Rehabilitation Therapies at the Advanced Trauma Center (ATC)

Sinai Hospital is an advanced trauma center that provides treatment for patients after traumatic and life-threatening injuries such as body wounds, head injury, stroke, collapsed lung, limb fracture, and spinal cord injury. Rehabilitative services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech language pathology, may be ordered by a physician to address a patient’s physical, cognitive, and swallowing impairments. Therapy in the hospital is a consultative service and referred patients should expect treatments to be provided anywhere from 1-5x/week, depending on needs.

Physical therapists (PT) may complete a comprehensive evaluation, including an assessment of patient’s functional mobility (bed mobility, transfers, ambulation, and stair management), strength, balance, endurance, sensation and neurologic status. This eval is used to inform both patient and caregivers about functional deficits that are present, as well as necessary precautions regarding weight-bearing and basic movements. The PT will also make recommendations for adaptive equipment and train patient/caregivers in their proper use.

Occupational therapists (OT) conduct a client-centered evaluation, focused on a patient’s lifestyle and outcome goals. After identifying physical and cognitive strengths and barriers, the OT develops interventions and training methods to improve a patient’s participation in activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, dressing, eating, etc.). If needed, an OT will make recommendations for durable medical equipment, establish safety precautions and teach compensatory techniques to improve a patient’s level of independence. Preventive splinting to preserve muscle balance and range of motion needed for functional tasks may also be performed.

Speech language pathologists (SLP) assess, diagnose and treat speech, communication, cognitive, language and swallowing disorders. An important focus for SLPs in the ATC is assessing a patient’s swallowing and feeding abilities, either at bedside or using imaging. Following the assessment, appropriate recommendations regarding diet are made and communicated to the treatment team and family.

Rehabilitation therapists work together in conjunction with the interdisciplinary team, including physicians, case management, social workers, nurses and other disciplines in the hospital to formulate a safe discharge plan. The plan takes into consideration a patient’s goals, current abilities, and physical environments in which they need to function. Discharge recommendations may include inpatient rehab in either an acute or subacute setting, outpatient therapy, or home therapy services.