Frequently Asked Questions
Are you wondering if rehabilitation is right for you or your loved one? Do you have questions about your upcoming or recent stay at our hospital? Review our frequently asked questions to see if your questions have already been answered. If you have additional questions, please get in touch with us.
What are the hours of your hospital?
Licensed as a hospital, we are staffed around the clock. Visiting hours are every day from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
The cafeteria serves meals from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors may purchase tickets at the hospital Switchboard to buy meals in the cafeteria.
Vending machines are in the dining room for 24-hour use.
Is smoking permitted on your hospital’s campus?
For the health and safety of all, the hospital is smoke free. Smoking is not permitted in the building. Staff can direct you to the only outside area where smoking is permitted for patients and visitors. If you have any equipment such as portable oxygen, IV poles, etc., you are not permitted to smoke without one of our staff members present.
Are pets allowed?
We recognize the therapeutic value of patients being able to be reunited with their beloved pets. We also recognize how much some people love animals and would enjoy Pet Therapy.
If you want to bring in your own pet, the switchboard operator will be happy to give you our policy and direct you to a hospital staff member that can assist you. Of course, the use of leashes and cleaning up after your pet are critical to all of our patients’ health and safety. Clean up is your family’s responsibility.
Does your hospital offer wireless internet?
The hospital has wireless connectivity throughout the building. This means you can use your laptop computer directly from your room.
A computer is located in the north wing patient dining room and can be used by our patients to search the web. This can be done without a password. Simply click and begin using.
What types of insurance do you accept?
Rehabilitation is covered in full or in part by most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Our hospital has contracts with most major insurance companies and is willing to negotiate with other companies as needed.
Do you offer options for patients without insurance or the ability to pay for rehabilitation?
Yes, special self-pay arrangements can be made prior to admission to our inpatient and/or outpatient services.
What should I do if I have questions about my bill?
If you have questions regarding a bill received from our hospital, please contact our patient accounting department at 800 873-4220 or 814 944-3535.
How can I contact a patient at your hospital?
If you would like to speak to a patient at our hospital please call the switchboard at 800 873-4220 or 814 944-3535.
Can family members stay overnight with a patient?
Family members may be encouraged to stay overnight in special circumstantial cases; however, the hospital protects patient privacy as its foremost concern and typically does not put a primary importance on overnight stays.
How do I apply for an open position at your hospital?
To apply for an open position, please take a look at our career opportunities and click on the position you’re interested in. Our site will take you to an online application.
Do you offer volunteer opportunities?
Yes, please contact our human resources department at 800 873-4220 or 814 944-3535.
Can I complete observation hours at your hospital?
Yes, please contact our human resources department at 800 873-4220 or 814 944-3535.
Does your hospital have CRRN®s
Yes. Currently, over 76% of our bedside nursing staff holds CRRN credentials separating HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Altoona from other inpatient licensed rehabilitation hospitals.
How do I choose a rehabilitation facility?
To decide the best rehabilitation facility for you or your loved one, it is important to know that there are different kinds of facilities from which to choose. Maybe you have heard the terms used to refer to those choices: skilled nursing (or sub-acute rehabilitation) facilities, nursing homes, assisted living centers and inpatient rehabilitation hospitals. Although all of these facilities have rehabilitation professionals on staff, only one specializes in rehabilitation—the inpatient rehabilitation hospital.
Because its primary focus is rehabilitation, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, like our hospital, provide a higher level of care distinctly different from other facilities that offer rehabilitation services.
Inpatient rehabilitation hospitals:
- Provide more intensive therapeutic services
- Provide access to more physician specialists with expertise in treating patients with disabling injuries/illnesses
- Have a higher percentage of registered nurses skilled in rehabilitation nursing
- Have the most highly trained therapists
- Offer the most innovative therapeutic programs
- Have the most up-to-date technologies and facilities
- Provide comprehensive patient/family education
When considering your rehabilitation options, the most important question to ask is, "Which level of care best meets my needs and will help achieve my goals?"
How is inpatient rehabilitation different from other kinds of rehabilitation?
Our hospital provides acute rehabilitation, a level of care quite different from other facilities that offer rehabilitation services. That difference is evident in several important ways.
At our acute rehabilitation hospital, our patients have access to an extensive complement of independent physicians trained to provide the comprehensive medical management needed to help patients achieve optimal health and independence. The complement of physicians includes:
- Independent, private practice Internal Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians maintaining offices at HealthSouth.
- Numerous other independent, private practice consulting physician specialists, including pulmonologists, orthopedists, cardiologists, neurologists and neuropsychologists.
Acute rehabilitation hospitals provide a higher level of therapeutic services than other rehabilitation facilities. Although the intensity and duration of therapies depend on the patient's needs and capabilities, our hospital is equipped to provide each patient with therapeutic services up to seven days per week, for three or more hours a day.
The intensity and availability of therapeutic services provided through inpatient rehabilitation result in a high level of functional outcomes and discharges to the community. In fact, patients admitted to a rehabilitation hospital are three times more likely to go home than those admitted to a skilled nursing facility.
As with medical and therapeutic services, acute rehabilitation hospitals provide a distinctly different level of nursing care than other rehabilitation facilities. At our hospital:
- A 24-hour team of registered nurses and personal care assistants assess and attend to each patient's needs. They work in partnership under the primary nurse-model, which assures continuity of care.
- Patients receive 6-8 hours of nursing care each day (compared to four or less hours per day at skilled nursing facilities). This high level of nursing care leads to early recognition/prevention of medical complications, more out-of-bed hours and increased opportunities for patient-family education.
- Fifty percent of nursing staff are registered nurses (compared to 35 percent at skilled nursing facilities).
- Many of our staff nurses are Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurses. Trained to meet the unique needs of individuals with disabling injuries and illnesses, these nursing specialists provide holistic patient care and patient-family education, facilitate carry-over from therapy and reinforce patient goals.
How can rehabilitation help me or my loved one?
The goal of rehabilitation is to help the patient get back home, to work and to the community. After an illness or injury, rehabilitation helps people relearn or learn new ways to accomplish everyday activities, like buttoning a shirt, pouring a drink or even walking. It can also help reduce the debilitating effects of conditions, such as multiple sclerosis.
What types of therapy programs does your hospital offer?
Rehabilitation therapy comes in many forms at our hospital. Click here to learn more about our rehabilitation programs and services.
Can rehabilitation help someone who’s had a stroke?
Many stroke survivors can benefit from medical rehabilitation as part of the recovery process. Rehabilitation can help survivors make the improvements that mean the difference between returning home or staying in an institution. According to the American Stroke Association, 60 - 80 percent of stroke survivors could benefit from an intense stroke rehabilitation program. Depending on the severity of the stroke and where the brain is affected, rehabilitation can help a person overcome many of stroke’s side effects, like slurred speech and limited arm movement.
How long does stroke rehab take?
Rehabilitation can help retrain the brain following stroke, but the length of time and the ability of the body to recover is different from person to person. This largely depends on the type of stroke, the part of the brain that’s affected and how many brain cells die (also known as the “infarction”). Whether the infarction is large or small does not matter as much as what part of the brain is affected. For example, if the brain tissue dies in the interior of the brain, it can cause paralysis on one side of the body. If it is in the occipital lobe area, it can affect vision.
I’ve been told I need to have an amputation. How can your hospital help?
Our hospital can help patients before, during and after an amputation. Our amputee rehabilitation program is specialized to fit a patient’s specific needs. The program includes:
- Before-surgery training for artificial limbs (prosthetics)
- Walking assistance
- Skin care
- Prosthetic care
- Lessons for adapting to everyday activities, like dressing and cooking
- Patient and family education
- Confidence building
Can rehabilitation help someone recover from a broken hip?
Yes. In fact, our hospital offers a “Hip and Healthy” program to patients with broken hips. Our hospital uses proven therapy techniques and technology to help improve hip movement, while also helping patients control pain. The goals of the program are to:
- Get the patient walking independently
- Assist with balance and coordination
- Prevent future falls
- Strengthen muscles
- Build endurance
- Control pain
- Provide ways to easily complete everyday tasks
How can rehabilitation help spinal cord injury patients?
Spinal cord injuries need specialized care for the best therapy results. At our hospital, a full rehabilitation team creates a program focused on each patient’s specific needs. This plan follows the patient from the hospital, to outpatient therapy and back to the community for total rehabilitative care. The benefits of this approach include:
- Availability of on-site medical director
- Personalized therapy for more targeted results
- Improved referral process
- Greater family involvement and education
- Better usage of advanced technology
- Support during rehabilitation and after the patient leaves our hospital
How can rehabilitation help brain injury patients?
Brain injury rehabilitation is challenging for the patient and the family. To get started, our hospital evaluates the patient, forming a rehabilitation program with the following goals:
- Provide rehabilitation based on patient and family needs
- Return the patient to maximum level of living
- Educate the family and patient on brain injury
- Provide support during rehabilitation and after the patient leaves our hospital
- Provide future visits and referrals to other helpful resources
Can rehabilitation help control pain?
Yes. Therapy can help build strength, improve flexibility and relieve pain. For instance, by making leg muscles stronger, an injured knee doesn’t have to work as hard when walking or climbing stairs. This helps reduce pain and chances for further injury to the knee. Rehabilitation can also include medications as part of therapy to control pain for encouraged healing.
Can rehabilitation help with Parkinson’s symptoms?
Our hospital’s Parkinson’s disease program gives patients a chance to reach their highest level of independence. The program teaches patients how to live with the disease, improving physical abilities and skills for completing daily tasks. This includes:
- Looking at each patient’s strengths and weaknesses
- Teaching disease management skills
- Building patient endurance and adaptation techniques
- Improving movement, communication and thinking
- Providing patient, family and caregiver education
- Strengthening the patient’s self-image
- Maintaining care that focuses on independence and safety
I finished rehabilitation and was sent home, but I’m starting to have problems again. Can I go back?
Yes. Whether you stopped therapy before your met your goals, or you’re experiencing new problems, our hospital can come to your home to see if you could improve from additional therapy. If you are not sure you need a home visit, ask yourself the following questions.
- Are you unable to stay at home alone?
- Have you fallen recently?
- Does walking or taking the stairs seem more difficult?
- Have you considered moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home?
If you answer “yes” to any of these, contact us for a home evaluation with a rehabilitation liaison from our hospital.
Does a physician have to refer me to your hospital?
Yes. A physician or discharge planner must refer you for admission to our hospital. This allows us to know all of your medical issues and medications so we can make the best rehabilitation plan for you. The admissions office can answer any questions you have about referrals, admission and insurance. It can also work with your physician to arrange a referral.
Can I be admitted to your hospital from home?
Yes. At our hospital, you don’t have to go to the doctor’s office to be admitted. We can send someone to your home to begin the admission’s process. If we believe rehabilitation can help you improve, we will contact your physician for a referral.
Can your hospital determine whether I need rehabilitation or not?
Yes. At our hospital, you don’t have to go to the doctor’s office to be admitted. We can send someone to your home to talk to you about your condition. If we believe rehabilitation can help you improve, we will contact your physician for an evaluation.
How do you arrange a transfer from another facility?
Most patients come to our hospital following a stay in an acute care hospital. However, if for some reason you are not originally referred to us for rehabilitation, talk to your physician or contact us to be transferred to our hospital.
What can I expect when I am admitted to your hospital?
During your first few days at our hospital, your treatment team will conduct various evaluations so they can establish your treatment plan and estimate how long you may need to reach your goals.
Each day you will engage in a rehabilitation program designed just for you. The intensity and duration of your therapies will depend on your needs and capabilities. Each week, your treatment team will meet to discuss your progress, goals and discharge plan.
Your rehabilitation program may also include a family conference at which you and your loved ones can discuss your treatment plan with your rehabilitation team. Sometime during your stay, you and one of your therapists may venture out into the community so you can evaluate your abilities in real-life situations. Also, toward the end of your stay, one of your therapists may visit your home to evaluate it for safety and accessibility.
How is my treatment plan decided?
We use a team approach for patient therapy. The following specialists are on each patient’s therapy team:
- Physiatrist – supervises the rehabilitation team
- Case manager – works with patient and family to schedule admission, rehab team meetings, referrals and insurance
- Neuropsychologist – helps patients and families adjust to sudden disability
- Physical therapist – assists in increasing patient’s physical mobility
- Occupational therapist – assists patient in reaching independence in daily activities
- Speech pathologist – resolves speech issues through therapy and specialized treatments
- Respiratory therapist –works with higher need patients and can assist patients in getting off a ventilator
What role will my family play in my rehabilitation?
Your loved ones are an integral part of your rehabilitation. In fact, we consider them part of your treatment team.
Therefore, your family is always welcome during visiting hours and can ask to attend your therapy sessions so they can see what you are learning and how you are progressing. Our staff also provides ongoing education to help you and your family understand your diagnosis, promote your continued good health and prepare for your return to the community.
What personal supplies should a patient bring when starting rehabilitation at to your hospital?
- Patients should bring the following items:
- Shirts/blouses with button fronts or pullovers that fit easily over the head
- Comfortable slacks, sweatpants or a sweat suit
- Athletic shoes with good support
- Pajamas or gown, robe, slippers
- Toiletry articles such as toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, hairbrush, deodorant, etc.
- Any corrective devices, such as dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.
- Any custom devices, such as splints or braces
What happens when I go home after rehabilitation at your hospital?
We work with each patient on how to best move back home. This includes showing therapy exercises and recommending devices that can help the patient further improve once at home. If a nurse is needed at home, we can help arrange that, as well.