Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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Meet Our Care Team

Patients and families are an integral part of the team. Physicians, rehabilitation nurses, care managers, therapy staff and other rehabilitation partners work with each patient and family to set indivdualized goals.

The following links include detailed explanations of the professionals you may meet on the rehabilitation unit. The rehabilitation physicians on the unit are:

Admissions Coordinator
Our admissions coordinator meets with each patient and family to assist with the smooth transition to the Rehabilitation Care Unit.

A rehabilitation physician called a physiatrist assesses each patient. They act as the team leader, responsible for the medical management and overall plan of care of their patients. The physiatrist meets with the interdisciplinary team to set the patient directed goals and to monitor the rehabilitation process. After discharge, patients can continue to see their physiatrist as an outpatient for future rehabilitation needs.

Nursing Services 
Registered nurses (RNs) and nursing care technicians (NCTs) work together as a team to provide care to each patient. Many of the RNs are certified rehabilitation registered nurses (CRRNs).They specialize in caring for individuals with physical disabilities and chronic illness to promote optimal health.

Care Managers
Care managers or social workers help families with discharge planning. They coordinate family involvement in the rehabilitation process, complete a discharge planning assessment with the assistance of patients and families, and serve as the liaison between patients/family members and the rehabilitation team.

Rehabilitation Services Care Coordinator
The rehabilitation services care coordinator helps patients and families access outpatient rehabilitation services following their inpatient program. The care coordinator also works with outpatients to assist in locating therapy services in the community.

For more information, contact Cathy Schlesinger at or 847.723.6884.

Occupational Therapist
The goal of occupational therapy is to maximize an individual's independence with daily activities. These activities may include, but are not limited to, dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting and homemaking. The occupational therapist uses therapeutic activities and adaptive equipment to assist patients in meeting their goals established after the initial evaluation.

During a patient's stay on our unit, an occupational therapist will:

  • Recommend therapeutic adaptations such as assistive equipment and physical environment design.
  • Develop ways to increase/improve physical strength, endurance, mobility, coordination and balance.
  • Assist in development of the skills necessary to return to work, household tasks and community activities (for example, grocery shopping).
  • Teach patients to compensate for losses of sensation and vision.
  • Address difficulty with thinking and planning, memory, problem solving and orientation through the use of computer and therapeutic activities.

Physical Therapist
The goal of physical therapy is to optimize physical mobility, strength and balance, and to promote healing so an individual can achieve maximum functional mobility and independence at home and in the community.

After an initial evaluation by a physical therapist, the patient, family, physical therapist and rehabilitation team work together to establish treatment goals. An individualized treatment plan is specifically tailored to each patient's needs.

During a patient's stay on our unit, the physical therapist will:

  • Provide therapeutic exercises and activities to promote improved strength, mobility, balance and coordination.
  • Provide training to improve walking and/or to promote independence in wheelchair mobility.
  • Evaluate and determine need for mobility equipment and/or assistive devices, such as a walker or cane.
  • Provide one-on-one teaching for family members and caregivers related to transfer and mobility techniques and patient safety needs.
  • Provide a home exercise program to promote continued recovery and strengthening after discharge.

Speech-Language Pathologist or Speech Therapist
Speech language pathology (also known as speech therapy) is provided for patients who show communication, cognitive (thinking ability) and/or swallowing difficulties. Individuals who have experienced a stroke, brain injury or other neurological disorders may exhibit difficulties such as:

  • Decreased memory, orientation to time and place, reasoning skills, and attention and concentration.
  • Swallowing difficulty (dysphagia) and decreased ability to control food in the mouth, chewing or passage of liquid or food through the throat.
  • Difficulty speaking due to weakness in tongue, lip, and face muscles resulting in slurred speech (dysarthria) and/or voice disorders.
  • Trouble recalling and formulating words fluently due to a break down in the brain's ability to transmit the speech message (aphasia).
  • Effort understanding what is said because of a breakdown in the brain's ability to process spoken language (aphasia).

During a patient's stay on our unit, the speech-language therapist will:

  • Fully assess the above areas and develop treatment goals considering patient and family input.
  • Provide treatment to upgrade communication, cognition and/or swallow status.
  • Offer ongoing patient and family instruction and counseling.
  • Deliver pertinent written and verbal instruction after patient discharge to aid in continuity of care.

Therapeutic Recreation Specialist or Recreational Therapist
Therapeutic recreation (also referred to as recreational therapy) services help patients develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As part of the rehabilitation program, patients have the opportunity to participate in various leisure activities, such as: arts and crafts, table games, sports, animal-assisted therapy and music therapy, that promote carryover of their rehab goals. Recreational therapy services are offered in individual, group and community settings. These services benefit an individual by:

  • Increasing functional abilities
  • Illustrating ways to modify leisure activities to minimize limitations
  • Teaching stress management techniques
  • Promoting independence within community settings

Neuropsychology is a discipline based on an understanding of the brain-behavior relationship. Neuropsychologists are licensed psychologists with specialty training in brain-behavior relationships. Neuropsychology technicians are also part of the neuropsychology team.

As part of an interdisciplinary evaluation, neuropsychologists perform neuropsychological evaluations, which may include a series of tests to determine a person's cognitive or emotional functioning. The evaluation assesses attention, memory, common sense reasoning, problem solving and safety reasoning. It helps in planning treatment programs, evaluating progress and planning for the future. The neuropsychologist working with you and your family members will provide feedback to help develop post-discharge rehabilitation plans.

An equally important service provided by neuropsychology is that of supportive psychotherapy. Adjustment to illness or injury that requires extended hospitalization or rehabilitation can be complex. Often, such illnesses or injuries affect a person's ability to communicate, walk or take care of daily needs. Subsequently, adjustments or accommodations must be made for success.

Changes in functional abilities may lead to major changes in a person's ability to work or resume previous life activities. Often, many people experience feelings of frustration, anger, sadness or loss following such changes, or may feel a diminished sense of self-esteem or self-worth. Such feelings are a normal part of the adjustment process but may lead to stress for both patient and family. Supportive therapy helps with these adjustments.

Mission and Spiritual Care
The cornerstone of our mission as a faith-based hospital is care of the whole person: body, mind and spirit. This includes meeting the spiritual needs of patients, family members, staff and volunteers.

Chaplains are available to accompany patients and families as they face uncertain situations and examine their needs. Chaplains assist with difficult questions and issues pertaining to illness, loss and life transitions.

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