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May 2011
News For You

Inpatient Physical Rehabilitation Takes a Unit-Based Team Approach

This month Physical Rehabilitation Services is extending its new inpatient model of care to patients on 7 South. Now neurology and stroke patients will benefit from a team of therapists providing dedicated rehabilitation services on the unit.

The goal of this unit-based team model is to improve coordination of care among physicians, nurses and therapists on the unit, which ultimately benefits the patient as they receive early therapy interventions, improved outcomes and comprehensive discharge experiences.

"Under the new model, therapists will be more visible and accessible on inpatient units," explains Karen McCauley, director of Physical Rehabilitation Services. "With greater access to therapists, it enables a patient's physician, unit nurses and rehabilitation specialists to work more closely together to maximize the benefits of therapy interventions."

This new model of care was first introduced on 8 South with orthopedic patients – and the benefits for both staff and patients have been clear for the past year. With a dedicated therapy team on the unit, patients were more closely monitored, families were kept informed, and the nursing staff knew exactly where to turn for questions.

McCauley notes that, in the past, therapists were spread throughout the Hospital, making it difficult to see every patient needing therapy. "With a unit-based team assigned to 8 South, we improved our efficiency as well as our productivity, which has allowed us to provide therapy to more patients while they are in the Hospital."

On 8 South, doctors and staff share open dialogue with the rehabilitation team – letting therapists know which patients will need attention, giving a heads up if patients are not ready for therapy and signaling patients who need same day interventions.

Additionally, the unit-based therapy team is able to improve upon the discharge process, ensuring patients are sent home safely and in an efficient manner. When necessary, outpatient orders and a patient itinerary are arranged and reviewed with family in person before the patient even leaves the Hospital.

"Right now there are modified versions of this model of care on other units in the Hospital," adds Karen. "We're evaluating how other units can benefit from dedicated therapy teams."

The plan is to fully integrate the dedicated therapy team on 7 South by the end of the month. The construct of a unit-based therapy team varies depending upon patient diagnoses, as well as patient volumes for that unit. On 7 South, the rehabilitation team will consist of a dedicated physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist, along with a therapy technician and assistant.

Along with the expansion of this new model of care, Inpatient Rehabilitation Services has introduced new hours: 7 am – 5:30 pm, seven days a week. These new hours became effective May 1.

For more information about the new and expanding model of care for Inpatient Rehabilitation Services, please contact Karen McCauley at 847.618.3560.

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Last Updated 04/10/2009