Ask the Expert: Jay Mutchnik Vice President of Rehab at Future Care

Q. What makes FC's rehabilitation program so special?

FutureCare's Rehab programs are opened seven days a week at all 12 FutureCare locations and provide patients with all three Rehab disciplines (PT, OT, and SLP). Therapist perform a comprehensive patient evaluation at admission and create individualized plans of care, promoting a return to independence and home as quickly as possible. This is able to occur due to two main factors: The consistency of the Rehab staff and the multidisciplinary team approach to patient care.

Q.  For the rehabilitation program, is there a sense of continuity between a patient and the staff? For instance, is each patient with the same therapist throughout their treatment?

With our Rehab therapy staff's retention rate of 95%, the patient is offered a consistent therapist that enables the continuity of care. That same continuity of care is also enhanced by our specific treatment plans that have been individualized by our Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Licensed Physical and Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, and Dieticians.

Q. Can you tell me about the Virtual Reality equipment?

At FutureCare, we offer the latest state of the art Rehabilitation equipment. Such equipment includes our Virtual Rehabilitation System that is constantly being utilized with positive outcomes for our patients. With Virtual Rehabilitation, the Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech language Pathologists are able to guide our patients through specific exercises and activities with the use of a computer generated interactive environment. This specific technology uses a 3D camera and specialized computer software to track the patient's precise movements and then allow them to interact in a virtual world.

Q. What are some other new pieces of equipment offered at FutureCare's rehabilitation program?

Another innovative new piece of equipment that the Therapists are utilizing is our BioDex Balance System SD. This specific equipment has been designed for the evaluation and treatment of a variety of pathologies including orthopedic and neuro rehabilitation that encompass balance, agility and muscle tone deficiencies. The Balance system is designed for the patient to improve balance in both the static and dynamic positions, increase all agility including walking and transferring, and to develop muscle tone. Our most recent professional Rehab equipment is the Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow or FEES and the Vital Stim Therapy. They are utilized by our licensed Speech Language Pathologists who have been certified in the FEES and Vital Stim utilization. This equipment steps up our quality of care especially for patients in FutureCare's Vent Units and for all of our patients with swallowing disorders.

Q. How quickly do people typically go home after therapy?

Though the discharge from Facility to home has a lot of variables that play into the process, on average FutureCare Rehab discharges 85% of its patients back to their homes. Our primary goal is to teach fundamental rehabilitation techniques in order to help each patient maximize function and expedite recovery. We work on a safe discharge that may request Home Health care or continued Therapy in an outpatient rehab center. Some discharges occur immediately after Therapy ends and other discharges take longer due to the complexity of the pathology or multiple pathologies.

Q. What happens between the transitions from hospital to home?

As the patient approaches the completion of their rehab goals or a plateau level, a social worker contacts the family to solidify the discharge plan, confirms with the physician , gets scripts, contacts a home health agency , orders recommended equipment for the patients home and sends a notification of discharge to all disciplines. The family members are highly encouraged to schedule observation times and training sessions such as learning how to assist with car transfers. The family is also encouraged to contact any member of the Rehab Team with any questions or concerns. A more in depth discharge meeting is arranged with the family and the specific Rehab Teams and other disciplines prior to the final discharge. Both Rehab and Nursing confirm that all the family training has occurred, in order to ensure a safe discharge and a smooth transition to the patient's home.

Q. Does FutureCare have specialized Therapists? Can you tell me more about them?

Yes. We have Speech Language Pathologists who are certified in the FEES testing and Vital Stim neuromuscular reeducation treatments in regards to swallowing pathologies. We also have Physical therapists who are Certified Lymphodema specialists and travel to all of our buildings to help develop individualized Lymphodema plans of care. In addition we have licensed staff that teach at the College / University level for their discipline specific License (Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and, Speech Language Pathology).

Q. If I am looking for a top rehab program, what factors do I need to consider?

There are many important factors. The first is that it is a seven-day a week rehab program. Do your homework. Go online and look through surveys to determine what the issues are. Is this place a top workplace like FutureCare? How engaged do the nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians seem? It goes without saying that you should make sure the therapists are all licensed and that there are strong therapist to patient ratios. Some other key stats to get are: the average length of stay per diagnosis and the percent of patient discharge.

Q. As a family member, how can I actively participate in my loved ones recovery?

We advise families to attend and participate in family meetings, care plan meetings, and even rehab sessions. We encourage families to maintain consistent communication with the rehab and multi-disciplinary team. Lastly, make sure your home is ready for the patient upon their return— remove barriers in the home, make the home safe and modify bathrooms, showers, and tubs for safety. Add a ramp if required for outside steps and curbs. Create a safe environment.