Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation : About

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Ochsner's Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation treats a wide range of problems from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. Physiatrists (physical medicine specialists) may see a patient who lifts heavy objects at work and experiences back pain, an athlete with a sprained ankle, or a person suffering from arthritis, tendonitis, or work-related injuries. Physiatrists also treat serious disorders of the musculoskeletal system that result in severe physical limitations such as those of stroke patients, amputees, and patients who have been in car accidents.

Physiatrists do not perform surgery. Instead, they treat through the use of more conservative methods (e.g. heat and cold, electrotherapies, massage, therapeutic exercise, etc.), prescription medication, and assistive devices such as braces and artificial limbs. For more information, visit out Services page. We recognize that every patient is an individual, with his or her own personal goals, and we design each therapy program to fulfill the particular needs of each individual patient. We also remember that smiles and personal contact are often are more valuable than high-tech equipment or individual expertise. Because patients and their families are an integral part of the health care team – but cannot do their part if they are not informed – our therapists explain each step in the rehabilitative process, as well as the expected results. We also discuss the treatment plan with the patient’s physician and other members of the health care team to ensure optimal success.

Ochsner Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Services

Ochsner Physiatrists help patients restore and maintain optimal health. In addition to our inpatient and general outpatient programs, the Ochsner Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department offers a variety of services including:

  • Outpatient consultation services, follow-up care, and EMG (electromyography) analysis
  • Inpatient rehabilitation of patients suffering from stroke, spinal cord injury, neuromuscular disease, amputation, orthopedic and neurological disorders, and multitrauma
  • Orthotics Clinic for patients who may need a back brace or foot brace
  • Prosthetics clinic for amputees

Outpatient Clinical Services

Patients of all ages – from pediatric to geriatric – can benefit from special programs and services focused on returning to full functioning at work, at home, and in the community. Functional Capacity evaluations use the Isernhagen Work Systems. This five-hour, two-part test clearly defines an individual’s work-related functional abilities. Driving Evaluations are performed to assess an individual’s ability to drive safely. A driving evaluation is indicated for patients who have experienced decreased strength, decreased range of motion, limb loss, impaired cognitive skills or decreased endurance. Aquatic Therapy benefits patients with a wide variety of physical impairments. The buoyancy of water helps patients move more easily with less stress on joints. Treatment plans are designed for each patient with the goal of gains in overall endurance and range of motion. Early Intervention is a program designed to encourage the development of infants and toddlers, especially those with developmental disabilities. The early intervention team consists of physical, occupational and speech therapists; a social worker; and an early childhood educator. Classroom services are offered in an integrated environment where children can interact and learn from each other through activities guided by adults or peers. Fall Prevention provides an assessment of and education in home safety, assistive device needs, gait quality improvement and appropriate exercise programs. Hand Therapy refers to rehabilitation of the hand and arm to prevent dysfunction, restore function, or reverse pathology. Ochsner’s certified hand therapists are skilled in the treatment after surgery and of trauma, arthritis, burns, inflammatory disorders and other ailments of the hand and arm.

Inpatient Hospital Services

Ochsner's Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit provides care for patients suffering from stroke, spinal cord injury, neuromuscular disease, arthritis, amputation and orthopedic and neurological disorders. A multidisciplinary team – including a physiatrist; a nurse; physical, occupational, recreational and speech therapists; and a social worker – designs an individual plan of care for each patient. Special services include help with activities of daily living, home evaluations and community reintegration. Ochsner’s Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit is accredited by both the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). This accreditation assures consumers that the programs and services offered are state-of-the-art, meet national standards, and are focused on achieving the optimal outcome for each individual served. General Acute Care Therapy can return the patient to his or her previous functional level. In addition to the Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit, our physical and occupational therapists provides therapeutic services in areas such as the acute care gym, hydrotherapy, bedside skilled-nursing, and pediatrics. Special resources include the stroke rehabilitation team, the transplant rehabilitation team, and the wound care clinic.