St. Luke's University Health Network


    • St Lukes Expands Acute Rehabilitation Center

St Lukes Expands Acute Rehabilitation Center

St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem Opens Expanded Acute Rehabilitation Center

Acute Rehabilitation Center - SimulatorE

ARC Simulator

Occupational Therapist Hemali
Patel, OT, R-L, demonstrates
new technology called ReoGo®,
a virtual reality robotic therapy
tool that helps to retrain arm

Bethlehem, PA. (9/4/2013)St. Luke's University Hospital – Bethlehem has opened a newly expanded and refurbished Acute Rehabilitation Center to serve the needs of area patients from St. Luke's and from other area facilities. The center offers a full spectrum of rehabilitation services for individuals who have experienced a catastrophic illness or injury. Patients are coached through various therapies to recover skills to live as independently as possible after hospitalization.

Individualized Treatment Team and Programs

Acute inpatient rehabilitation consists of at least three hours of therapy per day, minimally five days-a-week. St. Luke's operates therapy every day on the unit. Some of the conditions treated in the acute rehabilitation unit include brain injury, stroke, joint replacements, amputation, multiple traumatic injuries, neurological disorders, movement disorders like Parkinson's Disease, spinal cord injury, heart disease, arthritis and burns. Each patient's treatment program is individualized to his or her needs. The treatment team may consist of a physician or rehabilitation neurologist, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language therapists, rehabilitation nurses, a social worker, psychologists and a recreational therapist.

“This unit is designed for patients who were recently hospitalized, recovering and need extensive rehabilitation in order to return home and function,” said neurologist Robert Coni, DO, Medical Director of the Acute Rehabilitation Center at St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem and Chief of Neurology for St. Luke's University Health Network.
“The benefit of having this unit in the hospital is that the physicians who cared for the patient while in the hospital are able to follow up with the patient in this inpatient rehab center. If medications need to be changed or the patient needs additional medical care, the physicians are available to do that without the need to transport the patient to another facility,” he explained.

The existing unit, originally opened in 2006, had 16 beds. The new unit offers an additional 15 beds for a total of 31 to accommodate the number of patients needing intensive or “acute” rehab services. Patients stay between 12 to 24 days in the unit to complete the therapies with additional support in outpatient therapies after discharge, said Dr. Coni.

New Technologies Offered

The $2.3 million construction project offers new technology in addition to the new rooms, like robotic technology with a virtual game platform to help patients simulate tasks like cooking. Other new technology includes a ceiling-tethered seat that holds a portion of a patient's body weight while still allowing for the person to be able to walk and complete simple exercises to improve strength and coordination, according to Michelle Cardinale, MPT, Therapy Program Manager.

Certification by CARF

St. Luke's Acute Rehabilitation Center is the only area facility featuring a neurologist certified by the Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) as its medical director. The center is also accredited by CARF with Stroke Specialty Certification for treatment of patients recovering from stroke.

Dr. Robert ConiDr. Robert Coni is the Chief of Neurology for St. Luke's University Health Network and the Medical Director, St. Luke's Acute Rehabilitation Center. He earned his medical degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology. Dr. Coni completed his rotating internship at Peninsula Hospital Center and his residency in neurology at Albany Medical College Hospitals. He is board-certified in neurology and is a Diplomate of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. Additionally, he has been named a certified surveyor by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). Dr. Coni has also achieved subspecialty certification in Neural Repair and Rehabilitation by the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties.

For more information, call St. Luke's Acute Rehabilitation Center at 484-526-4242 or St. Luke's InfoLink toll-free at 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537).


Denise Rader
Director, Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network

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