By Danae Theakston
For many patients who suffer a neurological injury, the journey to recovery continues long after discharge from the hospital. Outpatient neurological rehabilitation services allow patients to continue to work towards their recovery and improve their quality of life. Not only does this enable patients to return home and begin re-engaging in life, but it also reduces the number of bed days patients are spending in hospital, thus streamlining internal bed flow.
Noticing a void in the Central LHIN to offer these services, Dr. David Srour, Physician in the Complex Medical Rehab and Medicine Programs at Southlake Regional Health Centre, together with the neurological rehabilitation team, lead a proposal for funding to open an Outpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Clinic to offer these services. In December 2016, Southlake Regional Health Centre received temporary funding through the Central LHIN to begin offering outpatient services to patients with recent neurological injuries within the boundaries of the Central LHIN.
“Our successes to date have been numerous,” notes Sarah Thorne, an Occupational Therapist and Coordinator in the clinic. “We have more than doubled our target volume of referred/admitted patients for the first quarter, despite a soft opening and initially shallow referral pool.”
The clinic is helping patients with acute neurological events such as recent strokes, tumor resection, head traumas, and more. The outpatient neurological rehabilitation clinic is focused on providing rehabilitation services to patients closer to home despite the location of their initial medical/surgical and rehabilitation treatments. Incidentally, the clinic has also been able to offer therapy to patients who have not had any acute or rehabilitation inpatient admission.
The clinic team offers Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology services three full days per week. In addition, clerical and rehabilitation assistance/communicative disorders assistance support is available to patients on a part-time basis, five days per week.
“Our clinicians have had the opportunity to offer functional, patient-specific and goal-directed therapies from which we have received overwhelming feedback,” adds Thorne. “The emotional and holistic impact of being able to have access to these services while living at home aids in our patients’ abilities to successfully resume a normal life.”
The Outpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Clinic will continue to help patients re-engage with their lives by helping facilitate the return to work, school, leisure, travel and functional independence until March 2018.
Danae Theakston works in Communications at Southlake Regional Health Centre.