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The New Rehabilitation Institute at Palmdale Regional Medical Center

Palmdale Regional Medical Center is bringing advanced rehabilitation treatment to residents of the Antelope Valley. Our new Rehabilitation Institute offers you and your family high-quality, specialized rehabilitation treatment that is close to home. 

The new Rehabilitation Institute at Palmdale Regional provides a higher level of therapy for patients who would otherwise need to go to a long-term acute care facility or a skilled nursing facility. Our focus is to restore function and enhance quality of life for people with disabling physical or neurological conditions. Our interdisciplinary care teams provide individualized care for a variety of conditions including spinal cord injury, stroke, brain injury, and other illnesses and injuries.

In this segment Ryan Tingey, the Associate Administrator of Palmdale Regional Medical Center and Teresa Mendoza, RN. the Director of The Acute Rehabilitation Unit at Palmdale Regional Medical Center discuss this exciting new advanced treatment center.

Learn more about the new Rehabilitation Institute at Palmdale Regional Medical Center
The New Rehabilitation Institute at Palmdale Regional Medical Center
Featured Speaker:
Ryan Tingey & Teresa Mendoza, RN
Ryan Tingey is the Associate Administrator of Palmdale Regional Medical Center.

Teresa came to work for UHS in 2004 and has cared for a wide variety of patients including ICU, medical/surgical and cardiac telemetry patients; emergency room patients and acute inpatient rehabilitation patients. Teresa is also a nurse educator and our informatics resource. She is a nursing leader who has both a broad range and depth of clinical experience but whose passion is working with the acute inpatient rehabilitation patient.

RehaMelanie Cole (Host): Palmdale Regional Medical Center is bringing advanced rehabilitation treatment to residents of the Antelope Valley. This new rehabilitation institute offers you and your family high-quality, specialized rehabilitation treatment that is close to home. My guests today are Ryan Tingey--he's the Associate Administrator of Palmdale Regional Medical Center; and Teresa Mendoza--she's the Nursing Director of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit at PRMC. Welcome to the show, both of you. So, Ryan, I'm going to start with you. Tell us about the focus of this new unit and what's involved.

Ryan Tingey (Guest): So, this new unit is focused around rehabilitation services for patients who have had some sort of a condition that has led them to a hospital stay elsewhere in the community, but that need follow-up care in an environment where they can receive intense therapies to return them back to home and daily living. The unit itself is a 27-bed unit. All of the rooms are individual patient rooms. We've got room for therapy space right on the unit where our physical therapists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists work with them at a minimum of three hours a day. We've got a transitional apartment to prepare them to return back to the home environment, as well.

Melanie: Teresa, what conditions are going to be covered by this rehabilitation unit?

Teresa Mendoza (Guest): The conditions that we'll be covering here at the rehabilitation unit are stroke, spinal cord injury patients, patients who have suffered brain injury, traumatic brain injury. We see patients who have received a multiple trauma from things such as auto accidents. Those are the conditions that we'll be seeing here, primarily here on the unit.

Melanie: Are there certain parameters for people to be able to be seen on the unit and is it both inpatient and outpatient, Teresa?

Teresa: It is inpatient care. Yes, there are some parameters that the patients do have to meet. One of those parameters are the patient has to have made significant progress within a certain timeframe. They also need to be able to tolerate three hours of therapy per day. That three hours is not a three-hour block all at one time, that three hours is spaced between the different modalities that we have here. You'll spend an hour or 45 minutes or so with different occupational therapies, or physical therapies, or speech therapies, whatever our medical director has determined that the patient needs to reach the highest level of functioning.

Melanie: Ryan, tell us about the team that's involved in this new unit.

Ryan: We've got a number of different caregivers that work with the patients during their stay. The nurses play a critical role. So, we've got nurses and CNAs that work with the patients daily. We've also got a number of different types of therapists that work on the unit. Physical therapy--a majority of our patients have physical therapy. We also have speech and occupational therapy, and then we've got a dedicated physician that is responsible for the unit. Her background is in physical medicine and rehabilitation, so she works with each of these patients throughout their stay on the unit.

Melanie: Teresa, what's meant by a higher level of therapy for patients who would otherwise need to go to a long-term acute care facility? What does that mean for the patient?

Teresa: What that means for the patient is rather than receiving therapy three times a week, or at a smaller length of time, they'll be receiving therapy three hours a day for the length of their stay. And normally the length of stay for an acute inpatient rehab varies, but it's much longer than an acute inpatient stay. Traditionally, a stroke patient can be here from 12-15 days. So, it's 12-15 days of intense daily therapy of three hours a day. It really pushes a patient; it challenges the patient.

Melanie: And then, what about the family? Ryan, where does the family fit into this picture of this more intense bit of therapy?

Ryan: The family plays a critical role there and that's part of why this unit is so important to the community. All of our rooms have sleeper sofas in the patient rooms, so that family members can spend the night with them. When the patients are eating in our dining room that's on the unit, we encourage the family to come and participate there as well. Part of what we're trying to do is not only educate the patient on how life may be different following their stay here, but also the family on how they will help their family member who’s recovering from perhaps a stroke, where they're no longer able to function in the same way that they may have been able to prior to that event. So, having the family here throughout the stay is very helpful as we educate them in how to care for that family member when they return home.

Melanie: Speak, Ryan, if you would please, about some of the innovative equipment that you've put into this unit?

Ryan: We've got a dedicated gym on the unit. One piece of equipment that we're really excited about is called the “Bioness Gait Training System”. And this particular piece of equipment runs along a track in the ceiling and includes a harness that the patient wears while they do their therapy. This helps for a number of reasons. One, is it's best for patient safety. It helps avoid patient falls. As some of these patients are learning how to re-walk, it helps alert the therapist and secure that patient if they give way or start to lean to one side or the other. So, the therapists use this piece of equipment along with other pieces of equipment that they place under the track to practice different therapies. So, for example, they may have steps, and so the patient practices going up and down steps underneath this track while they're wearing the harness. It allows us to do certain therapies sooner than we might be able to do otherwise and to do it in a safe way.

Melanie: Teresa, what can patients expect following their stay at the Rehabilitation Institute? What happens next?

Teresa: Part of the discharge planning that we do is we schedule services on an outpatient basis to where we connect them with the home health services and follow up rehabilitation services. We assess what the needs of the particular patient are in the home and we make sure that we have those services set up and provided for them.

Melanie: Ryan, in just the last few minutes, what would you like to tell people about the new Acute Rehabilitation Unit at Palmdale Regional Medical Center? Why do you want them to come there and seek treatment there? Tell us about it.

Ryan: The unit provides a service that was not available in the Antelope Valley prior to its opening and so we're really excited to be able to provide a service to the local community. Up until this point, patients would have a stay in a hospital in the Antelope Valley, and then, most likely, were transferred to a facility that was outside of the community. We've talked a little bit about the impact the family plays in patient's development and recovery. So, it's important for them to be able to seek that care here locally. We want to be able to provide the full continuum of care for patients here, locally. So, this is an important step for us in being able to do that. This also helps up to be more of a regional medical center for patients in our community. We want them to look to Palmdale Regional to provide their care.

Melanie: Thank you so much, both of you, for being with us today. You're listening to Palmdale Regional Radio with Palmdale Regional Medical Center. For more information, you can go to That's Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Palmdale Regional Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. This is Melanie Cole. Thanks so much for listening.