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Rehabilitation Team

Dynamic, Caring Professionals at Great River Health

Southeast Regional Medical Center uses a team approach to help patients in the Inpatient Rehabilitation Program regain physical, communicative and social abilities to become as independent as possible. Because the Rehabilitation Unit is in the hospital, team members come from throughout its large staff of experienced healthcare professionals. Teams are developed based on patients' specific needs and remain with patients throughout their stays.

Patients and their families are the most important members of the rehabilitation team. The team meets weekly to discuss progress and set new goals. Therapists work together to ensure that skills learned in one type of therapy continue in other therapies. The medical director, case manager and nurse visit patients together Monday through Friday to monitor patient goal progress and medical needs, and to answer questions.

Team members and their roles:

  • Case manager/social worker - This professional helps patients and their families adjust to and cope with new disabilities, whether short term or permanent. The case manager/social worker also coordinates financial assistance, including insurance, disability payments and state and federal funding; family education; and discharge planning, including the information and counseling needed to make informed decisions about further care.
  • Chaplain - Chaplains help patients and their families use their spiritual resources when adjusting to life-changing disabilities. A chaplain answers questions and, if desired, helps establish advance directives such as a living will and durable power of attorney.
  • Dietitian - Clinical dietitians oversee patients' nutrition. They teach patients and families about specialized diets and work with other team members to ensure meals are nutritious and appropriate for patients' levels of ability to prepare and eat.
  • Family - The family is the patient's major support system. The rehabilitation team will ask family members to participate in care and therapies to help patients achieve maximum results.
  • Medical director - The medical director oversees patients' recovery and prescribes therapies. The medical director may ask physicians in other specialty areas to become part of the rehabilitation team.
  • Nursing staff - Nurses in the Rehabilitation Unit help patients achieve as much independence and endurance as possible. Besides providing medical care, they spend time teaching patients self-care skills such as eating, dressing and toileting.
  • Occupational therapist - Occupational therapists evaluate patients' perceptions, sensations, motor function, and cognition. Then they develop treatment programs in self-care, dressing, eating, homemaking, and muscle strengthening and coordination. They also evaluate the need for special devices to help patients adapt to living at home.
  • Patient - The patient must provide more initiative, hard work, and determination than anyone else on the team. Patients have three hours of therapy daily. They are encouraged to do as much for themselves as possible during and after rehabilitation.
  • Physical therapist - A specialist in how the body moves, a physical therapist helps patients improve coordination, muscle tone, and endurance to increase mobility from sitting and reaching to walking. A physical therapist determines whether braces or prostheses are necessary.
  • Psychologist - Psychologists are professionals who specialize in cognitive and psychological evaluations. They counsel patients and family members and help them adjust to changes that occur when a person has a disability. Psychologists also advise other team members on treating patients who have difficulty with emotional or cognitive behavior.
  • Speech/language pathologist - Speech/language pathologists help patients regain speaking, understanding, reading and writing skills that may have been lost because of stroke, surgery or injury. Speech/language pathologists also evaluate swallowing disorders and design treatment programs to promote the return to a normal diet.