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You’ve broken a hip. You’re settled in the hospital, and the worst of the pain and discomfort is over. But then worry sets in. You wonder how well you’ll heal. You’re anxious to know if you’ll be able to do even the simplest of tasks again — like bending down to tie your shoes. Perhaps most importantly, you wonder if you’ll be able to return home and to your previous lifestyle.

The staff at the Rehabilitation Center at Rush Oak Park Hospital understands all these concerns. That’s why they’ve built a comprehensive rehabilitation program that helps patients with their physical, social and emotional healing.

The program offers several levels of physical, occupational and speech therapy. Rehabilitation Center staff also work closely with physicians, nurses and social workers in the hospital and out — to create overall treatment plans that get patients back on their feet, literally and figuratively.

The Rehabilitation Center

“Our goal is to return patients, as much as possible, to their previous level of functioning and independent living,” says Max Fitzgerald, MD, medical director of Rehabilitation at Rush Oak Park Hospital.

That means providing several levels of rehabilitation to deal with numerous injuries and illnesses. The Rehabilitation Center offers services to patients recovering from:
• Stroke
• Brain or spinal cord injuries
• Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease
• Orthopedic conditions, including hip and knee replacements
• Amputations

A patient can begin rehabilitation as soon as the same day he or she is admitted to the hospital. For those in need of intense inpatient therapy, there is an acute rehabilitation unit on the third floor of the hospital. Here, patients undergo physical, occupational or speech therapy for up to three hours a day.

More services

The fourth floor of the hospital houses a skilled-care unit. In this unit, rehabilitation efforts continue at a slower pace, over a longer period of time. After release from the hospital, patients can continue with outpatient rehabilitation.

Having so many rehabilitation services under one roof is a rarity.

“We are a small community hospital, but I think we hold our own against bigger facilities,” Fitzgerald says. “That’s a testament not only to the depth of our program, but to the skills of the people working here.”

Fitzgerald credits rehabilitation staff with creating a team- and family-oriented environment. That’s important to him both professionally and personally. “I got into rehabilitation because my father had a stroke my first year of medical school. I saw first-hand the enormous impact rehabilitation services could have for patients and families.”