The acute rehab team (ART) works primarily with patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, multisystem trauma, cerebrovascular accident (stroke) or other neurological disease.
A team member visits all trauma patients admitted to an intensive care unit, as well as other patients requiring the primary ART members’ services as determined by a physician. The overall goal of the team is to enable patients to function at their highest possible level. Team members also:
- Provide early intervention to begin rehabilitation as soon as possible
- Work to improve communication between all members of the care team, including the patient and family
- Help educate the patient and family on the recovery rehabilitation process and what they can do to help
Each member of the primary team evaluates the patient and together they design a rehabilitation plan. The plan may be modified as needed.
The team includes:
- Case managers assist patients and their families with psychological and social needs. They also help coordinate services, along with discharge planning.
- Dietitians assess the nutritional status of ART patients and provide appropriate nutrition intervention as needed.
- Occupational therapists teach patients how to perform activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and maintaining personal hygiene. Exercise programs are developed to improve strength, endurance and muscle coordination. Occupational therapists collaborate with the patient and family to determine whether modifications might be helpful and what medical equipment might be needed when the patient returns home.
- Physical therapists focus on maintaining range of motion and strength, teach positioning and monitoring to prevent bed sores, and help restore physical abilities.
- Speech pathologists focus on cognition, speech and swallowing disorders. They use a variety of exercises and other techniques to help patients use their voice and better understand or produce language. They may use compensatory or rehabilitative techniques to address a change in cognitive function.
Other important team members
- Patients and their families
- Trauma physicians
- Trauma physician assistants and nurse practitioners
- Patient and family counselors
- Respiratory therapists
- Rehabilitation facility liaisons
The team also assists the patient and family with the transition from the hospital to home or to a rehabilitation or long-term-care facility, and helps arrange for outpatient therapy, if needed.