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Rehab Puts Recovery in Reach

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On March 29, the team at Shannon Rehabilitation Hospital, an affiliate of Encompass Health, got to celebrate a moment they have been preparing for months for—welcoming their first patient. With the opening of the hospital, which is a joint venture of Shannon Health and Encompass Health, the nation's largest owner and operator of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, comes a much-needed new health care service to the Concho Valley.

"Currently, patients in need of a hospital-level of rehabilitative care would have to drive 100 miles," says Tracie Watkins, a San Angelo native and former nurse at Shannon Health, who returned home to serve as the chief executive officer at the hospital. "Having served in leadership roles at other Encompass Health rehabilitation hospitals in Texas, I have been able to see the great asset this care will be to our area, and I'm thrilled to be leading the great team that will be making new possibilities happen for our patients."

The next step in recovery

The hospital serves patients recovering from debilitating illnesses or injuries, including strokes and other neurological conditions, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and complex orthopedic conditions that are cared for initially at an acute care hospital like Shannon Medical Center. Shannon Rehabilitation Hospital is the next phase in the patient's recovery journey when they don't have the strength or function to return home immediately.

Patients stay at Shannon Rehabilitation Hospital for an average of two weeks, but the length of stay varies based on the diagnosis and the severity of the patient's condition. During their stay, patients receive at least three hours of customized therapy for five days each week, which can include physical, occupational and speech therapy. They also get 24-hour specialized nursing care, frequent visits by a physician specializing in rehabilitation, access to other specialized physicians and medical management from an in-house pharmacist.

"Many of our patients come to us unable to walk, talk, swallow or perform basic self-care activities," says Tracie. "Our ultimate goal is to help our patients reach their medical and personal goals so that they have the function, strength and confidence they need to return back to the community and the people and activities they love most."

A personalized experience

The hospital features 40 private patient rooms, a spacious therapy gym, cafeteria, dining room, pharmacy and day room areas. One other unique amenity is an activities-of-daily-living suite, which simulates a patient's home and allows the patient to practice tasks such as bathing, getting in and out of the bed, loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, and making a meal.

"After a patient experiences a stroke, they may be left with paralysis and unable to do simple tasks like buttoning a shirt, something we all take for granted being able to wake up and do each morning," Tracie says. "Upon their admission, we assess where they need help and learn about their day-to-day activities, so their therapy can be personalized to the tasks they're used to doing."

Rehabilitation technologies also flank the therapy gym and are incorporated into a patient's therapy. These include a bodyweight-supported gait trainer that allows a patient to practice walking and climbing stairs without the fear of falling, an electric stimulation device that helps retrain muscle movement, and an interactive technology that allows the patient to practice hand-eye coordination and auditory and physical tasks in a game-like experience.

To learn more about Shannon Rehabilitation Hospital and its services, visit or call 325.284.4000.