Technologically Advanced Acute Rehab

Facility’s expertise and technology raise the bar for therapy after surgery.

After rehab at Encompass Health, Lynn is back to working around the house.

Before retiring in 2013, Bracy “Lynn” Williams served 33 years as the facilities manager for Indian River County. His job involved the maintenance and operation of various buildings.

“We took care of the courthouse, the libraries, the jail, the administration complex and the elections office,” details Lynn, 69. “By the time I retired, we were caring for about three-quarters of a million square feet of space.”

Most of Lynn’s career was spent with the county, but he got his start in the air-conditioning business alongside his father.

“After my father retired, I tried to make a go of the business by myself, but I wasn’t quite ready,” he shares. “I went to work for the school district, and from there I went to the county and never left.”

Lynn’s profession made him quite handy around the house. He built two homes from the ground up and remodeled several others. He performs all the repairs on his current home as well. Late last year, however, he had to stop doing the repair work due to intense back pain.

“Wear and tear over the years caused serious problems with my back,” Lynn bemoans. “I developed central canal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerves.

“I also had scoliosis, a sideways curve of the spine, and a herniated disc. Those conditions caused a lot of pain and limited my mobility. I couldn’t golf or play tennis.” The pain ran the gamut, from sharp to aching to crampy.

“It pinched my hip and ran all the way down my right leg to my foot,” he describes. “I couldn’t walk more than 100 or 150 feet without having to stop. On a scale of one to 10, the pain wasn’t a constant 10, but it hit 10 regularly.”

To correct his back conditions, Lynn underwent two spinal surgeries in January. Afterward, Lynn remained in considerable pain and could not walk, and his orthopedic surgeon recommended a stay at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Treasure Coast.

‘The Right Leadership’

The only acute rehab hospital in Vero Beach, Encompass Health offers a higher level of care than a skilled nursing facility, and it’s well-equipped to treat patients recovering from neck and back surgery.

“Patients deserve the most advanced rehabilitation in the most beneficial setting for them following an accident, illness, injury or surgery,” stresses the business development director at Encompass Health, Dawn Bucaj, RN, BSN. “We offer advanced technology, clinical expertise and personalized therapy in a fully coordinated rehab program.”

The goal of treatment at Encompass Health is to achieve the best outcomes for patients, more so than what can be achieved at any other level.

“Encompass Health is fully accredited by the Joint Commission for medical and therapeutic services,” Dawn reports. “This certification covers our advanced technologies, intense therapies, expert knowledge and innovative solutions. We also earned Joint Commission disease-specific certification in stroke and brain injury rehabilitation. Accreditation raises the bar for excellence in health care leadership.

“Our rehab program includes three hours of therapy per day. This therapy is not aggressive. It’s based on the patient’s current level of ability. Certain activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, are part of the therapy.”

Recently, Encompass Health added telemetry to its inpatient services, further enhancing its level of care for cardiac patients.

“Telemetry is a way to continuously monitor a patient’s heart activity in real time,” Dawn educates. “While in our hospital, cardiac patients who meet telemetry guidelines wear specialized heart monitors. Dedicated clinicians focus on reading those monitors to detect any deviations, such as changes in heart rate or rhythm, which may signal a problem.”

Olivia Burgess, a physical therapist assistant at Encompass Health, details the coordinated rehab program at the hospital.

“The therapists helped me get my strength back and learn to walk with a walker, so I could go home safely.” – Lynn

“Initially, there’s a team conference that includes the patient, the physician’s case manager, the nursing staff and the therapists,” she describes. “During that meeting, the group discusses the patients’ current functional mobility, their goals and any barriers to discharge.

“Then, depending on the complexity of the diagnosis, the team develops a plan of care that includes therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular reeducation, gait training and safety training.”

The nurses and therapists at Encompass Health use a variety of innovations to complement their hands-on techniques for a more thorough retraining of muscles and nerves wounded by surgery. The staff used some of these technologies with Lynn.

“We have the Biodex Balance System, which can be used to assess or retrain, depending on the patient’s balance issues,” Olivia describes. “The Biodex BioStep semi-recumbent elliptical combines lower body motion with upper body movements for a total body workout that doesn’t place stress on the joints.

“We also have the SciFit® upper body machine, which builds strength. The therapists are trained in adjusting these technologies to suit the patient’s needs. They applied some of them to Mr. Williams’ rehab program.”

Qualified patients are admitted to Encompass Health 365 days a year from their homes or from an acute care hospital or assisted living facility.

“Patients must ask for us by name,” Dawn emphasizes. “They can also call us directly at (772) 563-4070.”

“No Real Pain”

Lynn’s second surgery was on a Tuesday. He arrived at Encompass Heath the following Friday and stayed for 10 days.

“I had therapy twice a day for three hours total,” Lynn reports. “Some was one-on-one with the therapist and some was in a group setting. The therapists helped me get my strength back and learn how to walk with a walker so I could go home safely. That was their goal for me.

“Now, I walk fine without a walker. Yesterday, I walked a mile and a half. I’m not golfing or playing tennis yet, but I hope to get back on the golf course in a few months.”

Prior to his surgery, Lynn’s pain often hit 10 on a scale of one to 10.

“Now, my pain is a one or two,” he reveals. “There’s no real pain. It’s more of an ache where they disrupted my back muscles to do the surgery. Extra Strength Tylenol® typically takes care of that.

“The people at Encompass Health took care of the rest and they were great. I can’t say enough about them. The nurses were very helpful and compassionate. The therapists were patient and dedicated to their jobs. My time there was a very positive experience.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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