rehabilitation
- Head injury and spinal cord injury
Balance assessment and fall prevention
Each year one out of every three senior citizens 65 and older suffers a fall, and 30% require medical treatment. Therefore, many senior rehab services are providing balance assessment and therapy designed to improve the patient's balance. The long-term cost, as well as the pain and suffering of those at risk, is greatly decreased.
Rehabilitation should begin as soon as a stroke patient is stable, often within 24 to 48 hours after a stroke. Inpatient programs often involve three hours of active therapy a day, five or six days a week. Outpatients spend several hours, usually at least three days a week, so inpatient programs are always more time intensive, which speeds up the healing process.
"You may need six weeks, six months or longer to learn how to manage your [heart] condition and develop healthier habits. Many programs last only three months, but some continue for years." – American Heart Association
Cardiovascular rehabilitation is a coordinated plan of therapy designed to improve the cardiac patient's chances of recovery. Most of these senior rehab programs improve the patient's energy level, allowing the heart and body to get stronger. As for recovery time, the American Heart Association says, “You may need six weeks, six months or longer to learn how to manage your condition and develop healthier habits. Many programs last only three months, but some continue for years.”
Other senior rehab therapies
Occupational therapy in senior rehab isn’t about returning to work. It is designed with the specific purpose to aid the patient in performing daily activities like personal hygiene, motor control and eating. Speech therapy, on the other hand, helps those who have suffered a stroke or the effects of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. Physical therapy, one of the most popular, offers the senior the ability to regain strength, flexibility and coordination following a stroke or injury.
Regardless of the need, senior rehab programs are designed to allow people to get back on their feet again as quickly as possible. The more time each day spent on rehabilitation, the quicker the patient will recover; and, that is the goal of any good senior rehab program.