VA offers inpatient rehab services to help Veterans regain independence

If you have been seriously injured, undergone surgery, or experienced a stroke, your doctor may have recommended rehabilitation to help you recover. The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center offers Inpatient Rehabilitation (Rehab), which helps many Veterans regain and attain their highest level independence.

Lanise Jamerson is a nurse manager who has been working for VA for 18 years. She says that the main goal of VA is to provide quality care. rehabIt is to help Veterans get back to work as soon as possible after an injury or illness.

Katie Watson is a physical therapist who works with James Fast, an Army Veteran. He is then discharged to go home.

“I don’t think people realize how well inpatient rehab works to get people back to their normal lives,”Jamerson. “My husband had a stroke and it really helped us when we got home. We want our Veterans to realize it not only helps them as the patient, but their loved ones as well.”

The hospital’s 15-bed Rehabilitation Unit provides acute rehabServices available 24 hours a days, seven days a semaine. The team includes professionals skilled in many different areas who are available to offer service to Veterans in harmony and with other VA providers.

Dr. David Jennings is a physiatrist who moved to the VA from the private sector just over a decade ago. He says he loves the work he does here.

“The VA is a smaller, more connected setting, so when someone leaves rehab, I can tag their Primary Care provider in the notes,”Jennings. “We want to help our Veterans accomplish their goals and get home. We do what we can to help them be successful.”

Customized care plan

Rehab partners with Veterans and their families to create a personalized care plan and set goals. Plans could include family training and education support to help with a safe transition back home. This is something that Army Veteran James Fast and his wife Debbie experienced recently.

Fast, who had served as a military cop from 1972-1974 was discharged from Inpatient Rehab Unit at January’s end, having spent 157 consecutive days in various hospitals.

“All I can say is that I’ve had blessings and miracles,”Fast. “My experience at the VA has been very good, and everyone has been so positive. They gave me the incentive and motivation to keep pushing. No one thought I would be this far and it’s amazing. I’m sore and tired, but it’s worth it.”

Fast’s wife, Debbie, has been by his side watching him go through one health issue after another, including a stroke, blood clots, and a brain bleed.

“We’ve been on a long journey, but the care we have received in rehab at the Muskogee VA has been wonderful,” said Debbie. “The aides, therapists, nurses, doctor, social worker, and everyone else involved just made it an enjoyable experience. This was the first place I felt comfortable to leave him by himself at night to stay home and do things I needed to do. He was barely walking a step or two when we first got here, but now he can stand, sit, get up out of the bed and is walking with his walker. It is amazing what all they’ve done, and we just feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to come here.”

Tiffani Mathews, a Public Affairs TCF Intern at Eastern Oklahoma Health Care System, is Tiffani Mathews

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