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  • Written By:Kelly Logan, DO

We all have that one story. That sudden accident or emergent phone call that still gives you the chills when you think about it. Many of us even know the struggle of recovering physically from one of those misfortunes. If you are one of those people, you probably spent many hours in rehabilitation with someone like me. As we celebrate National Rehabilitation Week it is amazing to reflect on how far the field has come and the positive impact it’s had on so many lives.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is a subspecialty of medicine that emerged after World War II in an attempt to serve the needs of soldiers returning home with an array of physical and cognitive deficits. From brain injuries to various upper and lower extremity amputations, the demand for PM&R increased significantly and became officially established in 1947. Now, as the U.S. population has aged, we also care for many patients after strokes, extensive surgeries, traumatic accidents, and neuromuscular disorders like Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

As the PM&R field has evolved, physicians have established specific acute rehab hospitals dedicated to the art and science of rehabilitation and designed to accommodate rehab patients. Acute rehab hospitals include dining rooms, kitchens, a rehab gym, and even transitional living apartments. As a PMR physician, I see patients at St. Mary’s Regional Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. It looks just like St. Mary’s but when you cross the threshold to the rehab unit you’ve crossed into a separate entity with an entire team of professionals handling your care.

When a patient transitions from the hospital to the acute rehab hospital this is the cue that a diagnosis has been established, the patient is medically stable, and is able to tolerate three hours of therapy a day. That is also when the medical director, therapists, nurses, case managers, and others involved in the care of the patient, begin meeting weekly to discuss current progress and determine next steps. Ultimately, every patient receives a customized treatment plan based on their diagnosis and goals with the objective to get the patient back in their home – back where they belong.

If you or a loved one find yourself in a position that you aren’t strong enough to return home from the hospital, be sure to ask your treating physician if Inpatient Rehabilitation is a post-acute care option for you.

I never doubted my decision to join this specialty, but after seeing the incredible work St. Mary’s rehab team has done in the community, I’m more passionate than ever before. As an Osteopathic Physician I treat the individual as a whole to anticipate all potential barriers to returning home including social and support networks, economic factors, as well as physical or cognitive impairments. I encourage, support, and educate my patients so they can reach their full potential. And I do it alongside an irreplaceable rehab team.

Happy National Rehabilitation Week!

— Kelly Logan is an Osteopathic Physician at St. Mary’s Medical Center and can be reached at 816-228-5900.