H-HEALTHY LIVING

Feb 23, 2011 3:02 PM by Carina Corral

Sneak peek at Arroyo Grande Hospital's new Acute Rehab Center

The Central Coast will get its first look at the new Acute Rehabilitation Center at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital at this evening's Hard Hat Kick Off Mixer, but yesterday KSBY News was given a tour of the $3 million facility that is still under construction.

Come July 1, the hard hats will be gone and men at work will be replaced with people working to get their lives back after experiencing disabling injuries or illnesses.

"Mainly mobility issues (such as) walking, ambulating, being able to get up and down from a chair.. bathe and clothe yourself, as well as some cognitive issues (such as) making sure you're able to multi-task and you're able to care for yourself at home," said the center's Medical Director Dr. Richard Martin.

The state-of-the-art center will be staffed with nurses and social workers; physical, occupational, respiratory and speech therapists; as well as family physicians and prosthetic specialists to help patients recover from strokes, major multiple trauma, brain injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic dysfunctions and degenerative neurological disorders.

"As it exists right now our patients have two choices: one is to accept an inappropriate level of care and the second is to go outside the area. The nearest acute rehab is to the north of us in Salinas 100 miles away or a hundred miles to the south in Santa Barbara," said AGCH President Rick Castro.

Complete with seven rooms each with two beds, patients will be treated at the center for extended periods of time.

The importance of family being close by to be supportive of their loved ones and take part in the daily rehab is something Dr. Martin cannot stress enough. "The idea that you're going to maximize a person's independence you need help from family members. You need them to come in be supportive of the patient. You need them to get trained so when the patient does get discharged they'll be able to do as much for the patient at home as possible. And those are insurmountable obstacles when you have to travel a hundred miles away."

It is a 5,700 square foot extension of the hospital, but more importantly it is an extension of the community that is offering a service not yet provided on the Central Coast.

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