BVHS Opening First Acute Rehab Unit In Hancock County

(From Blanchard Valley Health System)

Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) will soon open the first 12-bed Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU) in Hancock County. In the ARU, patients receive a minimum of three hours of physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy five days each week, a more rigorous therapy schedule than a patient might experience in a skilled nursing facility. However, they generally spend less time in the ARU, with an average stay of two weeks.

“We are committed to investing in programs and services that enhance the quality of patient care and increase our community’s access to essential services to improve patients’ functional abilities and independence,” said Myron D. Lewis, president and chief executive officer at BVHS.

“Patients will need to be able to tolerate this more intense approach to rehabilitation,” said Jessica Moore, RN, director of inpatient nursing. “It will not be the right fit for everyone, but the right patient will find that it may allow them to heal more quickly and return home after completing rehab. We expect the ARU to allow us to discharge patients sooner and reduce the likelihood they will be readmitted to the hospital.”

Before discharging a patient to the ARU, the inpatient team at Blanchard Valley Hospital will determine whether that patient is a good fit. The majority of patients in the ARU are expected to be those recovering from stroke or traumatic injuries.

Construction is ongoing on the fourth floor of BVH, and the organization is now seeking associates to work in this new unit.

“We are repurposing existing space that has been underutilized,” Moore said. “This will allow us to better meet patient needs by adding the ARU to the continuum of care that includes existing BVHS services such as skilled nursing care at Birchaven Village or the extended recovery unit at Bluffton Hospital. ARU care has not been available in Hancock County before, and we know that there is a need and patients will benefit.”

“Patients should experience a seamless transition, simply moving from the sixth to the fourth floor of BVH,” said Craig Hughes, ATC, AT, operations manager of rehabilitation and sports medicine. “They will receive the same quality care. Whether the patient goes to the ARU or to skilled nursing, the goal remains the same: to get the patient as healthy as we can while helping them return to their previous level of function.”

The ARU at BVH will include a room for activities of daily living, designed to look and feel like home, with a simulated bathroom and kitchen. This will allow patients to practice everyday skills like cooking or washing clothing, so healthcare professionals can see if they need help or are ready to safely perform these activities upon returning home.

There will also be an activity and dining room. Social interaction between patients is woven into the ARU approach.

“Social interaction has a healing component,” Hughes said. “We know that patients who are more engaged with others tend to fare better both physically and mentally.”

BVHS is currently hiring registered nurses and licensed practical nurses for day and night shifts at the ARU. The organization will begin hiring for clerical staff and patient care technicians in March. Associates can begin training immediately and will assist in other departments until the ARU opens.

Previous acute care or rehabilitation experience is helpful, but not required. Many experienced nurses are already preparing to work at the ARU, so newer nurses early in their careers are also encouraged to apply.

Moore said it should be an exciting place to work because the ARU looks at the patient holistically. Nursing works closely with case management, physical and occupational therapy, social work, and physicians.

“You will get to see these patients get better,” Moore said. “Some may be struggling to walk when they arrive, but you will see them regain their independence. This should be rewarding work and is a real opportunity to witness how nurses make a difference in their patients’ lives.”

BVHS is partnering with Lifepoint Rehabilitation, a business unit of Lifepoint Health and a leading provider of rehabilitation program management services for more than 200+ centers and other post-acute and outpatient care settings across the nation. Lifepoint Rehabilitation will support BVHS with management programs and best practices in quality rehabilitation services. Nurses working at the ARU will be BVHS associates.

“BVHS has a long-standing reputation for clinical excellence, innovation in patient care, and outstanding quality outcomes,” said Russ Bailey, president of Lifepoint Rehabilitation. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with BVHS as we implement programs best tailored to meet patients’ needs and provide local employment opportunities. We share in the organization’s commitment to excellence and care philosophy.”

“The new rehabilitation unit at BVH will offer exceptional care to patients recovering from serious illness or injury, including stroke and brain injury,” said Barbara Pasztor, RN, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer at BVHS. “We believe that working with Lifepoint Rehabilitation will advance rehabilitation services available to our patients and help to establish our hospital as a regional center of excellence.”

For more information about openings at BVHS, please visit