Rehabilitation is a specialty in the medical field that focuses primarily on improving a person’s physical functioning. It is the individual’s entire body that the various professionals within the field target to assist in helping a patient improve to prior or optimal levels of functioning.
The three main disciplines within Rehabilitation are Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. All of these specialties are provided at our facility to treat adults of various ages and diagnoses. Rehabilitation professionals work within the facility and as part of a team to assist patients and their families to either return back to the community or to function at their highest potential level within the facility if long term care placement is necessary.
The rehabilitation department works closely with other disciplines including nursing, social services, dietary and administration to monitor progress, modify goals and assist with discharge planning and referrals. Our primary goal is to help patients improve to a point where they can return to their home environment independently or with assistance.
Physical Therapy (P. T.)
As a general rule, P.T. focuses on the strengthening of the lower body. This includes improving balance, ambulation, transfers, endurance and range of motion. Some of the methods used to achieve these goals include resistive and balance exercises, ambulation and transfer training, whirlpool, mas-sage and acquiring of prosthetic and orthotic devices.
Occupational Therapy (O.T.)
O. T. primarily tends to focus on strengthening the upper body extremities and improving fine motor coordination and range of motion in order to improve a patient’s ADL (Activities of Daily Living) functioning. This includes feeding, dressing, grooming, toileting and performing personal hygiene. Other areas addressed include improving cognitive and perceptual deficits as well as improving a patient’s wheelchair positioning and mobility.
Speech Therapy (S. T.)
A Speech Therapist’s focus is on improving a person’s swallowing, communication and cognitive abilities. Difficulties with swallowing (Dysphagia) are dealt with via changes in the diet to ensure a patient’s nutritional needs are met safely. S.T. also focuses on improving a patient’s communication abilities via oral motor exercises, aphasia therapy and other compensatory strategies.
What is expected of patients and families.
It is important to recognize what responsibilities you as the patient and family have in order to make your rehabilitation stay successful. Active participation and progress are the building blocks for a successful outcome as well as requirements for continued stay under all insurance carriers including Medicare, HMOs and PPOs. Insurance carriers expect that patients will participate while in rehabilitation and once their goals are met or their progress plateaus, discharge from rehabilitation services is necessary. It is the job of the rehabilitation staff to motivate and challenge you or your loved one even on those difficult days, as all healthcare insurance coverage has a limitation on the amount of days they will cover. Therefore, your success and coverage depends upon your progress which starts with being motivated.