Special unit helps seniors transition from hospital to home

Following hip surgery due to a serious fall, 95-year-old Elmer Harris no longer required hospital care but was not ready to safely return home. Instead, he was admitted to the Restorative Care unit (RCU) at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre, where he flourished under the unit team’s care.

“He can get up from a chair, transfer in and out of a bed and dress himself, which he couldn’t do prior to admission. The only thing he needs help with is his stockings,” says Amy Yarbrough, Occupational Therapist.

Elmer Harris (centre) with his specialized healthcare team (from left): Stephanie Martin, 6Y Physiotherapist; Shelley Jensen, Unit Manager; Amy Yarbrough, 6Y Occupational Therapist

A stay on the RCU gives patients the opportunity to transition from life in hospital to life at home. Patients dress in everyday clothes, take their meals in the common area and are encouraged to be active.

“This is all about collaboration, and everyone works well together. Our team helps people get home,” says Stephanie Martin, Physiotherapist.

Since April 2015, the 10-bed unit has admitted 33 people, 27 of whom have been discharged and 17 returned home.

“The success of this program is due to our multidisciplinary team; we’re like family coming together to give patients the best care possible to help them return home,” says Shelley Jensen, RCU Unit Manager.

Amy credits Elmer’s work ethic and the team’s encouragement with the success in getting him home.

“It is very rewarding; this is why we work here and why we work in rehab. We want to restore people back to function. We work to get you to a level where you can get home or discharge you to a safe location.”

In addition to the 10 RCU beds, the unit operates a well-established and successful subacute care program of 20 beds. 

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