In rehabilitation, all therapies are interrelated and closely integrated. Physicians, therapists, nurses and all other hospital staff that practice at the hospital work with the patient and the family as a team. When therapists practice their particular expertise during treatment, they reinforce goals established by other therapists to achieve true rehabilitation. Below are therapies that may be ordered by the patient’s physician based on his or her needs:
Focusing on movement dysfunction, physical therapists assist patients with mobility, walking, teaching wheelchair transfer techniques, and conducting orthotic/prosthetic device evaluation and training. In a fully equipped gym, therapists combine specialized equipment and one-on-one assistance to enable patients to gain confidence in balance, strength and endurance. They may also use special techniques to reduce pain, improve wound healing, and maximize range of motion.
Therapists teach patients how to be independent with self-care and activities of daily living (ADL) such as bathing, dressing, eating and food preparation. The therapist may prescribe special devices to assist in improving independence. They also work on cognitive (thought) rehab and visual perceptual skills that interfere with advanced ADLs such as managing money, returning to work, or feeling safe at home. At the same time, they work toward maximizing the use of the patient’s arms, hands and fingers and may recommend special splints or casts.
Speech and language pathologists assist patients who have communication disorders. They offer basic cognitive retraining to assure functional independence with decision-making, reasoning skills and memory. Areas also addressed within the department include oral motor strengthening, swallowing evaluation/retraining, written expression and use of special communication devices.
Therapeutic recreation works closely with other rehabilitation professionals to help patients visualize and adapt to recreation and social activities that were a part of their active lifestyle before illness/trauma. Community outings are arranged to practice new skills.
In addition to normal nursing duties, rehabilitation nurses teach patients and families how to manage health care concerns after discharge. They are specially trained to help patients utilize skills learned in therapies and encourage them to carry through with daily self-care goals. These nurses focus on improving the patient's ability to care for himself or herself. They understand the delicate balance of providing empathetic nursing care while encouraging the patient’s independence.
The social worker links patient, family, insurance carrier, treatment team and community resources. They facilitate family support groups, family education groups, family counseling, and discharge planning, which contributes to the successful completion of rehabilitation. The social worker is a key contact person for the patient and family
Regional Medical Center at Memphis has a grant from the Tennessee Department of Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Program to provide services to individuals with brain injuries and their family members in western Tennessee. The Service Coordinator evaluates the needs of each individual and identifies appropriate resources within the community. Referrals to this free service can be made by the individual with a brain injury, family members, rehabilitation facilities, or any affiliated professional in the community.
In addition to a comprehensive array of therapy and nursing programs, we may recommend special consultants to assist with patient care.
Special dietary needs are often a major consideration for rehab patients before and after discharge. Upon request, a registered dietician will evaluate the patient's nutritional needs and develop proper diets and menus.
The clinical psychologist evaluates cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems that may result from illness or injury. This information is shared with other team members and is used to tailor the patient's individual treatment program. Behavioral management strategies and other psychological interventions with the patient and family are designed to maximize treatment gains and ease the transition back into the community.
Through illness or injury, rehabilitation patients may have respiratory muscle weakness or be susceptible to breathing difficulties. Therapists help strengthen muscles, clear congestion, improve and aid in ventilation, and may help prevent further problems.