We are thrilled to celebrate our wonderful physical therapists at Paradise
Valley Hospital’s South Bay Rehabilitation Center (SBRC), and the
work that they do.
Physical therapists (PTs) work with patients to improve their physical
and functional abilities. They aim to help patients restore, maintain,
and promote optimal wellness and quality of life. Depending on a patient’s
needs and goals, as well as the setting in which the PT practices, what
a PT actually does can vary quite a bit. Here are a few of the ways physical
therapists work with patients at Paradise Valley Hospital.
Inpatient (acute care) physical therapists work with patients who are
currently hospitalized and have had a recent change in their functional
mobility status. Whether a patient is in the ICU with pneumonia or recovering
from a total knee replacement in the spine and joint unit, inpatient PTs
strive to get patients back to their baseline level of function, or as
close as possible. They may teach exercises for strengthening and balance,
provide energy and safety tips, and teach patients how to use walkers,
canes, and crutches. The PTs assess whether or not a patient can safely
get in and out of bed, walk, and, if needed, negotiate stairs in anticipation
of leaving the hospital. They make equipment recommendations, if needed,
and help determine whether a patient is safe to return home. If a patient
needs more therapy before returning home, physical therapists help determine
the appropriate level of care for the patient.
In the case of elective surgery, PTs often get involved even earlier. At
SBRC, we offer a prehabilitation class for anyone planning to have spine,
hip, or knee surgery. Prehabilitation, or “prehab,” is a term
for the safety, fitness, and educational training provided by therapists
before patients undergo elective surgery (think spine surgery, hip replacements,
and knee replacements). Our class is taught by licensed therapists, and
patients receive education on what to expect before, during, and after
surgery. In addition to learning strengthening and stretching exercises
to prepare for the operation, they receive tips to prepare their home
environment to make the recovery process as smooth as possible.
Some patients need short term rehabilitation before they leave the hospital.
Again, this can be due to weakness sustained during a prolonged illness,
or it can be due to a stroke or a disease process that results in weakness
and inability to carry out daily activities as before. In SBRC’s
inpatient rehab program, PTs provide therapy programs similar to those
in acute care, but at an increased intensity (at least 1½ hours
of PT a day, 5-6 days a week). In addition, the PTs provide input during
weekly conferences with the patient and their family, the physician, and
other team members. They conduct family/caregiver training and actually
go to the patient’s home with them to assess how they do in their
own environment. The PTs can then fine-tune treatments to address any
specific problems that come up during the home assessment, ensuring a
safer return to home.
Once patients leave the hospital, they may continue their rehabilitation
journey by going to outpatient therapy. Others may never have been hospitalized,
but seek care for painful injuries or conditions that impair their ability
to perform daily tasks. Patients typically attend PT anywhere from one
to three times per week. In the case of patients who were hospitalized,
they will continue to work on more advanced goals promoting mobility and
self care. A large component of outpatient therapy is education; PTs teach
patients how to move properly, how to prevent injury or re-injury through
exercise, and how to better manage their specific conditions.
Clearly, the role of a PT is quite varied, especially at SBRC. If you
would like to take a tour of South Bay Rehab Center, call (619) 470-4223
and a rehab liaison will be happy to show you around!