Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility

The Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU) at Mission Hospital combines the latest rehabilitation techniques and an expert team of specialists to create an unsurpassed healing environment. Our goal is to provide highly personalized care to enable people with disabling conditions to achieve their goals and to pursue life with meaning and purpose. And we've done it - our Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU) consistently ranks among the top 10 percent in the nation for positive results for rehabilitative services. We are extremely highly regarded for our ability to achieve better outcomes utilizing fewer resources while returning patients to community living more than regional and national health care providers. Please review information about our Acute Rehabilitation Unit ARU clinical outcomes. Also available for review is information regarding Mission Hospital Regional Medical “Center of Excellence” Clinical Distinctions.

How does Mission Acute Rehabilitation compare to other inpatient programs?
We are one of Southern California's most respected inpatient rehabilitation programs and one of the few to meet the rigorous standards of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Innovation and excellence are also reflected in our outcomes. The majority of our patients' successfully return home.

What's the first step in beginning rehabilitation at Mission Acute Rehabilitation?
We will coordinate directly with the hospital you're currently in to ensure a safe and effective transfer of care as well as work with your insurance company to arrange approval for your treatment at Mission Acute Rehabilitation.

How do I pay for rehabilitation services?
Inpatient rehabilitation is typically covered by most health plans. For more information, you should check with your insurance company or contact us.

Will I see the same doctor every day?
Yes, our medical director will visit you five to six days a week to monitor your progress and make any needed adjustments to your treatment plan.

Will I see my primary care physician?
The hospitalist is your physician's partner, who will manage your care during your hospital stay.

Hospitalists are available on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. The hospitalist will be in frequent contact with your rehabilitation physician, discussing the details of your care. After discharge, your care will continue with your personal physician.

How long does rehabilitation take?
Treatment is designed to meet the specific needs of each patient and varies from a few days to weeks, according to the type of injury or condition.

Will I have a phone and TV? What about email access?
You will have your own TV and telephone, and wireless internet access is available. Individual rooms can be reached by dialing the main hospital number (949) 364-1400 and asking for the appropriate room extension number (located on the white information board at the foot of your bed).

Because most ARU patients are involved in activities during the day, there may be no answer. If family members need to talk to someone right away, please have them call the ARU Nurse Station at (949) 365-2166.

Can I have a private room?
Most of our rooms are dual occupancy, however, individual rooms are provided when required to manage medical conditions. We make every attempt to promote and respect patient privacy.

Can I receive mail while I am at Mission Acute Rehabilitation?
Yes, the address for receiving mail is:

Mission Hospital
27700 Medical Center Road
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Attn: (your name)
Acute Rehab Unit room # _______

When are meals served and how is food ordered?
7:30 a.m. - Breakfast
11:30 a.m. - Lunch
5 p.m. - Dinner

Meals are served according to the diet ordered by the doctor. Some patients may have restrictions due to medical or swallowing problems.

Clients are assisted in filling out menus by dietary aides between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. The assistants help to ensure that menu choices for dinner (the same day) and breakfast and lunch trays (for the following day) are complete and follow any specific dietary requirements.

All patients are expected to eat in the ARU dining room (unless the medical condition requires other accommodations). The skills used in eating are an important part of the ARU program. Staff members will give any help needed at mealtime. Family members can also learn to help and are encouraged to be here at mealtimes whenever possible.

Food can be brought in from outside the hospital or guest trays can be purchased from the Garden Café. The Garden Café menu is available in the nursing office. Family dining arrangements can be organized in the dining room area upon request. Food storage for patients is available in the dining room refrigerator. Each item must be labeled according to the hospital policy listed on the door. Labeling supplies are provided.

How will I be prepared to go home?

  • You will be asked about the layout of your home (i.e. if you have stairs and where your bathrooms are, etc.). If a home evaluation is needed, one will be set up where you and a Rehabilitation Team member will go to your home to determine if any modifications are needed. They will also assess how well you will be able to manage in this environment.
  • You and your family are invited to the Patient Care Conferences held weekly by your Rehabilitation Team. During these conferences your progress in therapies, your discharge goals, and your discharge plan will be discussed.
  • The Rehabilitation Team may decide that a community outing would benefit you in order to determine how well you can manage outside the hospital environment.
  • Your rehabilitation will continue after discharge with services provided either by a Home Health agency (where therapists and/or nurses come to your home) or in an Outpatient Rehabilitation Center (where you come to an outpatient setting for your therapies).

Can I bring medications from home?
Yes. To keep things safe, all medications will be given to you by the nurse, as prescribed by your doctor. Any medications from home MUST be approved and ordered by your doctor, and kept at the nurse’s station with your other medication. It is best to keep any medication at home that the doctor has not ordered for you during your stay. Your doctor may write an order for you to take some of your medications on your own.

How do I get my personal clothes washed?
Personal clothing must be taken by the family and washed outside the facility. There is no hospital laundry service. The washer and dryer in the Acute Rehabilitation kitchen area are for training purposes only.

Can I get a haircut or have my hair done while in the hospital?
Yes. You or your family can have a beautician come to the hospital for haircuts, shampoos and sets. It is up to the family to set up the appointment and pay for the service. Check with the Social Worker or Recreational Therapist for more information on how to set up an appointment.

Can I leave the ARU during my hospital stay?
Yes, however, if you are leaving the unit with anyone other than the staff, you need to let your nurse know. Depending on where you are going, you may need to have staff with you, or sign out. There are 3 patios on the ARU that you may use. Again, make sure the staff knows if you plan to go out to the patio.

Can my pet come to the hospital to visit?
Yes. For the safety of all patients, the state of California does not allow any animals from entering the hospital unless they are a guide dog (for the blind) or part of an approved activity program. At times, given specific parameters, we can set up a supervised visit with your pet utilizing very specific locations outside of the hospital buildings. Please contact the social worker or recreational therapist to request this.

To find out more about our outstanding program or to schedule a tour, please call 949-365-2186.

Rehabilitation services are provided for patients who have suffered functional loss due to any of the following:
  • Stroke (CVA)
  • Multiple Trauma
  • Amputation
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Brain Injury
  • Brain/Spine Tumors
  • Orthopedic
  • Cardiac/Pulmonary Dysfunction
  • Degenerative Neurological Disorders, including
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Muscular
    • Guillain Barre
    • Polyneuropathy
    • Parkinson's Disease
    • Other progressive neurological impairments
Common functional problems benefiting from acute rehabilitation:
  • Balance and coordination impairments
  • Inability to swallow
  • Inability to move in bed, transfer to a wheelchair or come to a standing position without help
  • Inability to perform activities of daily living such as eating, grooming, dressing, bathing, and homemaking
  • Cognitive/perceptual deficits or speech/language problems, in conjunction with physical limitations
  • Inability to work or function in the community due to physical impairment
  • Weakness or limited motion in extremities or trunk
We foster patient and family participation
  • Patients and families play an active role in developing a customized treatment plan. Family members are strongly encouraged to participate in the patient’s rehabilitation process.
  • Engagement in therapies and meetings held during hospitalization is essential.
  • Dedication to developing skills necessary to transition safely home is vital.
We encourage independence

We encourage our patients to become as independent as possible, but we are always available to assist when needed. It is important that our clients learn to be self-sufficient when able. Often it is difficult for family members and friends to watch loved ones struggle with various tasks. We ask that family and friends avoid helping the patient with tasks where help may not be necessary. The entire rehabilitation team will be available to instruct family members on the type of help that is most beneficial for the patient's recovery.


The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires all Inpatient Rehab Facilities (IRF) to adhere to a specific set of admission requirements. The patient must require and be sufficiently stable to participate in and benefit from at least three hours of therapy/day from at least two different therapies, one of which must be PT or OT. The patient must require supervision by a rehabilitation physician leading an interdisciplinary process that allows the patient to make measurable improvement in functional status providing for the likelihood of a community discharge. The Acute Rehabilitation Unit at Mission Hospital accepts referrals from physicians, social workers, rehabilitation nurses, case managers, discharge planners, insurance companies, public and private agencies, patients, and their families. Candidates for admission will receive an assessment to determine their appropriateness for the program. Reimbursement is accepted from private insurance and Medicare. A plan for a viable transition back to a community setting is an imperative part of our program. More specific ARU program parameters information and frequently asked questions.

Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities

Mission Hospital Acute Rehabilitation Unit’s highly specialized Brain Injury and Comprehensive programs have been accredited by CARF, an independent, international organization that promotes the standards of care for rehabilitation programs. Accreditation signifies that a hospital's program represents the highest quality, value, and optimal outcomes for the individuals served.

View our Locations & Directions for directions to the Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo. The ARU is located in the Pavilion building with access through the East Pavilion entrance. For after-hours access, please enter through our Tower 2 lobby at the front of the hospital.

To find out more about our outstanding ARU program or to schedule a tour, please call 949-365-2186.

Getting started

Mission Hospital Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU) offers comprehensive services to help adults and adolescents reduce physical and mental limitations caused by stroke, neurological disorders, spinal cord injury, head injury, amputation, certain orthopedic conditions, neuromuscular disorders, multiple trauma or other disabling conditions. For admission to our program patients will be evaluated for rehabilitation potential.

Multidisciplinary team assessment and planning

Our highly skilled rehabilitation team focuses on functional, practical outcomes to help you achieve the highest possible level of independence and productivity.

You will work in partnership with a team of rehabilitation experts, which include: physicians who specialize in physical medicine-as well as specialists ranging from cardiologists to surgeons; registered nurses; physical and occupational therapists; speech pathologists; care managers/social workers; therapeutic recreational specialists; neuropsychologists and dietitians. Additional team members are added as needed, such as specialists in audiology, learning disabilities, and orthotics and prosthetics.

Initial evaluation and orientation

Within the first few days of admission, the rehabilitation team will conduct evaluations and discuss your functional goals and plan treatment. You and your family will be invited to attend an initial family conference. Other family conferences may be scheduled as needed.

Secondary conditions

During rehabilitation, it is critical that secondary conditions, such as diabetes, urological issues, or respiratory complications-be successfully managed. With nearly 700 of Southern California's finest physicians on staff, Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center offers virtually every specialty, allowing us to offer patients the right expertise at just the right time.

Family participation and education

Family visits and support are essential during recovery and rehabilitation. Your family's input is vital to your treatment. We ask that one family member be chosen as your primary contact for your care and progress reports. The family is expected to participate in the patient's therapy program at the appropriate time to assist the patient and learn the proper methods of caring for the patient. Visiting hours are flexible and are planned around treatment times.

Three hour rule

One of the conditions to qualify for ARU is that the patient MUST participate in three hours of therapy each day. The client’s schedule will include Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and possibly Speech Therapy. Rest breaks will be provided throughout the day and are encouraged as an integral part of the recovery process.

If an ARU client is not feeling well enough to participate, the Medical Director must evaluate and approve the non-participation for this day.

If an ARU client is consistently unable to participate in 3 hours of daily therapy, an immediate transfer to a rehabilitation center that provides a less intensive program may be recommended.

Visitors may come after therapy is completed for the day (~3:45 p.m.) or on Sundays when there is a lighter therapy program.

Sample of a daily schedule

Although most patients have a set schedule, no two days in rehabilitation are exactly alike. As your abilities and needs change, your treatment and daily activities will change to ensure your continued progress.

  • 7 – 8 a.m. Personal care activities
  • 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Individual therapies with rest periods as needed

A typical morning might include three individual therapies, such as physical and occupational therapy

  • 11:30 – 12:30 p.m. Lunch
  • 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. Individual therapies with rest periods as needed

Afternoon therapies will typically be different than those in the morning. Each patient will receive three hours of individual therapy daily. If therapy time has been missed, make up therapy sessions will be scheduled no later than the next day.

  • 5 – 6 p.m. Dinner
  • 6 – 9 p.m. Relaxation and personal care activities. An ideal time for family and friends to visit.
Patient care conferences

Every week the rehabilitation team meets to discuss the progress of each client.

The scheduling of this conference typically occurs the day prior to the conference. Notifications/Invitations to participate will be given to the client and any designated family upon request or as previously determined, the day prior to the conference. Conference calling is an option if previously set up for those who are unable to be present at the designated meeting time.

Members of the rehabilitation team will be present including Dr. Cushing (rehabilitation physician and medical director), Dr. Jenkins-Hall (neuropsychologist), a social worker and rehabilitation nurse.

The team will be:

  • Asking if there are any questions and/or concerns.
  • Discussing the patients current functional levels in each of the therapies.
  • Setting discharge functional goals and a realistic target date for these milestones to potentially be completed.
  • Discussing the plan for discharge transition to a community setting including where additional therapy will be provided after discharge from the Mission ARU and any equipment needs that have been identified by team members. The coordination of obtaining the therapy and equipment will also be discussed including insurance coverage and vendor choices.
  • Initiating planning for family training. A discussion can occur regarding the potential need for home evaluations and the possibility for community outings and/or weekend passes later in the rehabilitation stay.

Patient care conferences are an important component during any rehabilitation program and ensure that the client and family are prepared for homecoming. We ask that family members designated to be the client spokesperson please make an effort to attend.

Clothing and toiletries

Do not buy clothes special for the rehab program. Bring in what is available and plan for approximately four days. All patients are to get dressed in street clothes that are easy to put on and take off.

  • Comfortable street shoes, tennis shoes or loafers.
  • Loose fitting pants, sweats or shorts
  • Shirts or blouses
  • Light jacket or sweater
  • Undergarments
  • Pajamas or gown
  • Robe
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Dentures and care items/hearing aides/glasses/other adaptive devices
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Battery operated or electric shaver
  • Comb or hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner

Whenever possible, please leave all items of value (such as jewelry, expensive watches, large amount of money) at home. If necessary, valuables can be stored with the hospital security staff in a safe location.


Visitor parking is located in the area between the hospital and the Medical Office Buildings (MOB’s). The first 20-minute period is free and then the cost can increase up to a maximum of $6 per day. Visitors can enter through the doors marked Pavilion East entrance, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. After 5 p.m, the Tower II lobby is the closest entrance to the ARU. Maps are available at kiosks located throughout the hospital campus and upon request.

Long-term parking: Discount passes may be obtained at the parking booth located at the main entrance to the hospital parking, directly off Medical Center Road.

Requesting pain medications

When a patient is moved to the ARU the doctor may have changed the frequency and type of pain medication administration. Also, since going to therapy and performing more activity than done previously is required, one may experience pain.

Please notify the nurse, not only when experiencing pain, but when additional medication is needed prior to scheduled therapy. This will avoid the onset of acute pain during or after a therapy session.

It is important to consult with the therapists and nurses to ensure comfort is achieved and maintained.


Safety guidelines, emergency instructions and evacuation routes are posted near the nursing station and in the ARU hallways.

Drills are held routinely to make sure that the staff members are prepared for emergencies. Keeping the ARU safe and quiet is important. If visitors are in conflict with this, they may be asked to leave.

Smoking policy: This is a non-smoking facility; smoking is only allowed outside on the designated ARU smoking patio.

To find out more about our outstanding program or to schedule a tour, please call 949-365-2186.

You have a choice in the physical rehab clinic you entrust with your treatment. When choosing Mission Hospital Physical Rehab Clinic you will have expert Physical Therapists treating you in a state-of-the-art facility. We will perform a thorough evaluation of your condition, and then design a personalized treatment plan with an innovative approach to meet your unique requirements.

Whether your goal is to get back to playing your favorite sport, return to an exercise routine or to simply perform daily activities more easily, we are here to help you reach that goal.

Your partner, our team

Our Physical Therapists all have advanced training and certifications in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS). The OCS is a certification recognized nationally by the American Board of Physical Therapist and the American Physical Therapy Board. Our state-of-the-art clinic ensures we offer patients the most innovative and customized exercise programs to help the successful return to an active lifestyle.


Our facility is easy to access off the 5 freeway, conveniently located at 27882 Forbes Road, Suite 110 in Laguna Niguel, CA 92677. For any questions, please call 949-364-2955.

Living with pulmonary disease

One out of every 25 people in the United States lives with a pulmonary condition. Mission Hospital's Pulmonary Rehabilitation Education Program (PREP) is specifically designed to provide the treatment, resources and information for people with pulmonary conditions to lead healthy, productive lives. PREP experts work to return patients to an optimum level of function by enhancing their exercise tolerance, minimizing the need for hospitalization and providing a full understanding of pulmonary dysfunction.

Help that lasts a lifetime

PREP patients begin the six-week program with a pulmonary function test to determine specific lung conditions and a physical fitness evaluation to measure their baseline exercise tolerance. In the program, attendees receive information regarding basic anatomy and physiology, medications, stress reduction, energy conservation techniques, the use of oxygen therapy, travel tips and more. Ensuring continuing help for life, program graduates are invited to attend the PREP Alumni Club, a Mission Hospital support group for individuals living with pulmonary disease.

Classes meet three times per week for approximately two hours per day at the Mission Hospital CardioPulmonary Rehab Center. Class sizes are kept small to provide highly personalized instruction.

A physician's order must be obtained prior to entering PREP. If you don't have a primary care doctor, please call 877-459-3627 to obtain a physician referral.


Using a multidisciplinary approach PREP brings together a broad range of specialists to provide a personalized, integrated treatment plan for every patient. Blending physical and mental expertise, our team helps return patients to the highest level of productivity. The personal treatment team includes:

  • Dietitian
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical therapist
  • Physician specializing in pulmonary disease
  • Psychologist
  • Registered nurse
  • Respiratory care practitioner
  • Social worker
Program fees

The cost of PREP varies depending on individual insurance coverage. Most major providers and Medicare covers all or a portion of the program. To learn more about Mission Pulmonary Rehabilitation Education Program, please call us at 949-364-7755 or 949-365-2106.