If you will be spending time in inpatient rehab to after a surgery, accident, or illness, chances are that your stay will be in a semi-private room. While moving in with a total stranger may cause a little anxiety, for most patients it turns out to be a good experience. Having someone to commiserate with at the end of a long day of therapy – someone who knows exactly what you are going through – can be great for your morale and motivation level as you work towards regaining your strength, mobility, and health. Of course, having some personal space during recovery is also important. Here is what you need to know to ensure that you do.
Step 1: Make Your Needs Known
Talking to the staff about your needs in terms of room assignment as you plan your stay in inpatient rehab is important. Make any special needs known. For instance, if you are a very light sleeper, being paired with a person with a snoring problem or someone likes to watch TV late into the night may be an issue. If you prefer quiet and privacy, moving in with a roommate who has a big family that visits every day may cause friction. Making such issues known to your rehab facility well ahead of your admission will increase the chances of having your needs accommodated to your satisfaction.
Step 2: Moving In
Bringing some personal items with you to inpatient rehab can help you feel more comfortable and at home during your stay, and most rehab centers not only welcome these additions to your personal space, but encourage them. However, it is very important that you keep your personal items in your portion of the room, respecting your roommate's space just as you would like your personal space to be respected. If you have visitors, make sure that they respect your roommate's space as well by keeping to your side of the room. Semi-private rooms generally have clear boundaries – curtains or room dividers – that indicate where your personal space ends and your roommate's begins.
Step 3: Work Things Out With Your Roommate
Once you are admitted to inpatient rehab and have met your roommate, working out a few basic guidelines and setting some limits can make the experience more pleasant for both of you. This needs to be a give and take situation, which means listening to and respecting your roommate's needs, preferences, and concerns as well as expressing your own. Open, honest, and cordial communication can help ensure a cooperative, supportive atmosphere that will help both of you make the most of your stay in inpatient rehab.
For most patients, sharing a semi-private room in the inpatient rehab setting turns out to be a very beneficial situation. Rehab can be very stressful and, in many cases, frustrating and discouraging. Having someone nearby who is sharing that experience and who truly understands what you are going through can make a real difference – giving you the support you need to stay focused on your recovery and rehabilitation goals.