May 12, 2010
Region’s First Rehab-Ready Stroke Unit Shows Results
Augusta, GA—Caring for patients on a specialized stroke unit with uniquely designed rehab-ready rooms has made a positive impact on stroke recovery, according to data collected by Walton Rehabilitation Health System.
Since the debut of Walton’s rehab-ready stroke unit last May, statistics have shown that patients had shorter rehab stays, had higher functional independence and were able to return home at higher rates, compared to aggregate data from 2007 to 2009. This is despite the fact that Walton takes patients who are more medically complex than the national average, and more complex than even just a year ago, when compared against Walton’s own data.
Which is why Walton developed the stroke-specific unit in the first place. “Because of changes in health care delivery, patients who survive debilitating strokes are discharged from acute care hospitals sooner and arrive at rehabilitation hospitals with greater medical needs than in the past, making therapy intervention harder to tolerate early in their admission,” said Dr. Fredrick Phillips, Director of Stroke Rehabilitation at Walton. “For these patients, even the short wheelchair ride to a gym for therapy can leave them too exhausted to fully benefit from therapy activities. We responded to these changes by developing a specialized stroke unit so that a patient would have the equipment for therapy available right in their own room, if needed.”
The unit was designed by nurses and therapists and is outfitted with equipment that allows patients to complete prescribed physical and occupational therapy tasks, and practice these tasks, in the comfort of their own rooms, while medically recovering from their stroke. Prior to working on the unit, all stroke staff also completed a comprehensive three-day stroke core curriculum, and are continuing ongoing training.
The unit was partly funded through a $1 million dollar capital campaign conducted by the Walton Foundation for Independence.
“The benefits and safety of early rehabilitation on physical function after stroke has been well documented,” said Dr. Phillips. “As the area’s expert in rehabilitation, Walton has taken a lead in providing the latest modalities to help stroke patients in their recovery.”
Media Contact: Danielle Wong Moores, Public Relations Specialist, 706-434-0150
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