There are many skilled members of the rehabilitation team and your treatment team will include some or all of the following:
A Physiatrist is the name for a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The goal of the Physiatrist is to help a patient restore function and overcome limitations. Physiatrists focus on helping patients overcome or deal with loss of function, disability and physical impairments which affect daily living.
Nursing services are available twenty four hours a day. Rehabilitation nurses (CRRN) specialize in caring for patients with specific diagnoses and are skilled in helping patients achieve their greatest potential and level of independence. Skills acquired or “relearned” in therapy are reinforced by our nursing staff. Other team members of the nursing staff include licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants.
The Physical Therapist (PT) helps patients reach their maximum ability to move about in their environment including transfers, mobility and stair skills. They may work on transferring in and out of bed, getting up/down from their wheelchair, toilet, or chair and possibly in/out of their car. PT’s may use assistive devices, orthotics/prostheses and wheelchairs to assist the patient in mobility or walking. Stair skills may range from stepping up/down from a curb to climbing flights of stairs so that the patient can return home. PT’s also address range of motion, strength, coordination, balance and overall stamina. They will use a variety of activities to address deficits which range from simple stretching to state of the art equipment. The emphasis is always safety whether it be sitting, standing or walking safety to decrease the risk of falling.
Occupational Therapy (OT) helps patients become as independent as possible in all activities of daily living (ADLs). The OT focuses on improving performance in normal activities and works to help the patient relearn daily skills such as feeding, dressing, bathing, grooming, and toileting. OT’s also addresses Instrumental ADL’s(IADLS) such as laundry, cooking, and other home management tasks. They teach the use of adaptive equipment which allows the patient to become more independent in their ADL’s. The OT works with the patient to improve or maintain their level of physical, cognitive (ability to think, reason, and remember), emotional and social ability through strengthening, visual perceptual tasks and exercise. The OT can also address safety issues in your home by suggesting changes or proper home equipment.
Speech Language Pathology
The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), assists the patient with speech and language skills, which include comprehension of language and the ability to express ideas and thoughts as well as reading, writing and math skills. SLP’s also focus on cognition, or thinking skills such as reasoning, judgment, learning, attention/concentration and memory. Impairments in these areas can affect safety in everyday life and the ability to live independently. Some patients have dysphagia, or swallowing problems. These patients may require diet consistency or postural modifications to allow them to eat or drink safely. The SLP will work with the Dietary department to modify diets if needed.
Respiratory therapy may be a service provided depending on the needs of the individual. A Respiratory Therapist is a member of the rehab team with the primary goal of improving the patient’s ability to breathe comfortably. This may require the use of oxygen, inhalers, exercises for coughing and deep breathing, and/or respiratory equipment. The goals addressed are to assure sufficient oxygen supply to the body, prevent pneumonia, and to provide training and education.
Your body needs good nutrition in order to recover. If you have aspiration (swallowing food into your airway) or poor nutrition, your progress may be delayed. Your dietitian will develop a plan that suits your medical needs. The dietitian will also try to include foods you like in the plan.
The Clinical Neuropsychologist works to ensure your mental and emotional concerns are addressed. Treatments for the patient can help with adjustment to losses, recognition of deficits and their implications, understanding the effects of the injury on sexuality and relationships with other, improved self-esteem, self acceptance and effective goal setting.
Your Case Manager may be a Registered Nurse or a Social Worker. Along with the rest of the rehab team, our goal is to help our patients and families achieve a better quality of life with identifying the patient’s goals, needs, and resources. From that assessment, the Case Manager, patient, and involved family members, will devise a plan to meet these goals.