Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

We have gathered some of the most common questions from patients and answered them here. If you have a question that is not answered, please contact us through our Contact us page and we would be happy to assist.

Top Categories

Acute physical rehabilitation FAQs

The interdisciplinary team does a full assessment of every patient and establishes a comprehensive list of medical issues and challenges. The rehabilitation team then decides on the correct intensity of intervention for the best possible outcome.  

The rehabilitation programme in the unit includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Participation in activities of daily living (dressing, bathing and bladder and bowel management) in the ward environment
  • Education
  • Assessment and recommendation of assistive devices and therapy equipment
  • Ward rounds
  • Team and family meetings

No, the focus of your intervention is tailored to the challenges or medical issues that arose in the initial and subsequent assessments. It’s important to remember that each patient is unique, both in their diagnosis as well as their abilities. No rehabilitation programme is the same.

Our staff are committed to working with you and your family to ensure the best possible outcome, but you are the most important member of the team and your commitment to your rehabilitation is integral to our success. Your team will expect you to practise the techniques you are taught during your daily therapy sessions so that they can offer you support and guidance, and you can be confident and independent in these activities before you’re discharged.

Most medical aids pay for acute rehabilitation to facilitate return to function and reduce complications. Life Rehabilitation offers a global fee tariff that includes hospital, doctor and therapist costs. This helps preserve patients' medical savings.

Since this is a rehabilitation centre and not a hospital, we recommend that you wear your own clothing and not pyjamas. Patients with families close by are encouraged to have their laundry sent home with them, but if necessary a washing machine and dryer is available for patient use. Please mark all your clothing clearly with a permanent marker.

We suggest you bring the following items to wear during your stay:

  1. Tracksuits
  2. T-shirts or shirts
  3. Short or long pants
  4. Underwear
  5. Socks and closed heel shoes
  6. Pyjamas
  7. Toiletries

Please feel free to make your room more comfortable. Pictures, photographs and personal objects always make it feel that little bit more like home.

Although we do our utmost to ensure the safety of your personal possessions, valuables, money and cell phones, these items are kept on our premises completely at your own risk. We can not accept responsibility for any loss or damage to your personal property. Please enquire with the nursing unit manager regarding the safe lock-up of any valuables.

Yes, we encourage family and friends to visit during the rehabilitation process. Your therapist will advise when your family can attend therapy sessions, as it can be distracting during treatment time. Remember that rehabilitation can be exhausting and rest is of paramount importance: it’s important to strictly adhere to the rules regarding visiting hours and the number of visitors.

Most rehabilitation patients require an adapted diet – at least initially. Please discuss with the dietitian before bringing in any additional food, and make the doctor, dietitian, nursing staff and ward hostess aware if you have additional specific medical or non-medical needs.

Every patient is assessed for their particular therapeutic requirements: your therapy “mix” and focus may therefore differ from your fellow patients. The intensity of therapy delivered is also dependent on your diagnostic category.

In keeping with international best practice, our patients receive daily intervention (based on therapeutic need) five days a week over the length of their stay, with a reduced programme offered on Saturday mornings and most public holidays.

Therapy doesn’t end in the gym, however: patients are expected to carry their newly learnt skills over into the ward environment under the guidance and with the assistance of the rehabilitation nursing team.

We will place a white board above your bed with important information necessary for the team and your visitors to comply with.

This could include:

  • Information on your diet
  • Mobility
  • Assistance required
  • Wheelchair number
  • Other similar information

If you would prefer to not have this information displayed, kindly inform the unit manager who will make alternative arrangements. Regular team meetings are also scheduled where your progress is shared with the rest of the interdisciplinary team.

Yes, if you do not include any other patient in the photographs or in the background of the video without their permission. This is to respect and protect other patients’ confidentiality. We will obtain written permission from you before taking any photographs or video of you, and these will only be used to track your progress and for clinical teaching.

Your interdisciplinary team include:

  • Rehabilitation doctors
  • Rehabilitation nurses
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Neurocognitive psychologists
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Social workers
  • Dieticians

Unit management

A Rehabilitation Practice Manager (RPM) or Clinic Manager (CM) manages our rehabilitation facilities. The RPM/CM is ultimately responsible for the unit’s service quality as well as the strategic, operational and management aspects of running the service. Please feel free to approach them with any queries or concerns that your therapy team haven’t addressed.

Medical care

The rehabilitation doctor sees you daily, including weekends and public holidays, to ensure that all medical issues are addressed. If you need any specialist referrals, the doctor will arrange for a consultation. You can arrange a doctor’s appointment with the ward secretary.

Did you know?

While you are in our care, the rehabilitation doctor can complete your disability and/or insurance forms. After discharge, the doctor in charge of your ongoing care can assist.

Nursing

The nursing unit manager oversees the nursing programme. Our nursing team is here to assist you on your journey and support you wherever they can. They are passionate about rehabilitation and will guide you towards your independence.

It’s important to remember that their focus differs from the acute hospital in that they will encourage you to attempt activities on your own – this is not an unwillingness to assist, or a lack of empathy, but rather one of their specific roles within the rehabilitation team. Should you have any specific needs, please ask the nursing team so that they can assist you accordingly. 

There are four categories of nursing staff, identified by the uniforms they wear:

Category

Uniform

Roles and responsibilities

Registered / professional nurses

Maroon epaulettes

  • Usually in charge of a shift (called shift leader)
  • Make the overall nursing care decisions and interventions
  • Dispense medications your doctor prescribes
  • Handle wound care
  • Allocate daily nursing duties
  • Able to assist with some medical questions and will refer you to the doctor, nursing unit manager or therapist if they’re unable to help
  • Patients should direct any medical or nursing queries to them or the nursing unit manager

Enrolled nurses

White epaulettes

  • Can be in charge of a shift (under supervision of a Registered Nurse) – called shift leader
  • Dispense medications your doctor prescribes (under supervision of a Registered Nurse)
  • Handle wound care
  • Able to assist with some medical questions and will refer you to the doctor, nursing unit manager or therapist if they are unable to help
  • Patients should direct any medical or nursing queries to them or the nursing unit manager

Enrolled nurse assistants

No epaulettes

  • Assist you with your care as per individual needs and requests in the ward

Rehabilitation attendants: nursing

No epaulettes

  • Assist you with your care as per individual needs and requests in the ward

Therapy

The therapy manager or therapy coordinator oversees the entire therapeutic programme. They will be reporting on your progress on a regular basis to you, your family, your funder as well as your referring doctor.

The roles of the therapy team may overlap – below are their specific roles:

Therapy discipline

Role and responsibility

Physiotherapist

Management of your physical mobility

Speech therapist

Management of your language abilities, communication and swallowing skills

Occupational therapist

Management of self-care tasks, daily activities and ordering of appropriate equipment

Social worker

Support you and your family through the entire rehabilitation process, providing counselling, assistance with work-related concerns, and discharge planning

Psychologist

Management of cognitive aspects and counselling when required

Dietitian

Management of specific dietary and nutritional requirements

Assistants / technicians

Assistance with and continuation of activities as your physiotherapist or occupational therapist prescribe

Rehabilitation attendants: therapy

Assistance with basic therapeutic activities as your professional therapy team prescribes

 

It is important that patients and families are able to cope outside the structured ward environment. We require patients to return home on a leave of absence at least once prior to discharge.

This enables you and your family to put your newly learnt skills to the test in a true home environment, so that we can deal with any challenges or obstacles prior to final discharge. There are two types of leave of absence (LOA):


Day LOA

  • Saturday LOA: you leave after your therapy session and return before 6pm
  • Sunday LOA: you leave after breakfast and return before 6pm

Overnight LOA

  • You leave after your Saturday therapy session and return before 6pm on Sunday

Five weekend LOA rules:

  1. LOA is at the discretion of your treating team and won’t be permitted if your rehabilitation doctor deems you medically unfit.
  2. The medical doctor may refuse an LOA if they feel that your medical condition has changed.
  3. It’s standard practice to release the patient into the care of the family: if this isn’t the case, then written consent will need to be obtained from your family before the LOA.
  4. All LOAs will be requested, discussed and authorised during the week prior to the weekend in question.
  5. No LOA will be permitted without prior authorisation, nor will it be granted on a Saturday morning – unless under extreme circumstances, and only with the permission of the rehabilitation doctor on duty that day.


Please speak to your social worker if you have any other questions about LOA.

That depends on your progress. Your progress will be shared with your referring doctors and/or therapists in the form of regular reports. Your medical aid provides authorisation for your inpatient rehabilitation, a week at a time, pending reports on your progress in the rehabilitation programme.

Within the first week of admission, you’ll be invited to a family meeting. The purpose of this is to:

  • Meet the entire team
  • Receive feedback on the initial findings
  • Discuss the rehabilitation goals
  • Discuss discharge options

The severity of the disability will contribute to determining what level of independence you’ll achieve by discharge. In some instances, a carer will be required in the home environment, and your social worker will discuss this with you.


A few notes on caregivers:

  • Your medical aid will not usually take responsibility for funding help at home after discharge.
  • If required, we can assist you in identifying and training a suitable candidate.
  • If possible, the caregiver should not be a family member.
  • The caregiver will be expected to spend time at the unit to receive training from members of the rehabilitation team.
  • The social worker will coordinate the training schedule with you.

If you require your own assistive device (such as a wheelchair) upon discharge, your occupational therapist will make a recommendation and request a quotation from independent equipment suppliers, based on your clinical condition and home environment.

The equipment needs will be discussed with you and your family. It is your responsibility to obtain authorisation from your medical aid and/or arrange for payment with independent equipment suppliers.

Alternatively, the occupational therapist will tell you where to rent equipment if required for a shorter period or while waiting for authorisation or delivery of your own assistive devices.

The discharge planning process is vital and commences upon admission, to ensure that your discharge is as safe and successful as possible.

Your social worker is responsible for this process and they will be in close contact with you throughout your stay. Please arrange an appointment if you wish to speak to your social worker.

A few notes on discharge:

While we try to make the discharge process as smooth as possible, we are subject to the decisions of your medical aid, and may have to work within their time constraints.

You will receive a detailed report on the progress made during your rehabilitation process upon discharge.
You willl be expected to leave the facility by 12pm on the day of discharge.

If you have any concerns regarding payment, authorisation or benefits, please contact the rehabilitation admissions consultant.

Life Rehabilitation is committed to providing a quality service that meets and exceeds our patients' expectations. We are only able to do this with constructive feedback from you and your family.

At different times during your stay and at discharge, you will be asked to provide feedback about your experiences. We encourage you to make use of:

  • The customer comment cards available at the unit
  • Ad hoc meetings with staff
  • The patient survey on discharge (email or SMS)

All information is treated with the utmost confidence and is used to improve our service for future patients.

Career FAQs

If you are interested in exploring a career with us, you can search for suitable opportunities on our careers page. Applications can be sent directly to the responsible recruiting manager as listed on the job advert.

If you are interested in exploring a career with us, you can search for suitable opportunities on our careers page. Applications can be sent directly to the responsible recruiting manager as listed on the job advert.

Visit the Careers page, and then search for opportunities by following the Career opportunities > Job search links on the menu.

Our recruitment process typically follows these steps: Complete the online application form and forward it, together with your CV, to the email address provided on the relevant advert. Your application will be reviewed.

If your application matches the position criteria, you will be invited for an interview. We do not send formal regret letters to unsuccessful applicants. Our interviews are competency based, tailored to each opportunity.

The selection process includes pre-employment risk assessments and potential psychometric assessments for management positions. Should your application be successful, we will send you a formal letter of appointment. Upon acceptance of our offer, we will contact you with information to facilitate your on-boarding process.

Mental health FAQs

Your treatment consists of attending therapeutic groups, individual sessions with therapists and medication your psychiatrist prescribes. Group therapy is compulsory: we see it as an indication of your commitment to your recovery.

No, it does not. It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the rules of your medical aid scheme.

We encourage your family and friends to visit and support you. There are a few rules, though:

  • Strictly adhere to visiting times.
  • Only two visitors per patient at any time.
  • Parcels and packages are permitted, but security and nursing personnel may search them at any time.

Meals are offered in a communal dining area. Visitors can buy items from the canteen. Please familiarise yourself with the meal times in your unit.

Yes. All medication (including non-prescription medication) must be declared on admission and handed to the nursing staff. It is important that your psychiatrist is fully aware of everything you are currently taking, as it may interact with your new prescribed medication. All medication is strictly administered according to your doctor’s prescription.

You need to be able to identify your prescribed medication, and we urge you not to take any medication if you are not certain it is the correct prescribed medication. Please talk to your doctor regarding the effects of the medication you are taking. You should arrange for your doctor to complete your chronic medication documentation prior to discharge.

All patients wear comfortable, casual clothing during the day – no pyjamas are permitted outside the bedroom. Male patients are to wear a shirt at all times and female patients are to ensure that their skirts, shirts and blouses are not revealing in nature.

You are allocated a bedroom on admission, and this may not be changed except at the discretion of the treating team. Patient dignity and privacy is respected, but bedrooms are accessible to staff at all times. For safety reasons, the cubicle doors must be open, except when you are dressing.

You are encouraged to socialise in the patient lounge in the evening. To ensure a healthy sleeping pattern, lights are switched off at 10.30pm. The ward doors will be locked at a pre-determined time to ensure your safety.

 

Please ensure that you are up and your bed is made by breakfast time. Keep your immediate space neat and tidy. It is your responsibility to request clean linen.

There are a number of recreational activities available for patients – please ask at the nurses’ station for details. We recommend that you use facility exercise equipment under a trained professional’s supervision. Any recreational activity that you participate in at the facility is at your own risk.

No. If your car is parked on the premises, you must hand the keys to the nursing team. The hospital and its management or staff do not accept responsibility for your vehicle while it is parked on the premises.

No. Cell phone use is restricted: you are required to hand in your cell phone for safekeeping. The ward telephone is for patient emergency use only and will be made available at the discretion of the nursing staff. The use of computer equipment, laptops and music systems is restricted.

The hospital can not be held responsible for the loss of any valuable or personal belongings.

No person may possess, distribute or display pornography during admission.

No alcohol or drugs are permitted on the premises. Searches of your belongings – and those of your visitors – may be conducted on admission and randomly at any time. Urine or blood testing may also be done at any time. Any refusal to comply with these activities will be viewed as a positive result for a banned substance and will lead to an automatic expulsion from the programme.

The mental health unit also reserves the right to press criminal charges should a patient or visitor be found to be in possession of an illegal substance. No “drug talk” on a social level is permitted.

No weapons of any kind are permitted on the mental health unit premises. This includes nail scissors, clippers and razors. These must be handed in to nursing staff when not in use.

For your safety, the facility reserves the right to search you and your belongings (in a dignified manner) at any time we deem necessary. These searches are conducted on admission, return from leave of absence, and whenever bags or parcels are brought in from visitors. If we find any banned items, they will be confiscated and your admission in the therapeutic programme reviewed.

A patient may be temporarily restrained or put in seclusion in order to protect people or property. This is done according to very strict guidelines.

While you are in hospital, you are not permitted to leave the premises without your psychiatrist’s permission. This applies during the week as well as on weekends. If you need to leave the unit for any reason, you can apply to your treating psychiatrist for permission.

As a voluntary patient in our mental health facility, you have the right to refuse treatment at any time. If you wish to leave the premises without permission, you must sign an indemnity form acknowledging that the unit and staff can not be held responsible for your safety during your absence.

Before leaving, you will require a clinical assessment. If the treating team does not believe that it is in your best interests to leave, you will have to sign a Refusal of Hospital Treatment (RHT) form, which may jeopardise any future admission opportunities. You will not be permitted to leave the unit if you are considered a risk to yourself or others.

All information contained in your patient file is confidential and may not be divulged to anyone beyond your treating team without your permission. If you or a family member have a question, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of your team. If you require copies of your medical information, please apply for this in writing to your psychiatrist or the nursing unit manager, as there are legal documentation requirements involved.

Certain confidential information is shared with members of the interdisciplinary team during your stay. You are expected to respect the confidentiality of other patients: the only exception is when a fellow patient expresses the need to harm themselves. This must be reported to the relevant nursing staff.

Please address any complaints, grievances or suggestions (positive or negative) with the treating team. Weekly climate meetings are held where patients can voice their concerns, compliments or suggestions.

You are also encouraged to use the comment cards available to raise any issues or to recognise any staff member who has impacted your stay. After your discharge, you will receive an email or SMS survey – we encourage you to complete this, as your feedback is important to us.

Self-harm

During your stay in this facility, you may not attempt any action that will result in harm to yourself or other patients.

Relationships between patients

No female patients are permitted in the male sleeping quarters and vice versa. There is no socialising in patients’ rooms. Friendships of a supportive nature are encouraged, but any relationship that is seen to go beyond this point and become intimate will result in the expulsion of the relevant parties from the programme. This also includes intimate relationships between patients of the same gender. No physical contact between patients (hugging or kissing) is permitted.

Smoking

There are designated smoking areas on the grounds, which the nursing staff will point out during orientation. You may not sell or offer to sell tobacco on the hospital premises.

Damage to property

No one may intentionally or negligently destroy or damage the property of the mental health facility or of any other person. Any damages incurred as a result of behaviour of this nature will be for your account and you may be expelled from the programme. Eating is permitted in the dining halls and gardens, but not in the television rooms, therapy rooms, family rooms, bedrooms or reception areas. Please refrain from putting your feet on the furniture or couches.

Abusive behaviour

All fellow patients, staff members and visitors to the unit will be treated with respect and dignity. Any behaviour that is abusive, disrespectful, discriminatory or violent in nature (either actual or implied) will not be tolerated. In addition, any intimidation of any other patient is an unacceptable infringement on their human rights. Any patient participating in this action will be expelled from the programme. Your medical aid will be informed of your expulsion.

Renal dialysis FAQs

Please download our helpful guide for a thorough explanation of what dialysis is.

Download 'What is dialysis?'

These vary between the different facilities and will be discussed with you before your first dialysis session. Your facility nephrologist or physician will determine the frequency of your treatments and the duration of each session pending an assessment of your individual clinical status and kidney function.

However, the most common treatment programme to achieve adequate clearance is four-hour sessions, three times a week. You will be required to select one slot that comprises two to three sessions per week.

For example, morning (am) sessions may run:

  • Slot 1: 6am to 10am on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or
  • Slot 2: 6am to 10am on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Afternoon (pm) sessions may run:

  • Slot 3: 11am to 2pm on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or
  • Slot 4: 11am to 2pm on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Selected facilities provide evening sessions: ask your facility unit manager and they will be able to help you, depending on the availability of evening slots.

Patients requiring chronic dialysis treatments, who are required to take any medication before, during or after dialysis should bring their own medication. Please inform your dialysis nurse of such instances so that treatment is administered appropriately, recorded and supervised.

For convenience, medication such as erythropoietin (EPO) and iron can be stored and refrigerated at your dialysis facility. Please confirm the process used for receiving and storing EPO with the unit managers. The cold chain needs to be maintained even during transportation between your home and the dialysis facility.

Good nutrition is an important part of our care. As part of your welcome pack, you will receive information on how to eat healthily and what diet to follow. Once you begin your dialysis sessions, you will be guided through a more extensive diet education programme.

Light meals are served during treatment sessions for each shift. Patients making use of a fistula or graft on the arm should be extra careful when eating their meals. Failure to keep your arm in a good position could result in puncture of the vein and unnecessary pain and trauma. If you need any help with your meal, please ask your dialysis nurse or hospitality attendants.

It is very important that you follow the unit’s strict handwashing and infection control programme. This will ensure your health and that of your family and fellow patients. Visitors are discouraged from entering treatment areas, to maintain strict infection control measures.

Visitors are encouraged to make use of the waiting rooms outside the treatment rooms, or general lounges in the hospital reception areas. Visitors are discouraged from entering treatment areas, for maintenance of strict infection control measures.

We recommend that you leave valuables such as jewellery or large sums of money at home. Dialysis facilities are not equipped with safes and while every effort is made to protect your belongings, we can not take responsibility for any losses.

Going into hospital FAQs

Before you can complete pre-admission, you need to get pre-authorisation from your medical aid. Either the patient or the main member must call the medical aid for an authorisation number.

If you know you are going to be in hospital overnight – or a little longer – it is helpful to have all you need to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Here are a few essentials:

  • Medical aid card and ID
  • Comfortable clothing, slippers and a gown
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, moisturiser, deodorant and lip balm
  • Cell phone and cell phone charger
  • A good book or a few magazines
  • A small notebook and a pen, for writing down questions or notes
  • A list of your current medication, if any
  • Eyeglasses, if necessary
  • A visit to your doctor (GP or specialist), who decides to admit you to hospital
  • Pre-admission, either online or at the hospital
  • Admission and/or procedure
  • Post-op essentials, including your hospital stay
  • Discharge planning
  • Rehabilitation or follow-up consultations

Hospital billing only covers the hospitalisation itself. It excludes services such as:

  • Doctors
  • Anaesthetist
  • Radiology
  • Laboratories
  • Physiotherapists

These are all private enterprises that will bill you separately.

Infection prevention FAQs

The easiest and most important method to prevent the transfer of bacteria that everyone can practise in healthcare settings is appropriate hand hygiene. All healthcare workers, patients and hospital visitors should adhere to the highest standards of hand hygiene.

Hand hygiene is the cornerstone of infection prevention and patient safety, and while this is vital in our healthcare facilities, it is equally important at home, work and in the community. Hygiene measures are all-important yet often undervalued.

The hands are one of the most important contributors to cross-contamination and cross-infection – in the home and in hospital.

  • Before...
    Eating or feeding children
    Touching your nose, eyes or mouth
    Applying contact lenses
    Giving medication or first aid

  • After...
    Using the toilet or changing a child’s nappy
    Handling pets and domestic animals
    Contact with blood or body fluids
    Coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
    Contact with a potentially contaminated site
    Touching hospital surfaces such as bed rails and door handles

  • Before and after...
    Handling raw food
    Tending to someone who is sick

  • And whenever...
    Hands appear dirty
  1. Wet your hands.
  2. Apply soap.
  3. Rub hands together to form a lather.
  4. Rub all over the top of your hands, between fingers and around and under fingernails.
  5. Rinse your hands well.