When Rehab Can’t Wait


At a time when many things have come to a halt due to the ongoing global pandemic, rehabilitative care after illness or injury can never take a day off.

Story by Ann Butenas

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” When it comes to rehabilitative care after an injury or illness, no truer words could be spoken.

One law of rehabilitative care is never give up, because your team of specialists will never let you. And if you feel that you can’t, they will encourage and empower you. It takes time. It requires dedication, sacrifice, and willpower. You may stumble. You may fall. But you will rise up again.

While such expressions are often associated with the one on the receiving end of physical rehabilitation care, those sentiments can also be applied to the health care workers who encourage and support the patients and their caregivers to whom they are tending, especially during a global pandemic.

Whenever we become a patient, whether through illness or injury, we rely on the skills of our attending physician and other health care practitioners to help and heal us. With years of academic and professional experience to our health care workers’ credit, we expect to be treated with the utmost of confidence and care. After all, we are putting our health directly into their hands.

At MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital in Overland Park, Kansas, patients enjoy unwavering commitment from practitioners whose main goal is to help those patients regain independence after a life-changing illness or injury. Through their clinical collaboration and advanced technologies, this team of steadfast individuals operates through an interdisciplinary team approach that includes multiple platforms of care along with the latest in technologies and expertise to help patients achieve their goals.

The Art of Specialty Nursing at MidAmerica Rehabilitation

The Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse designation indicates that a registered nurse has attained specialized expertise in caring for rehabilitation patients. Recent studies published by Rehabilitation Nursing show that working with a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse during rehabilitation can make a significant difference in a patient’s rehabilitation journey, outcome and overall satisfaction. 

Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses specialize in rehabilitative care, helping patients apply skills learned in therapy to activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing and eating, while also meeting any special medical safety needs. For a registered nurse to obtain CRRN status signifies a special commitment to the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse profession, the rehabilitation field and to the patients at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital.  

Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses are more confident in their rehabilitation efforts, handling all aspects of patient care with a confirmed sense of responsibility. This important quality, along with enhanced skills as a rehabilitation nurse, helps Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses provide a more targeted path leading to a patient’s faster return home and back into the community.

But the question remains: Can this be done during this ongoing pandemic, and, if so, how can it be done safely while still achieving objectives and goals for each patient?

Patient care can be defined as more than just the clinical approaches taken. It can also be found in the hearts and minds of those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to support those individuals who have recently transitioned from an acute care hospital, another rehabilitation facility, or who are struggling to remain independent at home. For complete customized rehabilitative care, MARH is the preferred destination. Navigating this journey can be challenging. Fortunately, the doctors, nurses, therapists, and all other clinicians who practice here make that experience less stressful with personalized therapy approaches, a treatment plan tailored to each individual’s health care needs, and a highly-personalized touch … even when Covid-19 has seemed to keep all of us isolated and concerned.

“This is probably one of the safest places to be,” emphasized Karin McCrary, Chief Nursing Officer at MARH, in reference to the facility and the health and safety protocols they have put firmly into place during the pandemic. “We make sure everyone is as safe as possible with the implementation of masks, sanitizers, gowns, gloves, distancing and other protocols.”

McCrary indicated the hospital has been as busy as ever, with a constant flow of patients that has been given the utmost of care no matter the tide of current events.

“I have always felt safe coming to work, even during the peak of this pandemic,” expressed McCrary. “MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital is very proactive and really on top of this, to the point where other hospitals are calling us for advice on those safety precautions, as we tend to be on the leading edge in that regard.”

70% of nurses at MARH are CRRNs.   

McCrary is a stealth advocate of the nursing staff and is there for them no matter what they need.

“I support the nurses so they can give the very best care,” she reflected. “I am grateful for the team I work with. We are really focused on what we can do to get patients to optimal health, living life at the highest level they can live.”

Providing premium health care during a pandemic requires innovation and ingenuity.

McCrary and her team strive to ensure patients and families have the support systems in place they need. They follow recommendations as provided by the CDC and limit visitors as needed and will do family training in person whenever possible.

In short, MARH carries on with the “business as usual” philosophy but takes every precaution to mitigate the risk the pandemic carries.

“Initially the challenge was the total isolation of patients, which was difficult and heartbreaking,” noted McCrary. “However, we know more now (about the virus), so patients feel more comfortable in this setting.  We’re here to get people stronger so they can go home. Strokes, injuries, and other illnesses still happen in a pandemic, and we also get Covid recovering patients. We are here to help, and whatever we have to do to get them comfortable and engage their support system, we will do.”

No matter what the future holds, McCrary is committed to providing the best care for patients.

“The roles I have had in my 30-year career, which includes working in acute, rehab and oncology care, have all been enjoyable, but rehabilitation care is so fulfilling,” she emphasized. “To see a patient come in who could not walk but walks upon leaving is priceless. You see tremendous care and growth here.”

MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital is recognized by The Joint Commission Disease ­– Specific Care Certification in Stroke, Brain Injury, Amputee, Parkinson’s Disease and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation.  

For More Information

5701 West 110th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66211

913.491.2400     |     encompasshealth.com/midamericarehab