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Acute Rehabilitation Unit

Patient care team

The Acute Rehabilitation Unit uses a comprehensive, interdisciplinary team approach to patient care. Team members include:


The physiatrist is responsible for the rehabilitation management of each patient in the Acute Rehabilitation Unit. This includes diagnosis, prognosis and prescribing treatment. Physiatrists treat patients with musculoskeletal and neurological problems and lead the interdisciplinary team in planning the course of rehabilitation to help achieve the patients’ highest level of functioning. The physiatrist maintains close contact with referring physicians as necessary in regards to the medical management of the patient.

The physiatrists at St. Anthony's Medical Center have subspecialty certifications in pain management, spinal cord injury and acupuncture therapy.

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Personal physician

The patient’s personal physician also is a part of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit team. Because the acute phase of the illness of injury is over, they will not see the patient daily. However, there are frequent discussions between the physiatrist and the personal physician. In addition, the patient's physician receives weekly update reports during the patient's Acute Rehabilitation Unit stay.

When patients leaves the Acute Rehabilitation Unit, their personal physician gives instructions regarding home medications and follow-up office visits.

Physical therapy

The main function of physical therapy is to assist the patient in returning to a maximum potential function in the following areas: muscle strength, mobility, flexibility, balance, ambulation, and use of assistive devices. The physical therapist evaluates the patient in these areas to determine the patient's prior and present functional capacity. The therapist then works with the patient to achieve independence. Family training and home exercise programs are an integral part of this therapeutic approach.

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Occupational therapy

The main objective of occupational therapy is to promote the maximum level of independence in the activities of daily living. The occupational therapist evaluates and works with the patient in areas of self-care skills, dressing, personal hygiene, homemaking skills, including meal preparation and clean-up. Other services include sensory/motor components and cognitive integration. The therapist will establish a program to increase the patient's level of functioning and promote independence.

Case management (social services)

The case managers (social workers) are available to help patients and their families cope with the problems that often accompany an extended illness or disability. As part of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit team, the goal of the case manager is to help patients find satisfactory solutions or adjustments to any physical, social, emotional or economic problems they may encounter.

A case manager also assists in discharge planning, helping patients and families with follow-up medical and rehabilitation recommendations. Goal setting and discharge planning are a cooperative effort among the patients, their families and case management.

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Rehabilitation nursing

Rehabilitation nurses and rehabilitation techs work with patients on prevention of complications of immobilization, physical care including hygiene, skin and wound care, bowel and bladder management, positioning, and understanding safety limitations and precautions. Rehabilitation nurses continue to monitor and manage ongoing medical issues.

Rehabilitation nursing skills include: IV therapy, supplemental nutrition, diabetic management, respiratory management, pain management, health education, and discharge planning/teaching. Rehabilitation nurses monitor the psychosocial care of the patient, including socialization and adaptation of the patient and their support system to the altered life style following a rehabilitation diagnosis.

Speech therapy

The speech therapist provides comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services for patients with impaired communication skills. These include swallowing disorders, aphasia, articulation disorders, cognitive deficits secondary to head injury, dysarthria, dyspraxia, voice disorders and receptive and/or expressive language delays. Counseling with family and patient is an integral part of this service.

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Recreational therapy

Recreational therapy is offered to meet the leisure and psychosocial needs of the patient. The therapist meets with patients to gather background information regarding their former leisure activities. This information allows the therapist to assist patients to rekindle past interests or guide them into a variety of new leisure time pursuits. Weekly activities are offered and include music therapy, cards, bingo, black jack, hand bell choir, various crafts and a worship service.

The recreational therapist is responsible for support groups and advisory panels, such as the Stroke Club support group and the Stroke Panel. The community re-entry program is available and offered on a as-needed basis, generally once a week. The patient's rehab goals drive patient participation in recreational therapy.


Regardless of dietary restrictions, Acute Rehabilitation Unit patients have the opportunity to make daily food selections from a menu of nutritious and appetizing choices. Clinical dietitians develop special meal plans in accordance with the physiatrists’ instructions, and help patients learn to adapt their eating styles to incorporate new diet programs. The dietitians also make periodic rounds to monitor food tolerance.

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Psychological support services are available to assist patients who need help working through challenges resulting from their injury or illness. For instance, the patient may find it difficult to adjust to physical and mental restrictions or may need help in resuming his or her role in the family. Also, the patient may need help reintegrating into society.

Pastoral care (chaplains)

The Pastoral Care Department provides spiritual care and services to Acute Rehabilitation Unit patients regardless of their religious preference. The staff is comprised of clergy and lay chaplains who represent several Christian denominations. Clergy of other denominations are notified upon request. A member of the Pastoral Care Department visits patients in their rooms and is available whenever patients or family members request additional visits.

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Family support is an important factor in the recovery process. Periodically, caregivers will be required to attend therapy sessions with the patient to learn the patient’s care routines and how to assist the patient in self-care and mobility activities. In addition, family members receive training in appropriate techniques to assist in the care of the patient after leaving St. Anthony’s Medical Center.


The patient is a vital member of the rehabilitation team and participates actively in the development of the treatment plans and goals. The treatment plan is revised as necessary to meet the patient’s individual needs.

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For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.

Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well­ being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.