Healthcare Team for Stroke: Acute Rehab Stage
To be admitted to acute rehabilitation, your survivor must be able to do three hours of rehab a day -- 90 minutes of physical therapy and 90 minutes of occupational therapy. The links in this part of the chain include:
- Physiatrist (fe-zi-a-trist): A physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He or she is responsible for assessing a patient's rehab needs, designing a rehab program, and deciding how long the patient stays in rehab. The physiatrist becomes the primary doctor during this stage of recovery.
- Rehabilitation psychologist: A psychologist who works with people with disabilities to assess the psychological aspects of the disability and help survivors reach the highest level of physical, mental, and personal function possible.
- Physical therapist: A PT works with survivors' large muscles to improve strength, balance, and function.
- Occupational therapist: An OT works with survivors' fine-motor control to improve quality of life.
- Speech therapist: Speech therapy involves all aspects of communication. In addition to speech, this therapist may work with reading, writing, and other cognitive functions, as well as swallowing.
NOTE: Rehab makes a difference in your survivor's and your quality of life. In order for insurance to continue to pay for rehab, survivors must show progress. Once the survivor plateaus, insurance stops paying. The deciding factor is not whether you or your survivor feel rehab is helping, but whether she is making measurable progress. For this reason, encourage your survivor and document her progress. Advocate for your survivor with the therapists and make sure every improvement is noted in her records. Failure to make progress in rehab may be a sign of depression. Rehab should be put on hold until the depression is treated.