The rehabilitation needs of older individuals may be different from other patients. You may have other health challenges, such as heart disease, vascular disease, or arthritis, that could affect your participation in a rehabilitation program. At NewYork-Presbyterian, we customize a rehabilitation plan that takes all of your health needs into account, assembling a series of exercises and interventions to restore your comfort, mobility, and independence as much as possible.
A Team of Specialists
Your rehabilitation team is coordinated by a physiatrist (rehabilitation medicine doctor) who collaborates with nurses and physical, occupational, speech/swallowing, and recreation therapists as needed. There is a strong and dedicated level of cooperation between the rehabilitation team, geriatricians (doctors who specialize in the care of older patients), neurologists, orthopedists, and other physicians as needed to promote your recovery. As part of a major teaching hospital, your team is also studying patient outcomes after therapy to continually raise the level of care.
Whom We Care For
We provide rehabilitation services for any older individual who needs them, including people who:
- Are preparing to leave the hospital after a prolonged hospitalization
- Have had joint replacement surgery (such as knee, hip, or shoulder replacement)
- Have had heart or lung surgery or any other major operation
- Are recovering from cancer treatment
- Are recovering from a stroke or other neurological disorder
Geriatric Rehabilitation Services
Your physiatrist may prescribe one or more of these rehabilitation therapies:
- Physical therapy. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to help you get moving, reduce your pain, restore your function, and prevent disability. Your physical therapist will show you what to do during each session, but it is important for you to do “homework” exercises to fully benefit from the treatment.
- Occupational therapy. Occupational therapists help you relearn the skills of daily living, such as taking care of yourself, getting dressed, writing, regaining balance and coordination, and using supportive equipment. Their goal is to enable you to lead an independent, productive, and satisfying life. You will receive guidance on exercises you can do at home to ensure you receive the full benefit of your therapy.
- Speech and swallowing therapy. Speech-language pathologists help you if you have had an illness or injury, such as a stroke, that hindered your speech or swallowing abilities. Their goal is to help you regain those functions as much as possible. They also address other skills such as reading, writing, attention, memory, problem solving, thinking, and learning.
- Recreation therapy. Recreation therapists provide treatment and education and offer recreational opportunities to improve and maintain your physical, cognitive, emotional, and social function. They work with you to enhance your independent living skills and overall quality of life.
Acute Inpatient Care
Acute inpatient rehabilitation involves daily therapy in the hospital for several hours a day, with a minimum of three hours of therapy each day, six days a week (including a break for lunch). NewYork-Presbyterian has dedicated acute inpatient rehabilitation units that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and the Joint Commission. You may benefit from in-hospital rehabilitation if you are recovering from a stroke, received two joint replacements during one hospitalization (such as both knees), have co-existing medical conditions, or have any complex medical situation that requires you to begin intensive rehabilitation while you are still in the hospital. Our therapists begin working with you as soon as is medically feasible, often at your bedside, to get you on the road to recovery quickly.
Subacute Geriatric Rehabilitation
Once you are able to leave the hospital, your rehabilitation medicine doctor may recommend therapy in a subacute rehabilitation center, such as a skilled nursing facility. Subacute rehabilitation services are available at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale by RiverSpring Health, with whom we have established a program for our patients. NewYork-Presbyterian physiatrists are on staff there to ensure continuity of care for NewYork-Presbyterian patients.
Outpatient Geriatric Rehabilitation
Some older people are able to have rehabilitation on an outpatient basis. Your doctor will let you know if you can continue your rehabilitation at home (led by a therapist), at a NewYork-Presbyterian outpatient rehabilitation center, or at a center in your community.