New rehabilitative care facility opens in Murrieta

Perry Ebeltoft, CEO of the new Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Murrieta welcomes guests to a ribbon cutting event, Jan. 8. The rehabilitation facility provides inpatient care for patients recovering from stroke, injury, amputation and other orthopedic conditions. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Local leaders and Encompass Health officials celebrated the grand opening of the company’s new rehabilitation center in Murrieta Wednesday, Jan. 9.

The new hospital, located on Whitewood Road north of Clinton Keith Road, will provide “comprehensive rehabilitation services” for people in the Temecula Valley and surrounding areas.

“We are so, so excited to provide exceptional quality of care at this hospital,” Nicole Hanrahan, medical director of Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Murrieta, told attendees at the grand opening ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

It’s the only facility of its kind within a 45-minute drive of Murrieta, said Perry Ebelhoft, CEO of the Murrieta hospital.

The hospital offers physical therapy and rehabilitative care to patients who have gone through things from fractures to strokes and traumatic brain injuries, Ebelhoft said.

The team at the Murrieta hospital will provide inpatient rehabilitation services and Higher medical management for patients recovering from neurological disorders and brain injuries, hip fractures, spinal cord injuries, amputation and complex orthopedic conditions, according to a statement from Alabama-based Encompass Health. Patients will receive at least three hours of therapy daily, five days a week, as well as 24-hour nursing care and frequent visits from an attending physician.

“Where otherwise patients might have to go to a different level of care where they aren’t gonna get the intensive rehab that they could benefit from, they are now going to be able to come here and get the very best chance of getting back to as much function as possible and getting back to restoring their regular activities,” Ebelhoft said.

The two-story, 50-bed facility includes all private patient rooms, a therapy gym, an in-house pharmacy, a dialysis suite plus a courtyard, dining room and dayroom areas, according to a statement from Alabama-based Encompass Health.

Ebelhoft said patients at this type of rehabilitation facility stay for a little under two weeks, on average. That means the Murrieta hospital could serve as many as 1,100 people per year.

“That’s 1100 people in this community who would be able to go from a life changing event to get back to being able to be with their families, going to work, doing activities that they love to do and get back to their regular daily lives,” Ebelhoft said.

Murrieta Mayor Gene Wunderlich said it was his “ privilege and great honor” to welcome Encompass Health to the area.

“As our community has grown over the years, so has the need for different medical services,” he said. “And again, over time some of those needs have gone either underserved or totally unmet.”

Residents of the Temecula Valley have historically had to drive to places like San Diego or Orange counties to get rehabilitative care, he said.

“If you needed rehabilitation and you lived in Murrieta, Temecula, Menifee, Lake Elsinore, you had to drive probably an hour, hour and a half each way, certainly if you required those services on a daily basis or 3 times a week or something,” Wunderlich said. “It’s extremely difficult for a family to do that, so we’re extremely grateful for the hospital to open up here.”

The mayor called the facility “amazing” after touring it.

“There’s a room downstairs with a stove, a refrigerator, a washing machine, a bed and a closet,” he said. “People who need rehab often times need to reacclimate themselves to living at home, to operate a stove, to get things out of a refrigerator, to learn how to button their shirt again. Little things like that, and these folks are doing it.”

The hospital expects to start accepting patients later this month.

“We’re still working on a few licensing things,” Ebelhoft said.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at