Frequently Asked Questions About Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

General Questions

Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation: What's the difference?

Inpatient rehabilitation generally refers to physician and therapy services you receive during a stay in a hospital.

Outpatient rehabilitation refers to services you receive when you are not admitted to the hospital, such as physician services and physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

What is a physiatrist?

A physiatrist is a doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Physiatrists diagnose and treat conditions using:

  • Rehabilitation techniques
  • Medical management
  • Pharmacotherapy

They look at patients holistically to:

  • Restore function
  • Overcome physical limitations
  • Prevent impairment

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Who benefits from inpatient rehabilitation?

To be eligible for inpatient rehabilitation at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, a doctor must first diagnose you with a condition that requires the services of an acute inpatient rehabilitation program, such as daily rehabilitation nursing and physician care.

Then, to participate in inpatient rehabilitation, you must:

  • Be medically stable.
  • Have functional deficits or needs that can be addressed through rehabilitation techniques.
  • Be able to tolerate and benefit from three hours of a combination of skilled therapies — physical, occupational, and speech — throughout each day.
  • Anticipate to make progress toward functional goals within a reasonable time frame.

How does the staff know my individual rehabilitation goals?

Either prior to admission or at the time of admission, the institute staff talks with you and your family about rehabilitation goals and provides necessary information to answer questions.

During your initial assessment and throughout your rehabilitation stay, you and your treatment team will discuss:

  • Your goals
  • Your progress towards reaching your goals
  • Any barriers to achieving your goals

How do I get referred to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute?

If your doctors or therapists think that you need inpatient rehabilitation, they will consult a physiatrist or a rehab liaison to review your medical status and your progress in therapies.

If your needs are consistent with the criteria for acute inpatient rehabilitation, the rehab liaison will work with you to provide additional education and identify possible facilities.You also may call 1-877-AT-REHAB (28-73422) for more information.

What types of insurance do you accept?

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute accepts insurance from many companies.

Your admissions representative or rehab liaison can assist with insurance questions. Or, you can call 1-877-AT-REHAB (28-73422).

Can I get an in-person tour of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute facilities?

Yes, the institute staff gladly gives tours to prospective patients and their families or health care providers.

To arrange a tour, talk to your admissions representative or liaison, or call 1-877-AT-REHAB (28-73422).

You also can see our locations page for pictures, directions, and more information about our inpatient rehab facilities.


Your Stay at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

How much therapy will I receive each day?

Your patient care team specifically tailors a treatment plan for you. In general, patients at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute receive three hours of rehabilitation per day, at least five days a week.

In order to be prepared for discharge, you are expected to use the skills learned in therapy throughout the rest of your day.

How often will a doctor see me?

This depends on your individual circumstances. Generally, a doctor will see you at least daily while you're in inpatient rehabilitation.

Can family members visit me during my stay?

Yes. We encourage family members and friends to visit.

During rehabilitation, you will work with a treatment team that will help you reach your rehabilitation goals. Along with you, your family members and friends are an important part of this team.

Throughout your rehab stay — and especially close to discharge — we invite your loved ones to participate in family training so they will be prepared to help you after you leave the hospital.

What if I need emergency or specialty medical care while I am at the institute?

Because our facilities are located in acute care hospitals, patients at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute have access to top specialists in a variety of areas and medical services for routine matters and emergency situations.

What kind of clothing should I pack for my stay?

Visit the What to Expect During My Stay page for a packing checklist, offering a complete list of what you should and shouldn’t bring for your stay in our rehabilitation unit.


Outpatient Rehabilitation

What conditions do you treat for outpatients?

Physiatrists treat a wide range of diseases and conditions, including:

  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Stroke
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Adult spina bifida
  • Amputation
  • Joint replacement
  • Pelvic, prepartum, and postpartum pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Work injuries
  • Sports-related and overuse injuries

Physical, occupational, and speech therapists also treat many conditions and injuries on an outpatient basis, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Back, shoulder, and neck pain
  • Facial and jaw pain
  • Balance disorders
  • Inner ear problems
  • Hand injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Knee and leg injuries or pain
  • Lymphedema
  • Neurology disorders
  • Speech disorders
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Work-related injuries

How do I receive services as an outpatient?

Service Type Contact
Outpatient physician services Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
1-800-533-UPMC (8762)
Outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy UPMC Centers for Rehab Services
1-888-723-4CRS (4277)

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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