Rehabilitation: What Does it Actually Mean?

Rehabilitation can mean many things to many people. A building that is old and rundown needs to be rehabilitated, a criminal during his imprisonment is hopefully rehabilitated so he can return productively to society, a person accused of some scandal needs to be rehabilitated back into the good graces of the society he came from. Rehabilitation , obviously, also means physical rehabilitation after a severe injury or disease. In the latter situation it isn’t enough for the patient to be hospitalized for a period of time and then return home. There is a very complicated process performed by very highly trained individuals that work as a team to assure that the patient is able to function as close to his normal ability as possible.

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is perhaps one of the most devastating neurological injuries and the primary goals of rehabilitation are: a) prevention of secondary complications, b)maximization of physical functioning, and c)reintegration into the community.

SCI rehabilitation is most effective with a multidisciplinary, team-based approach, as follows:

Physical therapists typically focus on lower extremity function and with mobility functions.
Occupational therapists are involved with upper extremity dysfunction and difficulties in activities of daily living
Rehabilitation nurses are concerned with issues of bowel and bladder dysfunction and managing pressure ulcers
Psychologists deal with emotional and behavioral concerns of the injured patient and with any potential cognitive dysfunction
Speech-language pathologists focus on issues of communication and swallowing
Case managers and social workers are the primary coordinators between the rehabilitation team, the patient and family, and the financial source.
A physiatrist manages the whole team. He is a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. While each team member has primary responsibilities, any other member of the team can contribute to the resolution of any problem.

When it comes to choosing the most appropriate physical therapy tools the team would hopefully consider the most cost effective and efficient devices on the market. Such a tool would be the TUTOR system. The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR are used extensively in Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation.

The TUTOR system consists of ergonomic wearable devices together with powerful dedicated rehabilitation software. The system is indicated for patients in rehabilitation centers, private clinics and the home where it can be supported by telerehabilitation. It is designed for those who have head, trunk, upper and lower extremity movement dysfunction.

The system consists of motivating and challenging games that allow the patient to practice isolated and/or interjoint coordination exercises. Controlled exercise practice helps to prevent the development of compensatory movement patterns. The dedicated software allows the therapist to fully customize the exercises to the patient’s movement ability. In addition the therapist can objectively and quantitatively evaluate and report on the treatment progress. The rehabilitation system optimizes the patient’s motor, sensory and cognitive performance and allows the patient to better perform everyday functional tasks to improve their quality of life. The TUTOR system is FDA and CE certified and can be adapted to children as well as adults. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

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