Department of Rehabilitation Services: Helping Patients Regain Their Quality of Life

Overcoming an illness or injury can be a lengthy and involved process. However, with the help of a skilled rehabilitation team, patients can learn the necessary skills to regain their quality of life and take part in an active lifestyle once again. The Department of Rehabilitation Services at Newton-Wellesley Hospital is committed to providing a complete spectrum of services including comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care.

"Our therapists work closely with patients to determine the best course of treatment to help them continue leading fulfilling and independent lives," says Jane Gruber, Director of Rehabilitation Services at Newton-Wellesley. "Our multidisciplinary rehabilitation team offers expert care and personalized attention to every patient whether it is during their Hospital stay or if the patient comes to the Department on an outpatient basis."

The clinical team in the Department of Rehabilitation Services is committed to bringing patients the most high-quality and personalized care. With a dedication to excellence and state-of-the-art facilities, Newton-Wellesley Hospital is a leading provider of rehabilitation services in the greater Boston area.

Rehabilitation Services supports patients of all ages starting with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Hospital. The Department offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services that work in conjunction with a number of other programs at the Hospital including the Spine Center, Center for Joint Reconstruction Surgery, the Stroke Program and the Center for Weight Loss Surgery. Specialists in Rehabilitation Services are also supported by the Hospital’s Department of Radiology, which offers the full range of on-site imaging services.

"We design our programs to meet the needs of our patients and help them make the most of their functional abilities," says Jane. "Our team works with other programs at the Hospital to provide a full continuum of care."

Programs and Services

The Department of Rehabilitation Services offers a variety of programs and services. Patients in each program are assigned a primary therapist to ensure continuity of care and undergo a thorough evaluation to determine their individualized treatment plan. This therapist works with the patient and the referring physician to design and implement a therapeutic strategy with appropriate individualized rehabilitation goals.

Physical and Occupational Therapy
Physical therapists work with patients to develop treatments that promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability. Treatment plans may include targeted exercises, manual therapy, functional training and sports conditioning depending on specific needs.

"Our therapists provide individualized, hands-on care for patients dealing with a wide range of conditions," says Carl Faust, Manager of Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy. "We work closely with the patient throughout treatment to ensure their goals are met."

Some of the conditions seen by the physical therapy team include orthopaedic issues such as low back pain or osteoporosis; joint and soft tissue injuries such as fractures and dislocations; neurologic conditions such as stroke or other brain injuries or disease; cardiopulmonary and circulatory conditions such as congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and workplace and sports injuries.

Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

"At Newton-Wellesley, our therapists take an active role in staying current with the latest trends and treatments," says Carl. "We take pride in offering high-quality care at the cutting edge of research. Our therapists have advanced degrees, advanced certifications and fellowship training and work together to create an excellent collaborative environment for patients. This team approach provides a great benefit for patients as they receive a wide variety of expertise and experience."

Physical therapists work closely with many Hospital services such as the Spine Center, the Department of Orthopaedics and primary care physician groups to deliver effective physical therapy care plans aimed at the specific needs of the patient.

"One of the common conditions we treat is persistent back pain. We know from experience that not all back pain is the same and can’t be treated with a cookie cutter approach," says Carl.

"Low back pain that is properly classified by a physical therapist has a high likelihood of going away when treated with a tailored treatment regimen to meet that patient’s individual needs."

Therapists also work with patients who have undergone orthopaedic surgical procedures to help them quickly return to their everyday activities. Newton-Wellesley offers a wide variety of orthopaedic services including routine to complex surgical procedures. The orthopaedic team cares for conditions affecting the entire skeleton including the neck, shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hand, back, pelvis, hip, knee, ankle and foot. As part of the orthopaedic team, physical therapists evaluate and treat a wide range of conditions such as arthritis, sports injuries, fractures, congenital deformities, repetitive stress disorders, back injuries, work-related injuries and bone tumors.

"Our strong and comprehensive rehabilitation program has been critical to the institution and growth of the Joint Center," says Joseph McCarthy, MD, Director and Surgeon at the Jim and Ellen Kaplan Center for Joint Reconstruction Surgery. "During my time at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, I have found the physical therapy services to be timely, proactive, patient-centered and responsive to new techniques and procedures in joint surgery."

The Rehabilitation Services team also offers a variety of sports medicine services including community outreach programs for weekend warriors, competitive athletes and those interested in learning more about sport-specific training. Year-round programs are offered throughout the year in the form of clinics and workshops designed to help athletes avoid injury and maximize performance.

The occupational therapists at Newton-Wellesley work with patients of all ages to help them return to independent and productive lives. Occupational therapists help patients with activities such as dressing, grooming, bathing and eating as well as performing tasks such as caring for their home or participating in everyday activities.

"Our therapists work with patients to assist them in relearning, developing and mastering everyday skills," says Susan Fasoli, Manager of Occupational Therapy. "The team helps patients enhance their quality of life by developing their daily activities so they can live their life again."

Hand Therapy Service
The hand surgery specialists affiliated with Newton-Wellesley make up one of the largest hand surgery services in New England. They provide care for conditions from the elbow to the fingertip such as fractures, joint injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, tendonitis, trauma and congenital deformities.

The Hand Therapy Service team in the Rehabilitation Services Department is made up of physical and occupational therapists who are board certified hand therapy specialists. The team delivers timely, expert care for a variety of elbow and hand conditions and serves as a critical component of the hand surgical services at the Hospital. They work to evaluate and treat these conditions and allow patients to regain essential hand function. Members of the team design and fabricate splints for the upper extremities on site and have professional expertise and experience in the evaluation and treatment of tendon and nerve injuries, lacerations, repairs and transfers; joint reconstruction and replacement surgery; arthritis; fractures; soft tissue injuries; tendonitis; and repetitive strain injuries.

"Hand therapy is often a critical component in determining the outcome following hand surgery or a hand injury," says Mark Belsky, MD, Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery. "Our hand therapists provide unique specialized and compassionate care to our patients. The six hand surgeons on our staff work closely with our hand therapists to plan the necessary comprehensive care for our patients. Our physicians and our patients are very fortunate to have such a high caliber of hand therapists here at the Hospital."

Speech-Language Pathology
The Speech-Language Pathology team specializes in the evaluation and treatment of pediatric, adolescent and adult speech, language, voice, cognition, literacy and swallowing disorders.

"Each patient we see is evaluated to determine the nature and severity of his or her communication or swallowing problems," says Ruth Richman, Coordinator of Speech-Language Pathology. "Our assessments may involve an X-ray procedure called a modified barium swallow study for a more detailed evaluation. The results of the evaluations are discussed with each patient to create an individualized care plan."

Some of the common conditions addressed on an inpatient and outpatient basis include:

  • Aphasia – a language disorder caused by a stroke or other brain injury.
  • Articulation/phonological disorders – difficulty making speech sounds correctly.
  • Cognitive-linguistic disorders – difficulty thinking, problem solving and remembering.
  • Dysphagia – a swallowing disorder that can affect eating and drinking.
  • Language – delays or disorders in comprehension or expression.
  • Stuttering – unnatural hesitations, repetitions or prolongations of sounds, words or phrases.
  • Voice disorders – prolonged hoarse, breathy or atypical voice quality.

Cast Clinic
The Cast Clinic team, made up of certified athletic trainers with orthopaedic training, provides casting, splinting and bracing services as well as fitting and instruction for inpatients and outpatients with crutches, canes and walkers. As certified athletic trainers, the team also provides game and practice coverage for high schools, colleges and athletic tournaments for sports such as soccer, field hockey, figure skating and ice hockey.

"The Department of Rehabilitation Services works together with many disciplines throughout the Hospital to provide a variety of treatment options for patients," says Jane. "We are pleased to offer high-quality care and convenient programs for our patients to help them restore their quality of life and live pain free."

For more information about physicians or services at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, contact CareFinder at 1-866-NWH-DOCS (694-3627) or visit our website at www.nwh.org.

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