Understanding the Healing Benefits of Rehabilitation

Author

Jackie Kilrain, Director of Rehabilitation, South Shore Hospital

Imagine being diagnosed with a disease that affected your ability to speak? What if an accident forced you to have to learn how to walk again? What if you had a child who was struggling to meet their developmental milestones? These are just a few scenarios facing our rehabilitation clinicians every day where the primary goal is always the same—to help restore and maximize one’s independence to get back to living their day-to-day life to the fullest.

National Rehabilitation Awareness Week is a wonderful time to shine a spotlight on this important niche of health care, while honoring the talented clinicians who help put patients on the road to recovery.

Often times people think of rehabilitation services as broken bones and athletic injuries and don’t realize the full spectrum of diseases and conditions that are treated including: arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lymphedema, developmental delays or even permanent disabilities that affect day to day living.

Whether it’s helping a patient find relief from chronic pain, watching a student-athlete recover from a sports injury, or helping a child improve his or her speech disorder, rehabilitation specialists are trained and certified to treat every kind of patient—from pediatric to geriatric—with a mission to maximize their functional capacity and return to full activity.

Our rehabilitation specialists work closely with patients and their referring physicians to develop treatment plans that are closely monitored and regularly reassessed to ensure their goals are met. The four types of therapy most often used to help a wide range of people with their problems and health and wellness goals are: physical, aquatic, occupational, and speech therapies.

Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy (PT) always begins with a comprehensive evaluation to determine a patient’s unique needs then a personalized treatment plan is designed to improve strength, range of motion, and daily activities that have been hindered due to physical disabilities or limitations resulting from injuries or various medical conditions.

Aquatic Therapy
Aquatic therapy combines traditional exercise with the water's buoyancy to enhance and accelerate the rehabilitation process. South Shore Hospital is one of the only hospitals in the area offer aquatic therapy to patients with orthopedic and neurological disorders who experience symptoms such as pain, weakness, weight bearing restrictions after surgery, swelling, and/or changes in muscle tone. Our two-pool facility allows therapists to tailor an exercise program for each patient using either our warm (92°) or cool (82°) pool environment.

Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapy (OT) is “therapy for daily living,” and focuses on using purposeful activities to restore, maximize and maintain function. The specific need for OT is often connected to an orthopedic or neurological condition, a traumatic injury or a recurring injury or illness. Occupational therapists help patients learn new ways to adapt to everyday living with the goal of improving function—whether at work, home, school or within the community.

Speech Therapy
Speech Therapy is designed to help patients regain and increase their ability to communicate through speech. From young children to those in their senior years, people of all ages may need speech therapy for a variety of reasons, ranging from delayed speech in children to impaired speech in adults who have suffered a stroke. South Shore Hospital’s outpatient speech therapy program helps those with voice, speech, cognitive language, or even swallowing problems. Once evaluated, a patient-specific treatment plan is developed, and regularly reassessed to ensure their goals are reached.

Watching a patient’s journey through the rehabilitation process is rewarding because the tremendous value it adds to the healing process is shown through improved functionality which maximizes one’s overall health. With treatment facilities conveniently located at South Shore Hospital, our Center for Orthopedic, Spine and Sports Medicine in Hingham, as well as our Center for Physical Wellness in Weymouth—our services accommodate patients’ work and school schedules whenever possible.

Once a patient completes a formal rehabilitation program, some choose to participate in our community exercise programs. Exercise is recommended to improve daily health and also to help relieve symptoms of many conditions. At the Center for Physical Wellness, our specially-trained exercise physiologists lead exercise classes developed to help build strength and flexibility.

Author

Jackie Kilrain, Director of Rehabilitation, South Shore Hospital