“Short-term rehab at Christian Health Care Center is the benchmark for excellence!”

Valerie and Jerry Shurko

Valerie and Jerry Shurko

Like most couples married for nearly a quarter century, Valerie and Jerry Shurko have shared countless milestones, journeys, laughs, and tears. What sets the Ramsey couple apart, however, are dual short-term rehab stays at Christian Health Care Center last year. Mr. Shurko was a patient on The David F. Bolger Post-acute Care Unit for three months after suffering a stroke; Mrs. Shurko’s two-week stay following a left-knee replacement came shortly after her husband was discharged.

“Short-term rehab at Christian Health Care Center is the benchmark for excellence,” says Mrs. Shurko, who underwent rehab at three other facilities for two hip and right-knee replacements. “The care is excellent. The staff is excellent. The food is excellent. The facility and grounds are beautiful. The Center is perfect in terms of providing everything that a patient needs.”

The Shurkos’ introduction to short-term rehab at CHCC came through visiting a neighbor.

“As we visited her and watched her progress, we saw the very tender care that she received and how much her family appreciated the way she was cared for,” Mrs. Shurko says. “So when Jerry was ready to be discharged from The Valley Hospital to short-term rehab, I wanted him to come to Christian Health Care Center because of the wonderful care that our neighbor received.”

When Mr. Shurko arrived at CHCC, his left arm and leg marginally functioned and he was unable to stand and walk. Physical therapists focused on strengthening muscles through traditional exercise, exercise machines, and hand weights. Occupational therapists concentrated on accomplishing day-to-day tasks, such as getting dressed and performing household tasks.

“I couldn’t stand on my own when I came to CHCC,” says Mr. Shurko, a retired electrical engineer. “I would have been happy to have left using a cane, but the rehab staff wouldn’t hear of that. I was able to walk out on my own. It’s not what I expected of a rehab center. It was grand!”

In addition to physical, occupational, and speech therapists, Mr. Shurko’s multidisciplinary team included clinicians, dietitians, social workers, activities staff, and chaplains. Individuals requiring short-term rehab following a stroke are just a portion of the patient population. Others who may also benefit include those who are recovering from cardiac surgery or pneumonia; have a chronic illness, such as cardiac disease, renal disease, or diabetes; or have had a joint replacement, such as Mrs. Shurko.

“Jerry’s care at CHCC was so, so wonderful. I knew exactly where I wanted to go for rehab following my knee replacement at The Valley Hospital,” she says.

Mrs. Shurko’s physical therapy took place in the new 14,000-square-foot Bolger Gym & Wellness Center. The goal was to strengthen her new knee and upper-arm muscles.

“The new gym is fabulous!” Mrs. Shurko says. “Through physical therapy, I became stronger and learned to stand and breathe correctly. Because I delayed the knee replacement for years, my posture was bent and I favored my right side to compensate for the pain on my left side. I left with such a greater range of motion than when I came in.”

Occupational therapy took place in the new Transitional Care Suite, which includes a kitchen/dining area, family room, laundry room, bedroom, and bathroom.

“I made pizza in the oven. I took all the ingredients out of the refrigerator. I worked in the sink. I did the dishes. I changed bedding. I did laundry,” says Mrs. Shurko, who arranged test drives of BMW for national automotive journalists before she retired. “I proved to myself that I could accomplish these tasks. The suite is so well-designed.”

While the Shurkos praise the benefits of CHCC’s state-of-the-art apparatus and technology, they give equal credit to the staff for their successful short-term rehab.

“Everyone is so kind and patient. It is remarkable,” Mrs. Shurko says. “There’s friendliness here. Everyone speaks so nicely to each other and about each other. The employees are very, very supportive of one another. I think that the criteria for hiring at CHCC is that everyone must smile!”

For more information about short-term rehab, call (201) 848-4463, email khockstein@chccnj.org, or click here.

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