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Rehab? Does it happen?

Hi - I am scheduled to have a L4-L5/S1 fusion in May. This is the first time I've ever had any type of surgery like this (besides my c-sects). There are so many questions I have rolling around in my head. One of them is, is there ever a chance that a person is put into rehab after the hospital discharges? I ask because I live in a townhouse where the is many stairs leading to the bed/bath room and I've read conflicting info that says doctors don't want you going up alot of stairs and others say it's ok to do. I don't know what will happen if I can't get about to walk when I can't go downstairs.
Any suggestions?


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    edited 03/12/2014 - 7:22 AM
    Welcome to Spine-Health and how to get started

    The above message and links can be used as a handy reference guide. It will outline how Spine-Health is organized, how to navigate throughout the site, our Forum rules and very valuable FAQ.

    Regarding your questions, here are some things you should read
    40 Questions to ask your surgeon before you have the surgery

    Every doctor is different, every hospital is different. So there are various protocols that are used.

    For many, Rehab (Physical therapy) will start while you are in the hospital. Then when you get discharged, a case manager can make arrangements to have therapists come to your home. For some surgeries, some doctors like to have their patients sent to a outpatient rehab center instead of at home.

    But these are the type of arrangements you want to make before you go in for surgery. You dont want to wait until the last minute and then everything is rushed. Also a lot of this depends on the type of insurance coverage you have.

    I strongly suggest you inquire about the case manager at the hospital. One is always assigned to a patient. If you use them or not, is up to you. But one thing I would ask is about the bed/bath room situation. If climbing stairs is something that your doctor doesn't want you to do initially, then a case manager could arrange to have a commode setup in your house where it would be more convenient.

    I would read that article about questions to ask. Right them down, see which one applies to you. Also, if you have other questions, right them down, do not commit them to memory. While in the hospital, you are in no condition to test your memory.

    Even though your surgery is not until May, you should still contact the hospital, explain your situation, that you are having surgery done there on May xx. You would like to review some of the options that a case manager can help you with. They should be more than happy to assist you..

    Be proactive for this.... It will pay off in the long run.....

    Also, I put a thread together regarding pain medications. Way too often, the patient is properly taken care of while in the hospital, but once discharge, you need to understand what medications you will be on, for how long, etc

    Take a look at Important reading before heading into spinal surgery

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thank you SO much! I will take a look at the questions and bring them to my doctors. I have a consult set up for Monday so I can get things organized. I agree with you, I didn't want to wait until the last minute. I need to know what will happen so my family and support people will know the game plan. I'm a pretty busy person, so time management is very important to me.
    Thank you again! :)
  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 767
    edited 03/12/2014 - 2:54 PM
    Yes, rehab is important for lots of people, especially those that live alone and may have trouble taking care of themselves post-surgery. Or, for those surgeries that are more complicated and have a longer hospital stay, etc. My surgeon asked me all of the questions that would indicate whether or not I would need to go to a rehab facility instead of directly to home after discharge.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • I had fusion of my entire lumbar spine, in 2 surgeries, Dec 18 and 20. After 10 agonizing days in the hospital, I was sent to rehab. I really had no choice as I was unable physically to take any PT from the hospital folks. I LOVED.My rehab experience. I stayed for 3 weeks. There I went from.unable to exit the bed, to walking, fairly well. I had extensive PT AND OT. I am grateful that my hospital experience pushed me into rehab. I needed the encouragement and knowledge. I say if rehab is an option, then take it!!
    Ellen Arnel
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