Rehabilitation Facilities

When designing rehabilitation facilites (be they stand-alone for acute or long-term care or hospital departments), initial considerations must be made to defining the project budget and patient population. Defining the type of rehabilitative care offered by a facility depends on the community's needs and the services already available in the region. If a facility is being planned with college and high-school aged athletes in mind, the space and equipment needs will differ greatly from a center for geriatric patients. There is an overwhelming catalog of exercise equipment and machines available for the rehabilitation community, but in order to efficiently (and economically) plan facilities, it is most important to recognize the needs of the patient population and how those needs might evolve over time.

When purchasing large (and expensive) pieces of exercise equipment, it is most important to consider the needs of the physicians and clinicians who will be utilizing them for therapy services. While rehabilitation equipment advances that are shiny and new are appealing to architects and planners of therapy facilities, clinicians are typically weary of how new technology may affect their practice (though most vendors often offer trial periods with new equipment). Keeping physicians and clinicians happy is a fundamental factor in staff retention - which in turn, improves patient satisfaction and maintains a consistent level of quality care.

*Each rehabilitation center will have a different referral base, finances, and space, there is no single must-have equipment list for every center. However, listed are general equipment pieces that are versatile and will not break the budget or space considerations.

These include:
  • Therapeutic bands
  • Swiss balls
  • Cuff weights
  • Therapy wedges
  • Mats
  • Balance boards
  • Treadmills
  • Pulleys
  • Bicycles, elliptical and stair machines for transitional equipment
  • Multicenter gyms with a small footprint that have exercises for both upper and lower extremities; or
  • Ultrasound and electric stimulation machines for pain-reducing modalities.
PT_equip1 PT_equip2
Equipment for rehabilitation centers ranges from the extremely high-tech (systems like the TechTrainer pictured at left) to the low-tech, including balance balls, weights, handrails and stairs.

While rehabilitation equipment will almost always be involved in a therapy regimen, the most important component of effective treatment is the therapists themselves - trained in specific disciplines related to physical, occupations, pulmonary, geriatric, athletic, or other fields, they provide individualized treatment solutions, as well as providing motivation and emotional support to patients.

Valenza, Tor. "What Do You Need?" Rehab Management: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Rehabilitation Aug.-Sept. 2007. Web. 01 Apr. 2010.

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