PINEHURST – Debra Ashburn spent two weeks in FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital after complications of multiple sclerosis led to the above-knee amputation of her left leg.
From an inpatient floor, she went directly to the on-site FirstHealth Inpatient Rehabilitation, where she spent another 22 days regaining her strength and adjusting to life without a lower limb.
Throughout those three-plus weeks of therapy, Ashburn was coaxed, cajoled, instructed and encouraged by a team of rehabilitation professionals that she had known about through her role as a registered nurse on Moore Regional’s 2 Neuro medical floor, but had never personally needed their assistance.
When she left, she had a clearer understanding of why the inpatient rehabilitation program had long been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Facilities (CARF). A few weeks later, she celebrated the news that the program had been reaccredited for the eighth consecutive time.
“They encouraged me,” Ashburn says about her inpatient rehab team. “They were incredible, just absolutely incredible. They taught me all kinds of tricks and were very, very patient with me.”
An independent, nonprofit accrediting body, CARF was founded in 1966 to establish consumer-focused standards to help rehab organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. Accreditation means that an organization has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality and is committed to pursuing excellence.
The new accreditation covers both the inpatient rehab and adult hospital inpatient rehab stroke programs.
“Accreditation assures patients and their families that their needs and preferences will be met, we will be their advocate, goals will be individualized with their input, and the entire rehab treatment team will work together to accomplish them,” says Linda DeYoung, administrative director of FirstHealth Rehabilitation Services.
According to David Botnick, DPT, director of Inpatient Rehab and the Acute Care Therapy programs, the Inpatient Rehabilitation goal is to maximize patients’ medical and functional recovery so they can achieve the highest possible quality of life and independence and be discharged back into the community and home.
“Our treatment team works closely with our physicians through a coordinated, interdisciplinary approach for each patient,” he says.
“Therapists, nursing, social work and case management all meet regularly with our physicians to discuss progress toward patient goals, treatment objectives and effective patient discharge planning – all while providing the emotional support and encouragement that patients need to make great strides in their recovery.”
Another goal is individualized care, according to Laura Kelly, R.N., clinical director of Inpatient Rehab Nursing.
“We assist patients and provide them with the education and equipment to do as much for themselves as they can,” she says. “Our goal is for patients to be able to go home, so we encourage them to do as much for themselves as they can.”
Ashburn, who was recently fitted for a prototype of her prosthetic leg, would agree. She plans to make the most of the outpatient therapy at FirstHealth’s Aviemore Drive program in Pinehurst that she was to begin after getting the new leg.
“I can go anywhere in this wheelchair,” she says, “but I don’t want to live in this wheelchair, and I don’t plan on doing it.”