Mobility and Independence through Rehabilitation

by | Dec 29, 2016 | Blog

Rehabilitation programs can be extremely beneficial to improve mobility, balance, and strength after any type of illness or injury. For older adults who experience chronic pain and that have complex medical conditions, rehabilitation can impact how well they can get around. Rehabilitation can also include both occupational therapy and speech therapy. Occupational therapy helps make activities of daily living easier, while speech therapy helps older adults learn to communicate effectively. Proper rehabilitation and routine follow-up can help older adults regain or maintain their independence.

Aging brings on several physical and mental changes. This can lead to feelings of nervousness or apprehension about starting any sort of exercise program, due to the decline in muscle mass and bone density that may cause pain or discomfort. However, staying as active as possible is key to healthy aging. The less active you are, the more strength and balance you lose, both of which can lead to a debilitating fall. After a hospital stay for an injury, illness or surgery, many older adults begin rehabilitation programs to assist them with recovery. The type of therapy they received depends on the patient’s situation. For instance, a broken hip from a fall can require physical therapy to regain their strength and balance, while a stroke may require speech therapy and a variety of specific exercises to ensure steadiness and communication. Most therapies can influence strength and endurance levels helping patients maintain build stamina and resilience which can reduce the risk of a subsequent fall or stroke.

Most rehabilitation programs offer interdisciplinary care teams to support patients and their caregivers. Chronic Care Management (CCM) and Transitional Care Management (TCM) care teams can reinforce rehabilitative services. Whether older adults require long-term or short-term rehabilitation, Care Managers can play an important role in regaining or maintaining an independent and active lifestyle. Care Managers can help patients and their caregivers better understand costs, time requirements, medication needs and factors that most influence functional recovery. Planning care needs, optimizing preventive and rehabilitative strategies and ongoing monitoring of progress can be strengthened by CCM and TCM care teams.

Care Managers can document rehabilitation outcomes, record data in an electronic health record and give healthcare providers regular reports on key indicators of wellness and functionality. CCM and TCM care team assessments and evaluation for wound care, fall prevention, restraint reduction, restorative nursing, and immobility can help ensure safe transitions and consistent improvement in services.

Rehabilitation programs promote independence with daily living activities like bathing, eating, dressing, self-care and home management tasks. Physical therapy can focus primarily on independent mobility, regaining strength and balance, using proper body mechanics and energy saving techniques to better perform mobility tasks. Rehabilitation also increases functional communication, cognitive skills, and can teach safe swallowing, introduce diet modifications and special feeding techniques. Older adults hospitalized for medical illness, in need of restored functionality, or that require preventive rehabilitation gain strength and coordination from such programs. CCM and TCM care teams help patients, their caregivers, and health care providers promote overall wellness, ensuring individuals reach their goals and live as healthy and as confidently as possible.

Written by Joseph F. West, ScD on Thursday, 29 December 2016. Posted in Rehabilitation, Functional, Mobility, Post-Acute Care, TCM, CCM

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