Residents of a nursing home are admitted for long-term or short-term
stays. The Rehabilitation Department of the nursing home strives
to serve all of the residents, in obtaining the highest level
of functional independence possible. There are three disciplines
included in the Rehabilitation Department: Physical Therapy,
Occupational Therapy, and Speech/Language Therapy.
Rehabilitation is the process of returning an individual to the
highest level of functional independence following an expected
or unexpected trauma that results in a disability of a temporary
or permanent nature. On a day-to-day basis we perform many activities
that are routine to us. These activities include, but are not
limited to: walking, bathing, eating, reading, talking and cooking.
When a elderly person suffers a trauma, performance of these
routine activities becomes more difficult, or impossible. It
is the focus of those who rehabilitate, to teach the individuals
how to adapt to the changes they will have in their lives, and
how to best perform that task again safely, skillfully, and with
What is Physical Therapy?
A Physical Therapist is a graduate of a four or five year accredited
program, and has either a Bachelors or Masters Degree in Physical
Therapy. He or she must also pass a licensing examination prior
to practicing. A graduate of a two-year program, a Physical Therapist
Assistant, must also pass a licensing exam prior to practicing
under the supervision of a Licensed Physical Therapist.
Physical Therapy is the re-education of human movement and function
through exercise, muscle re-education and repetition. Activities
that are the focus of Physical Therapy are: walking with or without
the assistance of a device such as a walker or cane, climbing
up and down stairs with and/or without a railing, getting oneself
into and out of bed, rolling side to side while in bed, transferring
into and out of a bed, chair, car and wheelchair, and improving
balance both in standing and sitting.
What is Occupational Therapy?
The educational background of an Occupational Therapist is similar
to those of a Physical Therapist. They too are required to pass
examinations prior to practicing. They are best known as Occupational
Therapist Registered/Licensed, OTR/L, and Certified Occupational
Therapist Assistant, COTA.
It is the role of an Occupational Therapist to evaluate and treat
a person in the performance of activities that we do on a daily
basis such as bathing, grooming, dressing, getting on and off
of a toilet, and preparing a small snack or meal. These activities
are referred to as activities of daily living, or ADL's. Often
times, following a trauma, these tasks can only be performed with
the assistance of adaptive equipment. Instrumental Activities
of Daily Living, IADL's, are more complex tasks that involve complex
thinking and problem solving abilities. These tasks include,
but are not limited to, financial strategies such as checkbook
management, menu preparation, grocery shopping, and household
What is Speech Therapy?
Speech and Language Pathologists, SLP/CCC, undergo rigorous schooling
and clinical practicums prior to practicing their professions.
After graduating from a four-year program, he/she enters a Masters
level program specific for Speech-Language Pathology, followed
by a national examination.
The services that a Speech-Language Pathologist provides to those
in a "rehabilitation" program may include the evaluation
and treatment of the individual who has difficulty talking, reading
and writing. Patients who have difficulty swallowing are evaluated
and treated, following a Modified Barium Swallow, or otherwise
called a MBS. This evaluation is generally performed in a hospital
setting on an out-patient basis. Patients who have a hearing
loss can be treated by an SLP. Those who may have short and /or
long-term memory loss or confusion can be instructed in compensatory
strategies' that will help them to lead a safer, and more fulfilling