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Congressional Briefing on the Value of Rehabilitation and Habilitation
Collaborative Approach: Technology & Treatment Protocol at NeuLife
Jamie Birmingham PT, CWS, CLT, Director of Rehabilitation Therapy Services
Functional outcomes remain at the core of virtually all rehabilitation programs. In the last decade the focus of rehabilitative care has shifted toward quality of life with programs designed to help patients regain the skills necessary to achieve the highest quality of life possible.
NeuLife Rehabilitation, a residential post-acute rehabilitation facility in Mount Dora, Florida, utilizes a treatment approach that may seem unconventional. However, their outcomes-driven therapies are continuously achieving results. The facility, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in Brain Injury Specialty Programs and Residential Rehabilitation, believes its community-integrated treatment programs help it deliver care that is on the cutting edge of an evolution in neuro rehabilitation.
Planning is at the core of these processes. Before patients are admitted to the facility, a clinical nurse liaison performs a thorough pre-admission evaluation to gauge the level of treatment needed. Once admitted, a series of comprehensive patient evaluations are conducted and the patient’s medical history is reviewed by the interdisciplinary team of clinicians. The team then compiles the information to develop an individualized and multi-disciplinary treatment plan and establish goals for discharge.
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Jamie Birmingham PT, CWS, CLT, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Florida. Birmingham is Director of Rehabilitation Therapy Services at NeuLife Rehabilitation, Mount Dora, Fla. Prior to accepting that position Birmingham provided consulting services as an independent clinical consultant for various skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies for more than 10 years. She has more than 23 years of physical therapy and rehabilitation experience. Birmingham is board certified in Wound Management by the American Board of Wound Management and a certified Lymphedema Therapist through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Cedar Haven Rehabilitation Agency.
Preventing the Vortex of Failure
By Lydia Hendrix, COO, NeuLife Rehabilitation
Those of us that have years of experience working with catastrophically injured individuals see the disturbing pattern time and time again…The patient presents to the trauma center with the initial injury and subsequently travels through a fragmented healthcare delivery system that all too often stops woefully short of meeting the individual’s long term needs.
While naturally there is significant focus on the early life-saving and acute phase of the injury, there is dangerously little attention and effort around the coordination of care for long-term management of these high-risk for failure patients. Today’s healthcare system is fraught with the pressures of bundled payments, readmission penalties, length of stay parameters and silos of service. Catastrophically injured patients are often discharged too soon and/or to the wrong setting, unarmed with the knowledge and insight required to navigate their permanently changed lifelong journey.
Traumatic brain injured patients, for example, may be discharged home from a hospital or acute Residential Rehabilitation Facility only to find themselves and their caregivers unable to cope with the common sequelae of the injury. The effects of a brain injury may not be physically apparent, yet are continuously challenging the individual on a daily basis. Attention deficits, mood swings, depression, anxiety, anger, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and behavioral challenges are common. If the big picture of brain injury rehabilitation is not addressed from inception, these patients may travel down new catastrophic paths including substance abuse, behavioral crises, misdiagnoses, incarceration or readmission after readmission to the hospital. In other words, they get stuck in a desperate and costly “vortex of failure.”
How can this “vortex of failure” be stopped? Challenging the traditional post-acute care delivery model is the key. Catastrophically injured patients require specialized care and rehabilitation services where our current model often stops, fails or misses the boat. We must begin to think differently about the “step down” process for a catastrophically injured individual. If we expect these individuals to integrate into their family and community once medically stable, we need to consider moving them from a highly institutionalized setting (hospital, skilled nursing facility) to a therapeutic residential rehabilitation setting before sending them home. This is a critical point on the post-acute care continuum that can be the vortex breaker.
Insurance payers, Case Managers, Physicians, Discharge Planners, etc. need to ask these questions before recommending the next “step-down”:
- What additional services does this individual need in order to function independently?
- How will the injured individual adapt to normal living, home life and the community?
- Can he/she return to work?
- Will the family be able to cope or do they need time, training and support?
These critical questions must be answered and plans made to deliver the necessary services and real life experiences that today are not accounted for in most post-acute care rehabilitation settings.
What should you look for?
- Interdisciplinary and specialized community-integrated residential rehabilitative treatment that will maximize recovery and address long-term needs.
- Family education and participation in the patient’s rehabilitation program in order to develop the knowledge, skills and advocacy abilities necessary to support the injured individual through a lifetime.
There is a strong correlation between the timing and duration of aggressive rehabilitation and an injured individual’s chances of ever returning to work and a life with purpose. Physical, social and vocational goal-setting by an expert team of rehabilitation clinicians can effectively move the patient from where they are to where they want to be. We can safely assume that catastrophically injured individuals do not want to be stuck in a “vortex of failure”. Let’s break that paradigm and work harder to re-integrate these injured individuals back into our communities.
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Lydia Hendrix RN, BSN, MSSL, CRRN is the Chief Operating Officer / Division Chief Executive Officer of NeuLife Rehabilitation in Mount Dora, Florida. She brings more than 27 years of healthcare experience to NeuLife. She has held a variety of positions in the acute and post-acute care arena, including Chief Nursing Officer, Vice President of Operations and Executive Director of Rehabilitation.
Lydia earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Florida State University, and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership (MSSL) from Mountain State University. She has worked as a surveyor for the National Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and the Florida Department of Health-Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program. She is also the 2016 President of the Central Florida Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (CFARN).
NeuLife Awarded CARF Accreditation
NeuLife Neurological Services, LLC (“NeuLife”), a Post-Acute Catastrophic Rehabilitation Services organization, announced today it has been awarded CARF Accreditation for its Residential Rehabilitation Program and Traumatic Brain Injury Specialty Program from CARF International, formally known as the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
“The CARF Accreditation is an official industry recognition that our organization is guided by internationally recognized care standards and best practices. Our onsite survey was comprehensive and included CARF’s evaluation of over 1750 quality standards, NeuLife received Accreditation for each of our 54 beds,” said Robert Bunker, NeuLife’s Chairman and CEO.
CARF Accreditation consists of ongoing consultation and in-depth on-site surveys to help organizations achieve the highest quality of care for their patients. Accreditation is a public statement that NeuLife strives to ensure that our services are of the highest quality in the areas of residential rehabilitation, brain injury rehab, and post acute rehab .
“By pursuing and achieving accreditation, NeuLife has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality care and is committed to pursuing excellence in all that we do,” said Elmer Perez, NeuLife’s Program Director.
About NeuLife Rehabilitation Services
NeuLife is a Residential Post-Acute Care organization specializing in catastrophic rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and other complex injuries. Its Program includes Physical, Occupational, Speech, Cognitive, Vocational, Counseling, Dietary and Behavioral Services and more. Beautifully situated on 43 acres in Mount Dora, Florida, its facility comprises over 60,000 square feet and 54 private rooms.
About CARF International
CARF International is an independent, nonprofit organization focused on advancing the quality of services an organization needs to use to meet the needs of their patients for the best possible outcomes. CARF provides accreditation services worldwide at the request of the providers. CARF’s goal is to ensure that persons served remain at the center of the service delivery process.
NeuLife Participates in Walk About Brain Injuries
NeuLife Rehab participated in the Walk About Brain Injury event on Saturday, March 12. The event was held at Lake Lotus Park in Altamonte Springs, Florida, with the purpose of raising awareness surrounding brain injuries. The event also honors brain injury victims and their friends and families. More than 215 people participated and according to an announcement from the Brain Injury Association of Florida (BIAF), more than $14,900 was raised.
According to the BIAF, there are 214,000 families living with life-long effects from traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Florida alone. It’s estimated that this year, another 136,000 Florida families will be affected by TBI through sports, combat, motor vehicle crashes and falls.
BIAF works to help prevent and treat TBI by raising awareness and supporting the families left victim to its consequences. You can learn more about the Brain Injury Association of Florida, Inc. (BIAF), by visiting their website.
March is also known as Brain Injury Awareness Month – find ways to raise awareness!
NeuLife is a Residential Post-Acute Rehab organization specializing in catastrophic rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and other complex injuries. Its Program includes Physical, Occupational, Speech, Cognitive, Vocational, Counseling, Dietary and Behavioral Services and more. Beautifully situated on 43 acres in Mount Dora, Florida, its inpatient rehab facility comprises over 60,000 square feet and 54 private rooms. If you would like more information about NeuLife Rehabilitation Services, please contact us.