No one ever plans on being hospitalized. Even if you opted for an elective surgery (like a total knee replacement) you probably didn’t plan on having that knee operated on in the first place.

The fact is, many people who are healthy end up hospitalized for one reason or another, and, never planned or wanted to be there in the first place. Elective surgery, trauma, stroke, emergency heart surgery, fainting, dizziness, pneumonia are all possible reasons as to why you might end up in a hospital.

What is worse, hospitalization is scary! I know. I’ve already been hospitalized, twice!  You’ve also probably heard that hospitalization for prolonged periods of time can be bad for your health. This is because most of your time in a hospital is spent lying in bed, doing absolutely nothing. This is the opposite of what most individuals are accustomed to do on a daily basis:  getting up at a certain time of day, self dressing and grooming, cooking/feeding, walking, driving, sitting, standing. These activities are repeated on a daily basis which keeps your circulation up, your muscles strong, and your body healthy.  Unfortunately, the endless hours of being motionless in bed decreases the body’s health by unimaginable bounds. I can’t tell you how many people tell me they feel weak and powerless after laying in bed for just 24 hours.

Worry not! There is hope! In almost every acute care hospital, a Physical Therapist is ready to help you regain what you have lost. Regardless if you are in the emergency department, post-surgical recovery units, short stay/observation units, or general medical units – all these areas of the hospital typically have access to a Physical Therapist.  As Physical Therapists are experts of physical health and recovery, they can help speed up your recovery by improving your mobility and getting you stronger. Additionally, they can address the factors which have lead to your hospitalization. By providing strategies, exercises, and routines as how to reverse each factor of hospitalization, Physical Therapists will not only help restore your health, they will teach you how to prevent them from occurring again.

If hospitalized for pneumonia, a Physical Therapist can prescribe breathing exercises, give you manual therapy to improve the circulation in your lungs, and teach you how to properly engage your muscles of breathing.  If hospitalized for a car accident after which you can no longer walk independently, a Physical Therapist can teach you how to get around in a walker, crutches, and/or wheelchair.  If you hospitalized for dizziness or fainting, a Physical Therapist can help differentiate why you feel the way you feel, and, possibly make the problem go away forever!

If you are hospitalized, be sure to ask for a Physical Therapist and take control of your hospital experience.

Contributed by Dr. Ben Fung, DPT


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