Preparing for Acute Rehab (ARU) – Level II Fieldwork / Your First ARU Job

Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

Congratulations on your next big step! Here are some helpful hints to help you prepare for ARU.

Familiarize yourself with:

(in no particular order)

  • Common conditions and treatment planning for them (and their progression):
  • Various transfers sequences, and equipment associated with them
  • Precautions & Weightbearing status
  • Medications (pain, sleep, hypertension, psych, muscle relaxants, DVT prophylaxis, diuretics, bowel care, diabetes, etc.)
  • Lab values
  • Abbreviations accepted by the facility
  • DME/Adaptive equipment – which is covered under Medicare?
  • Donning/doffing orthotics commonly used, e.g. Cervical collars, TLSO, PRAFO
  • Donning/doffing equipment, aids, personal devices (e.g., SCDs, embolic stockings)
  • Outcome Measures:
  • Chart Reviewing
  • Checking for orders
  • OT Evaluation
  • OT Progress Note
  • OT Reassessment
  • OT Discharge Summary
  • Documenting a Medical Exception (and what is considered one vs. not)
  • ADLs:
    • Safety concerns for team
    • Transfer sequence for nursing
    • Toileting method for nursing
    • When is a shower appropriate, what needs to be covered/protected from water?
  • Vital signs and abnormal values
  • Dysphagia levels, aspiration risks, head of bed elevation
  • Managing lines and medical devices

Nice to know

  • Theoretical frameworks (depending on your facility’s background/culture):
    • Neurofunctional approach
    • Biomechanical model
    • NDT
    • CBT
    • GMI
  • Roles of each discipline: MD (hospitalist, physiatrist, rheumatologist, etc), RN, CNA, PT, SLP, SW, respiratory, dietician, spiritual care, psych, imaging, EVS/custodial
  • Insurance: Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Worker’s comp, no insurance
  • Discharge planning: Home health vs. Outpatient OT
  • Discharge destinations: Home vs. SNF vs. board and care vs. memory facility/LTAC vs. CNS, etc.
  • Estimated length of stay and discharge date
  • Referral sources: driving evaluations, psych, neuropsych, opthamalogist, CNS
  • Hospital emergency codes (blue, red, green, white, etc.)
  • Diagnostic imaging & tests: CT, MRI, ultrasound, panels, x-ray, lumbar punctures, etc.
  • Operation of vitals machines, Hoyer lifts, bariatric equipment
  • Location of equipment, supplies, tools, etc.
  • Department meeting agenda
  • Department fall risk protocol
Jeff is a licensed occupational therapist and lead content creator for OT Dude. He covers all things occupational therapy as well as other topics including healthcare, wellness, mental health, technology, science, sociology, and philosophy. Buy me a Coffee on Venmo.