With you all the way
May 12, 2017
At key Melbourne centres, clinicians walk the long journey of recovery with patients undertaking rehabilitation.
Staff at Ramsay Health Care rehabilitation hospitals say they work in the most positive healthcare field possible.
Their expertise is physical rehabilitation, working with peoplewho have come through often life-changing surgery, injury or illness.
"Our patients aren’t well enough to go home, but they are ready to leave acute care," says Jenny Haig,CEO of Donvale Rehabilitation Hospital – one of Ramsay’s five Victorian centres. "Our work can absolutely transform lives."
She gives some typical examples of Donvale’s patients.
"You might have had a serious respiratory or cardiac illness and so spent a substantial period in acute or even intensive care. That often means you’ve been lying still and your body has become ‘deconditioned’.
"Or someone may have had a fall from a roof and broken multiple bones. We start with them at that point, after the major trauma surgery that saved their life. All our clinicians walk that long journey of recovery with the patient to get them back to their full potential.
"In the beginning they’re in pain and may not be able to get out of bed, but we work with them until they are well enough to walk out the door.
"It’s absolutely transformative – and that’s an incredibly rewarding thing to be part of."
Haig says people can have very different goals. "Someone who’s had a hip replacement after severe arthritis might tell us golf is the passion of their lives. We work to restore them to the point where they can play again.We lower their pain level and improve their mobility.
"Others might want to be able to play with their grandchildren after spinal surgery.
"There’s enormous variation, but we have those conversations and aim to help people get back to what they want to be able to do. Each case is tailored to each individual. Nothing is done to a rote formula."
There’s a common misconception that rehabilitation is hard to do, she says.
"However, our clinical teams are extremely skilled at working with every patient at the level they’re at.
"And there is no age limit –we have rehabilitated a patient who was 108 years old." That senior citizen went home after a full recovery from illness.
Physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, social workers and psychologists work with patients.
A medical rehabilitation specialist oversees the team, so there’s always a doctor working on the case. Nursing care is round the clock.
"Our speech therapists most frequently work with patients who have suffered froma stroke, or with patients who have swallowing disorders, including those related to a neck injury or neck surgery," Haig says.
Psychologists are an important part of the team. Haig gives the example of a patient suffering multiple bone fractures after a car accident: "The psychologist may help them to sleep better or manage flashbacks."
Along with Donvale, Ramsay Health Care has rehabilitation centres at Masada Private Hospital, Beleura Private Hospital, Shepparton Private Hospital and Wangaratta Private Hospital.
"That means we can offer our services to patients from Melbourne or around Victoria," Haig says.
With permission from Age, Melbourne.