I work with an extraordinary team in the Day Rehab program. The team consists of a physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), speech language pathologist (SLP), registered nurse (RN), therapeutic recreational specialist (TRS), case manager (CM), rehab aide and neuropsychologist. Our patients have been recently discharged from local acute and rehab hospitals, and continue to live with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries or stroke.
We love what we do. Why? One of our patients describes us well:
"The combination of PT, OT, recreational therapy, speech and psych and a dash of fun creates camaraderie with other patients and the staff, giving this place a family-oriented atmosphere where you are inspired to succeed. The therapists are awesome and knowledgeable, very professional with just the right amount of push to get you going on bad days. It is one awesome team, all working in unison to help their clients reach their goals."
Our team is unique. Compared to a traditional hospital environment where functions are strictly siloed by discipline, the Day Rehab team is more fluid and flexible, sharing responsibilities across disciplines. For example, when our nurse is not immediately available, instead of sending the patients back to a nursing station, our PT and OT will step in to help a patient burp a colostomy bag or fix a urinary external catheter that is falling off. Our CM has helped patients manage clothing and use a urinal in a bathroom. Our CRRN has arranged transportation and followed up on equipment issues. When help is needed, other disciplines dive in to achieve the common goal of giving patients the best outcomes. In the process, we learn from each other.
Teamwork is very present in the program. While OT works with patients using the phone with an assistive device, TRS has them order food by phone and SLP works with them on planning and organization skills to make a phone call. While PT works on ambulation or wheelchair skills with patients in the gym, OT practices these newly-learned skills by allowing them to ambulate to a store and TRS practices traffic safety with them in the community. We communicate goals and plan of care with each other at a weekly patient care conference, through computer charting system and planning groups with patients, but mostly through constant verbal information sharing.
Our Day Rehab program is intense: 5 days a week, 6 hours a day. As such, each discipline must take on extra duties in addition to their regular responsibilities. Despite the constant demand on our time, the team makes having fun with patients a priority. Once a week, patients and therapists choose a site to visit with a goal to practice community skills. We have gone to museums, restaurants, malls, etc. We have also surprised patients with birthday cakes, and even brought in a spouse to celebrate a wedding anniversary. We love to see our patients laugh and cry because they could forget to celebrate life in the midst of their day-to-day survival.
Submitted by Colleen Sullivan, PT
Janice Hutton, MA, CCC-SLP
Colleen Sullivan, PT, DPT
Anna Martin, CTRS
Joann Rudi, RN
Masako Suzuki, MSW
Jeffrey Trexler, PT, DPT
Alberto Vernacchio, MOTR/L
Barbara Watson, Psy.D
Andrea Weaver, MS, OTR/L
Patricia Wilcott, Rehab Attendant