Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s Inpatient Rehab Unit Turns 20 with Grace
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Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s Inpatient Rehab Unit Turns 20 with Grace 

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Norfolk, VA – September 21, 2004 -- Taking a step, saying a word, or lifting a fork – skills once taken for granted – are relearned at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s 9th floor Inpatient Rehabilitation Center. For 20 years, doctors and specialized staff have helped patients forge new lives from tragic situations like trauma, stroke, and disease.

A series of refurbishments and additions are now in place at the rehab center, made possible through the generous support of grateful patients and their families. Here are the real stories of former patients Chris Daily and Raul Pernites.

A gunshot wound left Chris Daily paralyzed on the floor of his family’s grocery store in 1988, days before his 21st birthday. Today Chris lives in Chesapeake with his wife and 14-month-old baby. His family-owned business custom fits patients with medical equipment.

In 1986, 19-year-old Virginia Beach resident Raul Pernites was paralyzed in a diving accident. Now a world-ranking table tennis player, Raul gains satisfaction as Director of Activities and a certified therapeutic recreation specialist at Sentara Nursing Center – Virginia Beach, where he creates a warm home for residents.

At-home settings like a kitchen, computer with internet access, and surround sound movie theater are just part of the renovations to help patients relearn or find new ways of doing what they did before.

The new Volkswagen Jetta donated by Sentara employee Cynthia Smith and hoisted to the 9th floor this summer (covered by local new stations), is now in place in the unit’s "garage" so patients can practice entering and exiting a vehicle safely. The latest in gait training is the Biodex Gait Training System that offers patients valuable audio and visual biofeedback.

About Sentara’s Rehabilitation Network
In 1984 Sentara Norfolk General Hospital opened a specialized acute inpatient rehabilitation unit, which now serves more than 550 patients each year. The unit specializes in neurologic, traumatic, and orthopedic rehabilitation through a team of therapists, physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and administrative staff. The Sentara Rehabilitation Network now provides specialized rehabilitation programs spanning the continuum of care from inpatient and sub-acute skilled rehabilitation to home health services, outpatient rehabilitation and day rehabilitation from 16 locations in the region.

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