What to Expect as an Inpatient
Working Toward Your Goals from Day One in the Brain Injury Unit
The first two days of your stay at Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI) are very important, so the patient's family or caregivers should plan to be present at that time.
Your first day at RHI will be light to allow transition time for getting settled.
- The nurse will greet you when you arrive
- The nurse will do a head-to-toe assessment and ask you questions about your health
- A visit with your rehabilitation doctor is possible depending on what day you arrive
The second day will be composed of assessments.
- Meet with Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, and Neuropsychology who will each assess abilities and help set goals
- Meet your care coordinator
- Talk with your rehabilitation doctor (if not done on day one)
Within the First Week
You will meet your ongoing therapists, who have specific training and experience with therapeutic interventions for patients at all levels of injury. You will meet with other health care professionals as needed, such as a clinical dietician, wound care nurse, rehabilitation psychology, recreation therapy, and respiratory therapy. The team will meet to discuss your treatment plan and goals and to develop a tentative discharge date.
Sample Daily Routine and Expectations
Patients receive a minimum of three hours of individual one-to-one therapy, 5 days per week. Time not spent in therapies can be used to rest and visit.
6:00 - 8:30 am*: Wake up, get dressed, and eat breakfast
8:30 am -12:00 pm: Morning therapy sessions
12:00 - 1:00 pm: Lunch (in common area) and rest
1:00 - 5:00 pm: Afternoon therapy sessions
5:00 - 6:00 pm: Dinner (in common area)
6:00 - 9:00 pm: Relax and get ready for bed
*Occupational Therapy or Speech Therapy may work with you before or during breakfast, depending on your specific therapy needs.
Length of Stay
The average length of stay on the Brain Injury Unit at RHI is 15 days, and your length of stay will be determined by your specific needs. Patient progress and goals will be evaluated on a weekly basis to ensure the provision of appropriate treatments, training, and care at the patient’s current functional level. Approximately 70% of patients are discharged to the community after their inpatient stay.
All the caregivers were VERY professional and caring. The best experience I have had at any hospital.
What Else to Expect on the Brain Injury Unit
Our goal is for patients in our brain injury program to regain as much independence as possible. The following are tips for better outcomes.
- Caregivers and families are encouraged to be fully involved in the recovery and therapy process. Research indicates that patients make more progress when caregivers are involved.
- The brain injury unit is designed to be a low-stimulation environment (quiet, calm, healing) to prevent agitation and allow patients to participate in daily routines to their full potential.
- While working toward independence, patient safety is the highest priority. Therefore, patients will be asked to wait for staff members to assist them with daily activities, including self-care, transfers, and toileting. Caregivers may assist their loved one once training with therapy has been completed.
- See the Brain Injury Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for additional information.
Working with an Interdisciplinary Team
During your time at RHI, you will be working together with an extraordinary team catered to your specific treatment. Your team may consist of several staff members collaborating to make sure your rehabilitation experience is the best it can be. Check out the list of staff that could make up your team:
The OT checks current abilities and develops a treatment plan for meeting goals in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) including:
- Self-care, such as dressing and bathing
- Leisure, such as hobbies
- Work-related tasks
- Problem solving to accomplish any of the above
- Fine-motor skill development and strengthening, such as hand and arm exercises
The PT checks current physical abilities and develops a treatment program for meeting goals in:
- Mobility needed for ADLs such as exercising muscles and joints, moving in bed, using a wheel chair, transferring (for example, from the wheelchair to the toilet)
- Walking with or without equipment
The SLP works on communication, cognition, and eating skills including:
- Listening, understanding and remembering what is heard in a conversation
- Thinking quickly and putting thoughts into words
- Sounding out words and explaining ideas
- Reading, understanding and remembering what is read
- Writing and putting thoughts into writing
- Cognitive skills needed to complete IADL’s (meds, finances, scheduling, etc.) including problem solving, memory, attention, reasoning, mental flexibility
- If necessary, chewing and swallowing food since this involves the mouth and throat
The TR helps patients and families apply skills learned in rehab to activities that support personal growth and active community participation:
- Developing self-confidence and comfort in social situations both at home and in the community
- Experiencing individual and group activities to practice skills and develop strategies to nurture friendships and social support networks. Examples: athletics, travel, music, art, and hobbies as well as field trips to restaurants, theaters and sporting events
- Finding new ways to pursue old interests through adaptations
- Identifying new areas of interest
The neuropsychologist tests for thinking abilities and provides help with:
- Understanding the links between brain injury, brain functioning and behavior
- Attention, memory, problem-solving skills, language skills and other areas of thinking
- Vocational recommendations
- Adjusting and coping with changes from a brain injury
The rehabilitation psychologist meets with patients, family and significant others to help with adjustment to hospitalization and disability. The psychologist collaborates with the rehabilitation team to support psychological and interpersonal functioning.
The Case Manager coordinates discharge plans and communicates with insurance or other payers about benefits. The Case Manager shares this information with the rehabilitation team to develop a plan that maximizes the rehabilitation stay. The Case Manager may have a background in either social work or nursing.
Doctors in the rehabilitation field who receive advanced training and certification in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Physiatrists are experts on how nerves, muscles, bones, and the brain work together. They look at the whole person, not just one symptom or condition.
Rehabilitation Nurses are very involved in teaching both patient and family about care needs and routines and have a variety of responsibilities:
- Monitor and oversee daily care
- Teach and help patients and families practice care routines
- Administer medication and teach patients and families about scheduled use and possible side effects
- Collaborate with other team members regarding rehabilitation goals and needs for community reentry
Depending on your specific treatment regimen, you might also need these specialized services:
- Spasticity is common for patients who have had a brain injury. The interdisciplinary team will help manage your spasticity during the inpatient stay and will continue treatment seamlessly through the RHI Outpatient Spasticity Clinic.
- Visual deficits are also common for patients with brain injury. Our specialized Vision Rehabilitation Team specializes in providing restorative and compensatory training for changes in vision resulting from a brain injury. Our partnership with the IU School of Optometry provides neuro-optometry evaluations during the inpatient stay.
Brain Injury Inpatient Program Overview (PDF)
Download or print this 2-page handout about inpatient brain injury care at RHI >
Dr. Sheryl Katta-Charles
I love a good story. So I became a rehab doctor where I get to help people (re)write their stories.View Biography See All Staff Bios