Sunday, October 24, 2021

What Do You Really Know About Rehabilitation?

To Your Health

I’m always surprised by the information people choose to retain inside their heads, but I’m equally stunned by the partial or misinformation that resides there as well. From a healthcare perspective, that’s why I write this column. As the Market CEO of Physicians Regional, I have a responsibility to provide the patient community with information to prepare them for what may lie ahead. And the “partial” information situation seems to be especially true of “rehab,” “rehabilitation” and/or “physical therapy.”

This isn’t all that surprising. Most people don’t think much about something they don’t currently need. However, as we age, we’re much more likely to need medical attention classified as rehabilitation. If you think of rehab, you most likely think of exercise, that’s true. But the two biggest components of physical therapy are stretching and strengthening.

According to the World Health Organization, rehabilitation is a set of interventions needed when a person is experiencing or is likely to experience limitations in everyday functioning due to aging or a health condition—including chronic diseases or disorders, injuries or traumas. Examples of limitations in functioning are difficulties in thinking, seeing, hearing, communicating, moving around, having relationships, or keeping a job.

Rehabilitation enables individuals of all ages to maintain or return to their daily life activities, fulfill meaningful life roles, and maximize their well-being. Most commonly addressed are orthopedic issues such as hip replacement or knee replacement, falls, and neurological issues such as stroke.

“The most common misunderstanding about rehabilitation is a belief that you can come in for one visit and be completely fixed,” says Adam Carlson, PT, DPT, System Director of Rehabilitation at Physicians Regional. “Many people don’t understand that, if they have a pain or an impairment, it will likely take time to treat it. There may not be a quick fix. However, if you commit the time, you are more likely to have a complete recovery.”

Carlson continues: “Conversely, it could be a very simple fix. For example, something as simple as hamstring stretches may help with severe back pain.”

Adam Carlson tending to a patient.

Let’s clarify some terminology. Though often used interchangeably, “physical therapy” is actually one component of “rehabilitation.” Others include occupational therapy and speech/language pathology. In more simple terms, “physical therapy” works on the whole body, from your feet to your neck, whereas “occupational therapy” addresses the upper extremities such as shoulder and hands as they relate to daily functions.

Occupational therapy is specifically designed to help patients with temporary or permanent loss of function regain independence and quality of life. Occupational therapists specialize in caring for people with physical, developmental or emotional challenges by helping them improve their ability to perform daily activities, as well as recommend ways for patients to adapt their environment to enhance independence. Therapists assist patients with everything from eating, bathing and dressing, to using a computer, getting in and out of the car, or running errands.

Speech therapists (also known as speech-language pathologists) evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with a wide variety of conditions that affect oral motor skills, swallowing, cognitive-linguistic, and speech and language abilities. These patients have been affected by a neurological event, degenerative disease, head/neck cancer, or other debilitation related to a medical disease process.

Regardless of the treatment required, Physicians Regional is dedicated to helping people rebuild their lives after illness and injury. We believe that recovery encompasses both mind and body, so our comprehensive services address both the mental and physical aspects of rehabilitation. Our services include:

  • Inpatient care: Our acute-care therapists provide 24-hour, full-service medical and rehabilitative care at both our Pine Ridge and Collier Boulevard Hospitals.
  • Outpatient care: We provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy services at four outpatient clinics. These include the Marco Island Clinic on the corner of Barfield and San Marco as well as facilities in Bonita Springs, across the street from Pine Ridge hospital, and in the Medical Arts Building behind the Collier Hospital.
  • Specialized programs: To address the unique needs of patients recovering from a heart attack, stroke, cancer, and other serious conditions, we offer specialized programs that provide a range of rehabilitative services to meet each individual’s needs.
  • Pain Management Services: We offer a variety of therapies to help alleviate pain.

Plus, we see patients for 45 minutes at a time, which is rare and well above the industry average. Most facilities offer 30-minute appointments. In addition, we only perform one-on-one therapy. We don’t ever have one therapist working with multiple patients at the same time. And despite a belief that rehabilitation is for older adults, we see patients from all age groups—children and adults.

“Every injury is different,” Carlson explains. “We see patients two to three times a week on average. Initially, we see them for six weeks, send a report to the doctor which can include a request for additional visits.”

And more good news? Medicare no longer places a maximum dollar amount on rehab. We can technically see them for as many visits as they need as long as they show progression.

In the event you ever need us, you now know more about us. Plus, if you or a loved one are suffering from some sort of trauma and you’ve been hesitant for whatever reason to seek help, please contact us. With four locations, the help you need may be—quite literally—right around the corner.

For more information on Rehabilitation Services at Physicians Regional or to schedule an appointment, call (239) 348-4100.

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