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Newport Hospital’s Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center Marks National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

physical therapy video still

In honor of National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, the Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center of Newport Hospital is bringing attention to the wide range of rehabilitation services provided to the residents of Newport County.

While many people are familiar with the many outpatient rehabilitation programs of Vanderbilt, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, and cardiac rehabilitation, few are aware of the comprehensive inpatient care provided.

“In our inpatient rehabilitation facility, we have a single goal – helping our patients return home,” said Claudia Wheeler, DO, medical director of Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center. “The highly specialized care we provide in our inpatient unit encompasses a number of specialties that are all focused on getting patients back to the things that they love.”

The 12-bed inpatient unit, which is accredited by the Joint Commission, and the Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for Inpatient Rehabilitation and Adult Stroke Rehabilitation, cares for a wide variety of patients, such as those who have experienced stroke, a brain injury, a spinal cord injury, a bilateral joint replacement, neurologic conditions such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome, amputation, hip fractures, multiple sclerosis and complex medical issues.

Knowing the complexities these patients face, Vanderbilt creates comprehensive care teams that assist patients through every stage of their recovery. The care team can include: rehabilitation nurses; physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapists; a neurologic psychologist and prosthetists and orthotists.

Wheeler points out that Vanderbilt also does something a little different with the structure of the care team. “We have two physicians on that team; one is the attending medical doctor, who manages the patient’s medical problems; the other is a physiatrist, who concentrates on the functional aspects of the patients,” she says.

“As a physiatrist, I’m focused on what some would consider the mundane things patients face – going to the bathroom, going up and down stairs, doing their laundry, taking a shower,” Wheeler explains. “These are all things patients need to be able to do so they can return home.”

And that home setting is something Vanderbilt recreates in the inpatient unit. Patients learn to navigate tight spaces in the mock living room that has a couch, chairs and low tables. The kitchen setup exposes patients to the challenges they may face in their home kitchen. And, a home-like bathroom provides the appropriate setting for helping patients navigate the shower/tub.

Vanderbilt’s location on the sixth floor of Newport Hospital means the patient’s therapy literally extends beyond the unit’s walls. “We are so lucky to be on the sixth floor and have such incredible views of Newport’s harbor, the Claiborne Pell Bridge and the beaches,” says Wheeler. “For many of our patients, they experience our location as therapy. We use these amazing views to help our patients identify key landmarks in the city. Not only is this an important and therapeutic exercise, it’s also fun.”

To learn more about the Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center of Newport Hospital, please visit