Acute Rehabilitation Unit

Your Road to Recovery


 Sometimes, a fall, stroke, or accident can be a life-altering experience. When they are, you or a loved one may need the assistance of a dedicated team to help you on your road to recovery.

At Sanford Bemidji Medical Center's Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU), our purpose is to help you get the most out of life. Our focus is on you and your recovery, and our expertise helps us assist you along the way.

Our Patients

The ARU serves patients recovering from a variety of medical conditions. Many times patients come to the ARU following a stroke, serious injury, or orthopedic surgery. The unit is designed to provide a short stay to stabilize a patient’s condition, complete a pre-determined treatment plan, and to increase endurance, functional level, and independence. Our goal is to provide a home-like environment that is comfortable and supportive to encourage patients to recuperate and regain as much independence as possible.

Services are provided for patients who have suffered functional losses due to a disabling illness, as well as the following rehabilitation diagnoses: 

  • Stroke (CVA)
  • Congenital deformities
  • Major multiple trauma
  • Closed head injuries
  • Amputation
  • Polyarthritis (including Rheumatoid Arthritis)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Hip fractures
  • Hip and knee joint replacements that require medical follow-up
  • Orthopedic dysfunction

Degenerative Neurological Disorders, including:

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Guillain Barre
  • Other progressive neurological impairments

The Unit

The daily routine in our ARU is quite different than a hospital stay. In order to achieve the rehabilitation goals prescribed and to prepare a patient for the next phase of recovery, it is important for a patient to increase participation in activities of daily living as early as possible. Meals are served on a regular schedule and patients are encouraged to have all of their meals in the Acute Rehabilitation Unit dining room. Highlights of the unit include: 

  • Acute rehabilitation in a hospital-based setting
  • 17-bed unit featuring a therapy gym, training kitchen, group dining/social area
  • Professional team of medical staff, nurses, and rehab staff
  • Minimum of three hours of physical, occupational, and speech therapy per day
  • Primary goal is to return to previous living setting
  • Daily physician coverage
  • 24-hour emergency access
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Medicare covered
  • Family involvement encouraged

The Rehabilitation Team

While in the ARU you are surrounded by a caring group of highly-trained professionals.  They will work as a team to help you prepare for living outside of the hospital again.  We can’t say that this will be an easy road for you—it’s work—but it may be the most important work of your life.  And you won’t be alone…we will take this journey with you. 

A team of specially trained professionals work together to create a personalized treatment program specifically designed to help patients become stronger and more independent before leaving the unit.  Team members may include the following: 

  • The Medical Director is a physician specially trained in rehabilitation who will coordinate the overall treatment program.
  • Rehabilitation Nurses provide around-the-clock personal care and support and will teach you and your family more about your abilities and treatments.  They take a holistic approach to meeting patients’ medical, vocational, educational, social, and spiritual needs.
  • Physical Therapists teach exercises that may help improve strength and mobility.  If necessary, they will also instruct on safe and correct use of mobility devices such as walkers and canes, braces, and artificial limbs.
  • Occupational Therapists focus on improving everyday living skills, including bathing, dressing, and eating.  They may also provide training on equipment that will help to better perform these activities.
  • Speech and Language Pathologists assess and treat a patient’s ability to communicate, problem solve, and reason.  They may also address problems with swallowing.
  • The Medical Social Worker explains the different details of a hospital stay, explores the many changes in life after a disabling illness, and coordinates the patient’s care while in the ARU as well as discharge planning.
  • Other individuals on the rehabilitation team may include a psychologist; audiologist; family physician; recreational therapist; dietitian; pharmacist; vocational counselor; an orthotist, who designs and fits braces; a prosthetist, who creates and fits artificial limbs; and family members.  Family members are an integral part of our team and are encouraged to participate from the initial assessment through the daily treatment regimen, discharge planning, and post inpatient phases.

The team meets weekly to discuss your progress and current treatment. We encourage all patients to participate in this plan process to prepare them for their discharge destination.

The team may recommend a home assessment in order to assess mobility and medical equipment needs within the home environment or a brief therapeutic pass to assist with the transition of re-entry to the home and community.

Your Passport Home

Sanford Bemidji Medical Center's Acute Rehab Unit can be your Passport Home following an illness or traumatic injury.  Even if you obtain some of your healthcare elsewhere, you may still be able to complete your road to recovery, such as rehabilitation therapy, right here in Bemidji where you will be closer to home and family.  Sanford Bemidji Medical Center and the Acute Rehab Unit can provide you with everything you need to become stronger and more independent before leaving our facility. 

The Screening Process

CRITERIA:  A patient must be able to withstand a minimum of three hours of therapy a day in at least two different therapies (i.e. physical, occupational, and speech therapies).

Sanford Bemidji Medical Center's Acute Rehabilitation Unit accepts referrals from physicians, social workers, rehabilitation nurses, case managers, patients, and their families. A free pre-admission screening is required for a candidate to be admitted into the ARU.  Part of this screening is to determine a patient’s ability to withstand the intensive therapy provided at the unit, a total of three hours of two different therapies daily.  The unit’s medical director is responsible for making the admission decision based upon specific acute inpatient rehab criteria.

For additional information or to make a referral, call (218) 333-5931.


Acute Rehab Unit (ARU)