You are here

New appliances help Bluffton Hospital rehabilitation patients

Rehabilitation patients at the Bluffton Hospital swing bed unit will get a better chance to practice their household living skills with the arrival of several new appliances. This is expected not only to help their caregivers in discharge planning, but also to help patients themselves gain confidence.

The hospital recently acquired a washer and dryer, as well as a stove and oven range, through a grant from the Ruth Welty Endowment Fund.

Emily Koogler, LSW, CCM, social worker-case manager for Bluffton Hospital, said that if a patient is completing rehabilitation after an injury, they need to demonstrate their ability to take care of themselves adequately before they can be discharged. 

So, they are asked to demonstrate their ability to perform household tasks, like cooking a meal or loading laundry into a washer.

“We have previously had patients simulate these tasks, using a counter to stand in for the washer or the stove,” Koogler said. “Having the actual appliances means they can demonstrate performing the tasks. This will allow their caregivers to conduct a more well-rounded assessment of their abilities.”

She said associates can better gauge when patients are ready to go home, reducing the likelihood of readmission. It will also allow the unit to offer more occupational therapy services.

The stove and oven will give residents practice cooking meals to make sure they’re ready to do so at home. Koogler said using a real stove can also give caregivers a better sense of safety issues.

“For example, someone with a cognitive health issue such as early dementia might be more likely to leave the stove on,” she said. “Having patients first use a stove in a very structured setting like this, with other people observing them, increases the likelihood of spotting any such concerns before they go home to cook unsupervised.”

“I’m excited about seeing how practicing these skills will not only help residents improve their physical health through rehabilitation but their mental health as well,” Koogler said. “Knowing that they are demonstrating real tasks will likely boost their confidence. And their families will be able to see them demonstrating what they can do, as well.”

For more information on the swing bed unit at Bluffton Hospital, please visit