By Charlie Reed
For the News-Gazette
For more than 80 years the Kissimmee hospital has been an anchor for the still-growing medical district in the heart of Osceola County. Starting next week it will give patients a place to transition from the hospital bed to their own bed.
The facility is only for adults, but will treat a range of debilitating conditions including stroke,
traumatic injuries, brain and neurological disease, as well as orthopedic and spinal injuries.
With an interdisciplinary focus on recovery, it centers on occupational and physical therapies to help patients improve or re-learn daily functions. From walking to eating to bathing, patients will go home feeling confident that they can take care of themselves. Supporting services include psychological services and speech therapy.
Many patients will come directly from Osceola Regional, but the new unit also will admit patients from home or other healthcare sites. But the guidelines are strict. Patients must meet certain criteria, including being able to physically perform at least three hours of therapy a day.
Doctors, nurses and therapists will treat each case in a joint meeting room on the unit’s main floor, where charts, X-rays and other records can be displayed on screens mounted to the wall. Likewise, medical notes will be typed into computers in each room. The paperless system streamlines care and allows providers to quote patients directly about how they’re feeling and responding to treatment.
Digital innovations in the unit’s rehabilitation equipment include a brain retraining machine, a zero-gravity harness and a bariatric room for morbidly obese patients.
There’s also what’s called the ADL suite, short for Activities of Daily Living. It looks like a small one-bedroom apartment and allows patients to practice cooking, doing laundry and other household activities they’ll need before returning home.
The physical rehab unit – located on the fifth floor of the hospital’s Tower A – has 28 new private rooms and a large multipurpose room where patients can watch TV, have coffee and interact with visitors and their providers.
Such interactions not only improve care in the unit, but also provide a model for each patient’s transition back home. Family and caregivers will be encouraged to participate and observe treatment whenever possible.
The unit embodies a shifting trend in healthcare. Instead of sending a patient directly home after an acute condition is treated, the recovery unit allows them to spend more time gaining strength, mobility and eventually a better overall outcome, say hospital officials.
It’s the first of its kind in Osceola County, where the healthcare market is growing alongside the booming population. The rehab unit helps patients avoid being readmitted to the ER because of preventable complications and shortens their recovery time, said hospital officials.
A Level II Trauma Center, Osceola Regional continues to grow, renovate and add services, including its new Comprehensive Stroke Center. The physical rehab unit is just a fraction of its $50 million expansion and complements the hospital’s overall vision to serve the community, said CEO Davide Carbone.
Carbone said Osceola Regional is building relationships with area home healthcare agencies and other related medical service provider to continue expanding the healthcare network in Osceola County, although the hospital also serves southern Orange County too.
“Many of our trauma and stroke patients previously had to travel outside of the county to receive acute inpatient rehabilitation care. This center will allow these patients to receive rehabilitation care right here at Osceola Regional.”