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Norton Community Hospital once again among top 10 percent of inpatient rehab facilities in the nation

Friday, August 23, 2019

Norton Community Hospital once again among top 10 percent of inpatient rehab facilities in the nation

Six years ago, Castlewood, Virginia, resident Ken Reppe suffered a stroke and brain bleed, and his family was told to prepare for the worst.

He underwent a craniotomy procedure that removed a portion of his skull. The procedure saved his life, but it was unclear if he would ever walk, talk or function normally again. That, however, was before he spent four weeks in Norton Community Hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation department.

“Ken was essentially a large newborn. He recognized his family, but not his surroundings, and he couldn’t eat or sit up,” said Melanie Reppe, Ken’s wife. “But the rehabilitation team at Norton Community worked with Ken and our family and helped all of us adjust and recover.

“Within a couple of weeks, Ken was cutting up and cracking jokes again.”

On April 25, 2015, two years exactly after she had been told to prepare for life as a widow, Melanie stood by Ken’s side as he independently walked his first 5K. Their friends and family were present to cheer them on – and so were many team members from Norton Community.

That standard of care and commitment to patient outcomes has resulted in the inpatient rehabilitation department’s 13th straight ranking among the top 10 percent in the nation for functional patient outcomes.

The ranking was among 868 inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) nationwide that qualified to be ranked in the IRF database of Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR) in 2018. For this ranking, the UDSMR creates a report card that recognizes high-performing facilities for their delivery of quality patient care that is effective, efficient, timely and patient-centered.

“The nurses, therapists and physicians work together with one common goal in mind – for our patients to return to their homes at the highest level of independence possible,” said Brandi Damron, program director for the inpatient rehab unit.

“What makes our team so special is their caring approach and ability to connect with and motivate the people we serve. Our team understands that our patients and families are going through challenging times, both physically and emotionally. This team is able to bring a high level of compassion and commitment to work with them every day, and our patients and families feel that.”

The Reppe family certainly agrees. When Ken broke his hip on June 14, they immediately knew where they wanted to him to recover.

“This is the only place where I feel secure and comfortable leaving Ken,” Melanie said. “We’re fortunate for Norton Community to be so close to our home – I can actually leave him for the night and go home to get some sleep.”

Mark Leonard, CEO of Norton Community Hospital, praised the team’s results as well as its dedication to the unit’s patients.

“Attaining top-decile performance in any undertaking is noteworthy,” he said. “The ability to sustain top-decile performance for 13 consecutive years is extraordinary.

“Our patients and our communities are fortunate to have such highly trained and dedicated professionals striving to provide the best possible care each and every day.”

The rehab unit at Norton Community Hospital first opened in 1998, and since that time, it has served more than 4,000 patients recovering from a variety of injuries, illnesses and accidents such as stroke, brain injury, amputations, trauma, fractures and other disabling conditions.

The team at Norton Community includes physical, occupational and speech therapists; prosthetist; social worker; rehab nurses; and physicians.

To determine the rankings, the UDSMR uses a system that measures the efficiency and effectiveness of a hospital’s rehabilitation programs by evaluating and tracking patient progress through the rehabilitation process. Patients’ functional levels refer to their ability to return to their daily lives and activities without impairment.

The data used for the report was based on 12 months of 2018 data, drawn from both Medicare and non-Medicare patients.

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