UR Medicine opens acute brain injury rehab unit

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UR Medicine’s new $7 million Acute Brain Injury NeuroRehabilitation Unit meets a regional need for services aimed at recovery and independence. The 11-bed unit opened Tuesday at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Designed to serve patients recovering from strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and other types of acute acquired brain injuries, the unit is integrated into the hospital’s trauma, surgical, and intensive care programs, officials say. 

“The unit is physically designed to appropriately manage patients with cognitive and behavioral deficits and accounts for the clinical, physical, cognitive, communication, and nutritional conditions necessary to create an optimal environment for the brain to heal,” says Heather Ma M.D., a brain injury rehabilitation medicine specialist and assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. “The staff are uniquely qualified to guide recovery, help patients improve or maintain function, and improve overall health and quality of life after an acute brain injury.”

The Acute Brain Injury NeuroRehabilitation Unit is led by experts in brain injury rehabilitation medicine. The multidisciplinary team is staffed with rehabilitation nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, recreational therapists, care managers, dietitians, and psychologists.

“This new unit strengthens our ability to provide integrated and coordinated care for cognitively impaired brain injury patients,” says Rajeev Patel M.D., chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “Keeping these patients here at Strong Memorial allows easier coordination of care with their acute care physicians who, in many cases, are only a floor away.” 

Care teams will focus on improving cognition, balance, vision, motor control and other deficits associated with brain injuries. The goal: restoring independence.

“Our unique service line model allows for our brain injury rehabilitation medicine physicians to provide continuity of care from acute floor consultation, admission and medical management on our new brain injury unit, and follow-up in the outpatient clinic setting after discharge,” Patel says.

The unit is expected to assist adult and pediatric patients. Private rooms accommodate and involve family members in recovery with safety features for patients experiencing cognitive and behavioral problems because of brain injuries, UR says.

Many patients often require some long-term support and rehabilitation. The team at the unit is also charged with helping them reintegrate into the community with referrals to local resources upon discharge.

The unit supplements the existing 20-bed Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit at Strong Memorial, increasing total acute inpatient rehabilitation beds at the hospital to 31, officials say. Strong Memorial is the only Level 1 trauma facility in Western New York.

“The Acute Brain Injury Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit adds much needed acute rehab beds to our community and expands UR Medicine’s capacity to deliver advanced and integrated care to trauma and stroke patients who come to us from our affiliates and other hospitals in the region,” says Kathy Parrinello, Strong Memorial chief operating officer.   

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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