Orange County Register Columnist Jane Glen Haas was a patient at Newport Nursing & Rehab during her recovery after shoulder replacement surgery. Following are excerpts from her newspaper column.
I’ve been replacing joints for a long time. My knees are almost a decade old and my hip was new two years ago. By the time I opted for the shoulder replacement operation, I was having extreme pain - bone-on-bone grinding on the joint and unbelievable nerve pain radiating from the back of the neck to the joint. I had stopped driving, fearing the pain could impact my steering.
What was really new for me this time was that after a week in the hospital, I left for three weeks at Newport Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. I went directly home after other operations and had physical therapy at an outpatient center three times a week.
Well, I finally learned my lesson. Medicare pays for a minimum of two hours of physical and occupational therapy every day at a rehab facility like Newport Nursing, as opposed to just three hours a week for outpatient therapy. Medicare provides up to 100 days for qualified members who want to use a rehabilitation home.
So why Newport Nursing for rehab?
First, it was recommended by an orthopedist. Second, it’s locally owned by Generations Healthcare. And with only 59 beds, most of them reserved for orthopedic recoveries, it seemed just the right size.
There’s more. The nurses, aides, even the shower gal have been helpful, pleasant, comforting.
The food is good. The activities are fun. Best of all, when the weather allows, I can sit at a table in the beautiful garden outside my room and enjoy winter in Southern California.
But there’s more.
After all this isn’t a holiday. It’s a work break with therapists, and Newport Nursing has some of the best. Two of them were assigned to me
Lise Ketterer, an occupational therapist, concentrated on getting me comfortable with daily activities like grooming, hygiene, dressing.
Kristin Sykes, who has a doctorate in physical therapy, worked with me to improve walking with a cane, including decreasing fall risk, improving posture, stability and overall muscular control.
If a rehab experience is on your agenda after surgery, take the time for a pre-op visit. Meet the nurses who make sure you’re comfortable, and the therapists, the reason you’re there.
Always remember this is your option: Rehab is your choice. If you’re miserable, you can always go home.
If you chose well, as I did, you’ll go home in good shape.