Inpatient Programs

Pioneering Rehabilitation

Orthopedic Rehabilitation Program


Orthopedic Rehabilitation Program Description

The goal of Burke’s Orthopedic Rehabilitation Program is to return you home ready to resume an active, productive lifestyle following orthopedic injury or surgery. Most of our patients return home within one or two weeks. We serve adolescent through elderly patients with diagnoses such as bilateral hip and knee replacements,  complicated single joint replacements, hip resurfacing, lower extremity fracture and multiple traumas. Within a safe, secure and structured environment, you will receive intensive therapy six times a week. Rehabilitation nursing and access to a physician is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The interdisciplinary rehabilitation team (see below) consists of you and your family or caregiver, and medical, nursing and other rehabilitation specialists. Led by Nomeda Balcetis, M.D., Bento Mascarenhas, M.D., Karen Pechman, M.D., or Sudhir Vaidya, M.D., the professionals on the team will assess your medical and rehabilitation needs and work with you to establish your individual goals. In close collaboration, the team designs and implements your treatment program. The doctor monitors the overall team process and outcome. 

Throughout your treatment, the entire team meets formally once per week to discuss your progress. Family members and caregivers are encouraged to attend and participate in treatment sessions and patient care as appropriate. You will receive ongoing training from each discipline throughout your stay in order to achieve your goals.


Scope of Services 
The orthopedic program provides care to all patients admitted secondary to musculoskeletal dysfunction resulting in decreased functional ability. Patients present post surgically or following traumatic injury to the musculoskeletal system and require the level of care provided by an acute rehabilitation hospital. Each orthopedic patient will receive a minimum of 3 hours of therapy a day, 5 days per week, generally Monday through Friday, and a sixth day of therapy, generally Saturday, for 1-2 hours. Skilled therapy will be provided in a combination of physical therapy and occupational therapy and/or speech therapy if needed. 

The Orthopedic Team is committed to ensuring that each individual’s needs are addressed by:

  • Providing rehabilitation through an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes communication, collaboration and cooperation
  • Lessening limitations of activities by focusing on the individual’s capabilities and utilizing compensatory strategies and devices
  • Providing the highest quality, patient focused rehabilitation
  • Removing or lessening restrictions to participation in life situations to the extent possible
  • Providing counseling to the individual and family and/or caregiver on alternative possibilities for life participation when necessary
  • Preparing the individual, family and/or caregiver to make the transition to the next stage of the rehabilitation process.

Cultural and religious needs are respected for each patient by the entire team. Accommodations to the patient’s schedule, dietary needs and requests, and the provision of appropriate equipment are provided to enhance the patient’s experience and support full participation in the rehabilitation program. All staff members participate in annual cultural diversity and sensitivity training.

Within the scope of the orthopedic program, patient evaluation and care planning are designed around traditional medical disablement models.  These models assess three levels of dysfunction which stem from the patient’s admitting diagnosis (pathology).

Impairments:  Weakening, damage, or deterioration of function within a specific component of the musculoskeletal system, especially as a result of injury or disease

Examples: Decreases in strength, active range of motion, passive range of motion, cognition, balance, and/or activity tolerance along with increases in pain and/or edema                                                                                

Activity Limitations:  The inability to perform a specific task as a consequence of the aforementioned impairments. 

Examples: Difficulty with ambulation, stair negotiation, dressing, grooming or self-care

Participation Restrictions: The cumulative effect of impairments and activity limitations on the ability of a person to participate in life roles. 

Examples: Inability to perform duties as a parent, caregiver, employee or participant in social and leisure activities.

In addition to these medical characteristics identified through the utilization of the disablement model, social barriers to discharge must also be assessed. These factors are societal and environmental by nature and often times they impact the delivery of care and the determination of services rendered upon discharge. 

These barriers can include but are not limited to:

  • Limited transportation
  • Inaccessible living environment
  • Limited caregiver support
  • Insurance benefits/finances

The initial assessment performed by each discipline should capture the patient’s most accurate burden of care via Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scoring. Based upon the results of the initial evaluation, each interdisciplinary team member will create a patient specific plan of care designed to meet each patient’s specific goals. The team will formally meet twice weekly to discuss discharge planning and treatment progress.

Discharge planning begins on the first day of the patient stay with the discussion of follow-up services being initiated by social work. The combination of the patient’s medical, physical and social circumstances will dictate the most appropriate discharge environment from the services available. 

Team Description
Upon admission each patient will be evaluated and cared for by members of the interdisciplinary team. The interdisciplinary team make up is determined by patient assessment, medical needs, rehabilitation needs and predicted outcomes. Based upon individual patient needs, the team may be comprised of individuals from, but not limited to, the following disciplines:

Support services available include:

  • Medical consultation (Psychiatry, ENT, Dermatology, Podiatry)
  • Pastoral services
  • Complementary therapy
  • Laboratory services
  • Prosthetic and orthotic services
  • Pharmacy service
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Driver assessment and education
  • Medical nutrition
  • Radiology

The ultimate function of this team is to create the most appropriate patient specific plan of care. The team’s goal is to help the patient achieve the highest level of independence while setting in place a discharge plan that keeps the patient progressing within the healthcare continuum. In doing so, the team aims to minimize impairments, reduce activity limitations, lessen participation restrictions and achieve predicted outcomes. The ideal outcome is an independent discharge to the community with follow-up outpatient services concurrently arranged.    

According to CMS, the following components must be met in order for inpatient rehabilitation services to be considered medically necessary:

  • There is a reasonable expectation of measurable improvement that will be of practical value to the patient within a predictable and reasonable period of time
  • The patient must require and receive at least three hours a day of physical and/or occupational therapy, (or other skilled modalities including speech-language pathology, prosthetic or orthotic services), at least five times per week. (The patient must require at least two therapy modalities each day.)
  • The patient’s plan of care is developed and managed by a coordinated multidisciplinary team including a physician, rehabilitation nurse, social worker, and a therapist
  • The rehabilitation is provided in an inpatient rehabilitation facility rather than a less intensive setting due to the following conditions:
    • The patient requires 24-hour a day access to a registered nurse with specialized training in rehabilitation
    • The patient requires frequent evaluation by the rehabilitation physician to assess for changes in physical or medical status, and to direct the rehabilitation team.
    • The rehabilitation services require such an intensity and frequency as to make it impractical for the patient to receive such services in a less intense alternative setting.

Admission Criteria
Patients who have the following conditions may be candidates for acute inpatient rehabilitation if their medical conditions limit their ability to be treated at a lesser level of care.  

  • Total Joint Arthroplasty or Revision
  • Spinal Surgery
  • Arthritis
  • Fracture or Reconstruction
  • Multiple Trauma

The following are rehabilitation related admission criteria as set forth by the attending physicians for the orthopedic population.

  • Require more than one therapy discipline.
  • Be alert and oriented x 3 and be able to follow directions.
  • Surgical site is clean, dry and intact.
  • Continent of bowel and bladder
  • Tolerating and progressing in acute care therapy regime:
    • Physical Therapy 2 times daily without refusal
    • Ambulating 5-10 feet.
    • Absence of orthostatic hypotension
  • TTWB and NWB candidates must be approved for admission by a Burke physician
  • Patient has stated a discharge plan from Burke Rehabilitation Hospital.

Discharge Criteria 
The appropriate disposition following discharge requires planning, preparation and counseling by the interdisciplinary team from the date of admission until return to the community. Upon first contact, social work is to initiate the discussion of follow-up services. The patient is provided general information regarding length of stay for their specific diagnosis as well as the preferred venue for follow-up services upon discharge.

The following are the intended discharge environments in order of preference:

  • Home with outpatient services
  • Home with home care services
  • Sub-Acute (Short-Term) Rehabilitation in a Skilled Nursing Facility
  • Long-Term Placement in a Skilled Nursing Facility

Following the evaluation by each discipline, team conferences are held during which each patient is discussed. All members of the interdisciplinary team for that patient are to be present. Following collaborative discussion, the team’s recommended date of discharge and disposition are conveyed to the patient via social work. The patient and family have the right to participate in all discussions regarding discharge and do so at this time. Once the plan is set, the patient is asked to select a provider for follow-up services.  The patient is provided the names of agencies along with all necessary contact information. 

Prior to discharge, patients will be informed of the durable medical equipment (DME) recommended for discharge. If the patient owns the required equipment they are strongly encouraged to bring it to therapy for adjustment and evaluation. If not, patients are to be educated regarding insurance coverage for DME and all necessary equipment should be ordered. This equipment should be received by therapy, evaluated and adjusted appropriately prior to discharge.

Prior to discharge, a re-evaluation will be performed to capture the patients’ functional status and burden of care again via the FIM instrument. If the patient is to be discharged home and is not independent with the performance of a necessary task, family or caregiver training will be undertaken. This should yield an end result of the patient in combination with caregiver support, being independent with all necessary functional tasks.  

Outcome Management and Performance Improvement
The orthopedic program will continuously improve its performance, outcomes and efficiency through the monitoring of various markers.  As a whole, the hospital will evaluate “Core” outcomes which will be consistent amongst all diagnostic specific programs. In addition to these hospital wide core outcomes, program specific outcomes will also be assessed.  These outcomes are specific and appropriate to the population being served. 

Core Outcomes to be monitored by all programs:

  • Length of stay (LOS)
  • Community discharges
  • Falls
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • FIM scores (Change and Efficiency)
  • Three Hour Rule compliance

Program Specific Outcomes for Orthopedics:

  • Discharge on straight cane
  • Range of motion (Knee Replacement)
  • Discharge to the community
  • Independence with self care activities
  • Independence with community mobility and skills

Any outcome found to require improvement will then be evaluated and entered into the continuous quality improvement cycle. This will revolve around the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) model as explained below:

Plan - a change or a process, aimed at improvement.  In this phase, analyze an outcome that is to be improved, looking for areas that hold opportunities for change.
Do - Carry out the change or process (on a small scale). Implement the changes suggested during the plan phase.
Check - the results. After change has been implemented, determine how well it is working through data and outcome analysis.
Act - Adopt the change, abandon it, or modify it and run through the cycle again.

After planning a change, implementing and then monitoring it, you must decide whether it is worth implementing, modifying, or abandoning. A minimum of one Core or Program specific outcome must be entered into the continuous quality improvement cycle each year per program. This outcome or process may be new or a continuation or modification of a study from the previous year. Evaluation of process and outcomes will be ongoing. Outcome monitoring software will be utilized to provide readily available outcomes assessment.  

Educational Objectives
Patient and family/caregiver: 
Patient and caregiver education is the first priority and is considered to be ongoing. Each interaction with therapy and social work should serve as educational. In addition to this goal, education classes and materials may be provided. Education will be diagnosis-specific with a focus on functional independence, adherence to precautions, progress and well being. Dependent upon need, individual sessions may be dedicated to family training, during which a therapist will train family members in the appropriate provision of care and assistance for mobility, self care or exercise performance.    

Educational classes will be held for patients and will be diagnostically exclusive. Classes will exist for total knee replacement, total hip replacement and fracture. These sessions will be used to provide educational materials, encourage group discussion, and group problem solving and serve as support sessions.  

Staff clinical education will be viewed as being of equal importance. In-house interdisciplinary and discipline specific educational in servicing will occur regularly.  Staff will be encouraged and afforded the opportunity to attend continuing education

Documentation Requirements
The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital utilizes an electronic medical record (EMR) which concurrently displays comprehensive charting from all disciplines.  The disciplines that contribute by charting in the EMR include physicians, nursing, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychology and recreational therapy.  In order to ensure that patient related information is current, complete, and compliant with regulatory bodies the following guidelines are in place:

  • Upon admission, each patient will be seen by nursing and an attending physician. Within 24 hours of admission, the patient will be screened and evaluated by physical therapy, occupational therapy and social work. The initial evaluation documentation should be completed within 24 hours of admission. The initial interdisciplinary evaluations will include FIM scoring, which will be utilized to determine the patient’s case mix group by identifying the highest burden of care demonstrated during the initial 48 hour period. The disciplines that contribute to FIM scoring are nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy. 
  • Daily charting can include, but is not limited to, recounting patient interactions, therapeutic interventions and patient’s response to treatment, patient progress, pain levels and discharge planning.  Documentation supporting these interactions should be completed the day the service is rendered.  Any changes or addenda required following the signing of the note in the electronic medical record must be done so according to documentation policy and procedure.
  • If a patient’s length of stay should exceed 7 days, then a re-evaluation should be performed.  Objective data collected on the initial evaluation should be recaptured and achievement of short-term goals should be analyzed.  If the patient’s length of stay is expected to exceed another seven days, then new short-term goals should be set.  If not, the long term goals will become the target.                

 Following interdisciplinary rounds the social worker will present the patient with their recommended date and follow up services. The patient is provided with resources and provided individualized education. This information is charted, and is re-charted if the date or discharge disposition changes. 

A discharge evaluation will be performed no more than 48 hours prior to discharge, regardless of discharge disposition.  Similar to initial and re-evaluations, objective data is collected and achievement of long-term goals is analyzed. Other information to be included is discharge disposition, recommended equipment usage and level of supervision required.

To monitor quality of care and performance, FIM scores are again captured at discharge. In the case of a patient being transferred to an acute care hospital, an interim discharge will be performed. This will capture discharge FIM’s for the patient the day they were transferred.  If they return within a 72 hour window they will be re-evaluated and continue the current stay.  If the absence is longer than 72 hours, a new stay is begun with a complete set of initial evaluations being performed.

Evidence-Based Practice 
Evidence based practice (EBP) is an approach which tries to specify the most appropriate care trends and assist the clinician in appropriate decision making. In the health care area, it encourages professionals to use the best evidence possible or the most appropriate information available, to make clinical decisions for individual patients. EBP promotes the collection, interpretation, and integration of valid, important and applicable patient-reported, clinician-observed, and research-derived evidence. The best available evidence, moderated by patient circumstances and preferences, is applied to improve the quality of clinical judgments and facilitate the highest quality of care. 

Our Program will utilize various methods to incorporate evidence based practice which include but are not limited to:

  • Carefully summarizing research.
  • Making research summaries readily accessible.
  • Educating professionals in how to understand and apply research findings.
  • Encouraging professionals to focus more on available evidence.

Located in White Plains, New York, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital's Orthopedic Rehabilitation Program attracts orthopedic patients from Westchester County, New York City, Long Island, Northern New Jersey, and Connecticut. Burke also welcomes orthopedic patients from across the country and around the world.

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