By Carolyn Comeau
A patient recovering from a stroke, a child with developmental delays and an individual affected by dementia might all appear to have different needs, but in reality, rehabilitation services are critical for improving these patients’ lives. Rehab services is an umbrella term that includes multiple, distinct therapeutic modalities.
Jon Brown, physical therapist and manager of Rehabilitation Services at Angel Medical Center (AMC), shared that their services are whole-patient focused, “because our patients’ needs aren’t isolated, but interwoven.”
AMC’s Rehab Services include outpatient physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy, and they’re all housed under one roof. “Patients recovering from surgery, stroke or trauma may need all of our rehab services,” said Brown. “It’s much easier for them if they have easy access to all our services.”
AMC’s therapists can consult with each other about a patient’s treatment and complement it, because patient needs often overlap. “A stroke survivor might be working on getting in and out of a chair and building volume in their voice,” said Brown. “The speech therapist and I reinforce each other’s work.”
“Physical therapists help patients with mobility deficits and movement disorders regain their balance and strength,” said Brown, noting that hospitalization causes functional decline and mobility loss.
Occupational therapists help patients remaster daily living tasks, like buttoning a shirt, typing and cooking. Occupational therapist Chelsea Lynch, for example, treats our youngest patients. “Her specialized pediatric training allows her to help children with developmental delays with writing and support kids with attention issues by helping them focus and follow directions,” said Brown.
Speech therapists help patients regain speech, and with voice projection and modulation. “Our speech therapist Nancy Rogers works with radiology staff to conduct swallow studies too, which reveal if a patient can chew their food properly and swallow pills, or if they need a feeding tube or liquid diet,” said Brown.
AMC Rehab Services is a community lifeline. “Our work is all about helping patients enjoy their best quality of life,” said Brown.
7 Things You Should Know about Rehab
1. Angel Medical Center Rehab Services include the “a la carte” offerings of physical, speech and occupational therapy, but patients can receive them independently or in tandem with each other.
2. Rehab services aren’t just for adults. Many patients are children who receive therapy for developmental and physical growth delays.
3. Therapists develop close bonds with their patients because they often treat them in the hospital and see them again later on an outpatient basis.
4. Angel Medical Center Rehab Services hosts a monthly support group for people recovering from stroke and living with neurological conditions. Meetings include guest speakers and a chance for patients to connect with each other.
5. Dry needling is a newer physical therapy technique that uses thin, acupuncture-like needles to stimulate the body’s healing response. They’re inserted into muscles, tendons and scars to decrease restrictions, alleviate pain and improve range of motion.
6. A trained physical therapist can identify balance deficits and play an important role in fall prevention.
7. In many cases, chronic pain can be managed with therapy rather than narcotic pain medications.
Jon Brown is a physical therapist and the manager of Angel Medical Center Rehabilitation Services.