The Inpatient Acute Rehab Unit helps individuals meet their discharge goals following a debilitating event. Services offered include nursing care, physical, occupational and speech therapy, dietary consultations and a dedicated psychologist.

Medical Director Kala Danushkodi, MD, and Associate Medical Director Adam Schulte, MD, oversee the unit. Under their supervision, patients participate in individual rehab, working with their team to establish specific goals for independence. They receive three hours of therapy daily and learn the skills necessary to successfully and safely transition home and back into the community.

“We provide every element of an interdisciplinary therapy regimen in just the right proportion for each individual,” Dr. Schulte said. “We see great success every day because our exemplary team provides the medical care, encouragement and guidance tailored to each patient during recovery.” Here are just three examples.

Dorothy Johnson

Dorothy Johnson - Acute Rehab PatientShe had suffered a stroke that left the right side of her body paralyzed. She was also diagnosed with dense expressive aphasia, meaning she couldn’t speak. She also lost the ability to swallow safely and required a modified diet.

Before the stroke, Dorothy was active in the community. She still worked one day a week, and enjoyed playing the organ at church and spending time with her husband, family and dogs.

On May 4, 2017, Dorothy was transferred from an acute care hospital to NKCH’s Acute Rehab Unit, where she received intense and comprehensive stroke rehabilitation.

Dorothy spent the next five weeks working with the interdisciplinary rehab team to overcome her challenges. With her optimistic outlook, determination and family by her side, Dorothy made implausible gains.

“Although Dorothy could only physically speak a few words, her smile spoke one million,” said Brittany Gardner, PT.

During the rehab team’s initial assessment, Dorothy needed two people and a special transfer device to move her from the bed to a wheelchair. By the time she was discharged, she could get out of bed by herself and walk 50 feet with a cane.

Ultimately, Dorothy was able to return home to her husband and dogs. She continues therapy on an outpatient basis.

“Dorothy’s progression and achievements while on our unit are a testament to her character, motivation and hard work. We were just here to guide her in the right direction,” Brittany said. “She is exactly why I chose to practice physical therapy in the acute rehab setting.”

Sherman Haynes

Sherman Johnson - Acute Rehab PatientHe spent time in the Intensive Care Unit on a ventilator and underwent hemodialysis. Once he was medically stable, Sherman was transferred to NKCH’s Acute Rehab Unit to receive comprehensive nursing care and intensive therapy that could help him regain his independence.

Initially, Sherman required assistance with everything. He was unable to walk and required help with all personal care tasks.

Over the course of three weeks, Sherman worked diligently to regain his strength and mobility.  “Sherman was always so motivated!” said Elizabeth Petersen, his physical therapist.

By the end of his rehab experience, Sherman could walk again. “Coming to rehab made a big difference in my life,” he said.

On the day of his discharge, Sherman was beaming as he reflected on all he had accomplished during his rehab stay.

Vicki Vandendaele

Vicki Vandendaele - Acute Rehab Patient

As a former NKCH nurse, Vicki wasn’t a new face around the hospital, but after a fall at home during which she hit her head, she found herself in a new role: patient.

After her fall, Vicki was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. She had emergent surgery and spent several days in the Intensive Care Unit on a ventilator. Determined to be discharged to home, Vicki jumped at the opportunity to receive care on NKCH’s Acute Rehab Unit.

At the beginning of rehab, Vicki faced many barriers, including partial paralysis on her left side, difficulty swallowing and weakness so severe she required a mechanical lift to move her. She focused on building her strength and regaining her independent lifestyle. “I knew if I tried I could do it,” she said.

After 20 days, Vicki went home using only a walker. “I credit Vicki’s progress to her hard work and motivation,” said Cheri Hebert, PTA. “She was always willing to go the extra step and push herself to make progress every day.  She was a joy to work with.”