Giving Your Loved One the Best Chance
As we enter into the fall season a few thoughts about what we enjoy throughout the year come to mind. Here are a few of the joys we love to experience:
A fall of apple picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and touch football;
A winter of skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding;
A spring of road trips, picnics, outdoor bikes-hikes-walks, cleaning, gardening, and pruning;
A summer of boating, paddleboarding, swimming, and camping.
Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer…
An Ordinary Day Can Turn Unexpectedly!
In January 2016, Brett Becker and his family set out to Wisconsin for their family ski trip. They never imagined their time of joy would so quickly turn to sorrow. For the next several months Brett would process through the fight of his life as he began to heal from a severe traumatic brain injury sustained while skiing. In the beginning, Brett was in a minimally conscious state. His clinical team went to work immediately, and their extraordinary efforts paid off.
UPDATE - Inspired by the excellent interdisciplinary care he received, Brett graduated this past June from Indiana University with his degree in Recreational Therapy, just four and a half years after his accident. Read about Brett’s story.
In 2018, Andy McCue fell down a flight of stairs sustaining a severe spinal cord injury that left him incapable of performing even the basic activities for daily living. Andy, healthy and active man, became paralyzed by this freak accident. He went through six months of intensive physical and occupational therapy and he worked with great determination to accomplish his new goals.
UPDATE - Reaching the pinnacle of celebrations, Andy had the joy and honor of walking his daughter, Mary, down the aisle on her wedding day, nearly one year after his fall. Read about Andy’s story.
2020 has now become known as the year that ushered in the coronavirus pandemic. Known as COVID-19, this virus has affected our world’s population differently. What we do know, however, is that prolonged hospitalization presents challenges. It has become evident that recovery following the acute phase of this illness warrants many patients to enter into rehabilitation facilities for post-acute care, “Long ICU stays can lead to other problems: muscle weakness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, a form of disorientation called “ICU delirium” and cognitive problems with memory and problem-solving.” Live Well Nebraska Magazine.
UPDATE – Physically, neurologically and cognitively many patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are not as strong as they were prior to contracting the virus, once released. Rehabilitation provides patients the chance to successfully reclaim their lives; not only from the effects of the illness on their physical body, but also from anxiety, depression, even post-traumatic stress.
Endurance and Independence
The Medical Definition of Rehabilitation is “the process of helping a person who has suffered an illness or injury restore lost skills and so regain maximum self-sufficiency; physical, psychological, social and vocational function.” Types of rehabilitation include occupational, physical and speech.
Countless men, women and children have turned their setbacks into comebacks. They are choosing not to allow their injury or illness to define them, but rather to shape them as a person. You can find the most inspiring patient stories from every rehabilitation hospital in the nation. And while you are there, take a look at the hospitals vision statements, they are just as inspiring. Here are a few:
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab - “To Advance Human Ability.”
Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation - “Advancing care. Sharing knowledge. Rebuilding Lives. And celebrating every breakthrough.”
Craig Hospital - “Together we bravely strive for optimal health, independence and life quality with unyielding determination.”
TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation & Research - “We don’t just rehabilitate. We empower.”
Shepherd Center - “To rebuild lives with hope, independence and dignity, advocating for full inclusion in all aspects of community life.”
Moss Rehabilitation - “Brilliance and compassion in all we touch.”
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital - “Restoring hope and freedom through rehabilitation.”
Best Rehabilitation Hospitals
in the United States
On July 28th U.S. News & World Report published its annual update of the best rehabilitation hospitals nationwide, listing their rankings and ratings. In order, and with direct links to each, here are the top 12 hospitals earning a place on the Honor Roll in the select specialty area of rehabilitation:
The U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Honor Roll rankings further highlighted an additional 34 U.S. rehabilitation hospitals. Should you have an interest, here is how U.S. News & World Report analyzed the data, pulled it together and made it available for us to review: Methodology U.S. News & World Report 2020-21 Best Hospitals: Specialty Rankings.
Each of these hospitals, in concert with their dedicated staff, are committed to the ongoing contributions they make every day towards the health, well-being and mobility of patients. Once you decide on which hospital is your best option, visit their website to look at “outcomes.” Benchmarked against regional and national hospitals, you can see the results for hospitals around the country leading the way in rehabilitation.
Travel to That Next Level of Care
Understanding available transportation methods will bring tremendous peace of mind to patients and their families. With these outstanding rehabilitation hospitals throughout the country, you, or your loved one, may be close enough to receive excellence of care near your place of residence. If, however this is not the case, there is a means to be transported and arrive at that next level of care in a safe and timely manner.
When it comes to the transporting of patients, from where they are to where they need to go, time is of the essence.
Have You Considered Air Ambulance?
A patient who sustains a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury or who has suffered a stroke, may require an air medical transport to their next level of care. Due to medical necessity, patients can be transported by air ambulance quickly, safely and comfortably.
Understandably, the thought of flying while critically ill or injured can create unease. However, when considering the advantage of air ambulance keep this in mind: An air ambulance is a medically configured ICU, providing a level of highly skilled medical care in flight. This method of transportation affords patients the ability to safely travel longer distances and reach their chosen hospital much more quickly than either conventional ground transportation (personal vehicle or ambulance) or commercial flights.
Here are a few additional matters of importance when choosing your air ambulance provider:
- Look for a provider whose flight crew and clinical team are focused on safety and the delivery of high quality, patient-centered care.
- Look for a provider who exceeds required air medical transport certification standards. Can you imagine how different it must be to care for a patient being flown thousands of feet in the air, for hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles -vs- on the ground, in a hospital where every resource is readily available? Therefore, you will want clinicians with not only the years of experience in critical care, but also who have the added designation of flight certification; Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) and Flight Paramedic Certified (FP-C).
- Look for a provider who partners with hospital case managers and social workers to provide a seamless, less stressful, experience for patients and their families.
- Look for a provider with a flight coordination team dedicated to simplifying the process and saving you time through their logistical handling of the bedside-to-bedside transfer.
- Look for a provider with insurance specialists who will streamline the insurance process by handling the verification of benefits and preauthorization request submissions.
- Look for a provider who is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; Ready to assist day and night.
The air ambulance industry is taking care higher, providing cancer patients a fighting chance as they journey on to their next level of care.
Karen Derr, EMBA
Karen is the Business Development Manager at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance, heading up relationship management across the country. She specializes in engaging healthcare professionals at conferences and facility in-services from coast-to-coast. She has her Bachelor’s in Communication and an Executive MBA with an emphasis in Leadership. Karen has worked in Marketing and Relationship Management for the majority of her career, in addition to teaching college-level Marketing, Business and Management courses.