The rehabilitation team starts with you. Should you have a support person, whether it's a family member, friend or caregiver, please include him or her as part of your rehabilitation team. The physiatrists, nurses, therapists, case manager and others will collaborate with you to deliver the best possible care and the smoothest possible transition home. Below are descriptions of the core team members:
A physician who is a specialist in rehabilitation medicine (physiatrist) will be the doctor who oversees your care in acute inpatient rehabilitation. It is not the same physician who coordinated your care when you were in the acute hospital. These two physicians consulted and agreed you would benefit from an inpatient acute rehabilitation stay. Our physicians at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital will send updates to your referring physician so that they can follow your care and progress. The Mercy physiatrist will provide medical management, coordinate care with your other physicians and oversee your rehabilitation program. The physiatrist will be your attending physician. Your physiatrist will meet daily with you to discuss your progress and make recommendations for future treatment.
Your nurse has specific experience in rehabilitation and will monitor your medical needs on a 24-hour basis. Look to your nurse as a key contact who can explain how your day will be organized. You can practice the exercises you learn in therapy with the support of your nurse. Talk with your nurse if you are having pain that affects your progress in therapy — he or she can help identify strategies that address the problem. The nursing staff will work with you and your support person to review self-care activities and treatments and provide education regarding your medications and their side effects.
The physical therapist will help you to develop and regain physical strength, endurance and coordination. The day after your arrival to Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital, you will receive a physical therapy evaluation. Your individualized plan of care will include therapeutic exercise and activities that will help you develop the strength and endurance needed to achieve your goals. You will work with your physical therapist on a daily basis to become more independent with bed mobility, wheelchair mobility, walking and other functional skills. You will be expected to practice some of these exercises when you are not at a therapy session, using nursing assistance when indicated.
Your occupational therapy practitioner works to coordinate your physical and mental abilities with activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, cooking, bathing and community skills. The day after your arrival to Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital, you will receive an occupational therapy evaluation. Your therapist will teach you strategies to increase independence and, if needed, recommend and help you order special adaptive equipment. Ongoing practice of the skills learned in occupational therapy will help with your transition home.
Speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat patients with speech, language and cognitive disorders or changes. They help you develop and regain skills in the areas of communication, thinking and reasoning. They also evaluate and treat individuals who have problems swallowing. Difficulties in these areas may affect all other areas of your rehabilitation. Through treatment and practice, you and your therapist will work to improve your communication, cognition and swallowing.
Your rehabilitation program includes an assessment of cognitive and emotional functioning. Many patients and their families also benefit from behavioral pain management, psychotherapy to aid in coping with medical, mood and cognitive issues; or family counseling to facilitate communication and role changes that can accompany illness or disability.
A case manager, assigned to you a day after your admission, will be your liaison with the rehabilitation team, your family and your insurance carrier. Our case managers will work with you and your primary support person to plan for your discharge. Detailed updates on your progress are given the day after your weekly team conference. The case manager can arrange for many of the services recommended for you by the team as well as identify community resources to help with your transition home.
Your nutrition is a very important part of your recovery process. A dietitian is available to evaluate your nutritional needs and will make sure that your diet is right for you throughout your stay. Should there be a particular preference, or cultural requirement, regarding your diet, please let your team know.
A chaplain is available to provide you with spiritual support, talk with you about your faith, pray with you and discuss possible ethical concerns. The chaplain is an active member of the team and can work with you throughout your recovery.