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Fallbrook Man Who Broke Neck Learns How To Walk Again At New Rehab Hospital

 July 28, 2021 at 10:23 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 A new rehabilitation hospital is now officially opened in the north county KPBS health reporter. Matt Hoffman says everything inside and out was built with the idea of getting critically injured patients back into their homes. Speaker 2: 00:15 I'm going to talk to you a ball. Okay. All right. You want to try it? Yeah. Okay. Speaker 3: 00:23 All right. All right. 77 year old, Doug Bailey is in the middle of a physical therapy session. He bounces a ball back and forth, then gets out of a wheelchair to walk around Speaker 2: 00:32 The gym around kind of around the front of the car. Speaker 3: 00:37 After a horrible bike accident, which broke his neck and caused spinal cord damage. Bailey was transferred to the new Palomar health rehabilitation Institute. Speaker 4: 00:45 I'm lucky to be alive, actually could have been serious enough to stop my breathing. Speaker 3: 00:51 His brain is working fine. He's having to relearn how to use it. Two weeks before being admitted to the rehab Institute, he was wheelchair bound. Speaker 4: 00:59 They taught me how to walk again, actually, and how to use new neural pathways. The, since the spinal cord is damaged and what the brain, uh, you know, my brain thinks I can get up and go for a little jog right now, but it doesn't work that way with a Speaker 3: 01:14 Few hours of physical therapy a day. Bailey says he feels himself getting strong. Sure. Speaker 4: 01:19 I can tell I'm improving on my, my function and the fingertips. I couldn't, I couldn't do this before at all. And, uh, so it's coming back faster than not as fast as I'd like, but faster than, than anticipated. Speaker 2: 01:35 Good. Okay. Your balance is getting better. Yeah. Speaker 3: 01:38 Bailey is also undergoing occupational therapy Speaker 4: 01:41 Here, putting on my clothes, bathing myself, uh, feeding myself, things like that. Most Speaker 3: 01:47 Patients stay here for just under two weeks, but Bailey has a 30 day stay. And while he can walk again, the next part of his recovery, we'll focus on refining his motor skills. Like Speaker 4: 01:56 Right now, I, I don't even think I could sign my name to a piece of paper, but I think that'll improve a lot. The Speaker 3: 02:03 Rehab facility is technically a hospital and also has a full apartment inside where patients can stay overnight just before being released back into their homes. What is Speaker 5: 02:12 Your typical day like at home? Are you a golfer? Is that where we want to go with this? Um, are you a Walker, a hiker? You know, what, what types of activities do you want to be able to tolerate when you go home? And that's sort of how we build that plan. Natalie Speaker 3: 02:25 Drew Muska is CEO of the rehab Institute, which is a joint venture between Palomar health and kindred hospice. There's Speaker 5: 02:31 Definitely a need, especially in the north county, um, for this type of care. And it's a separate entity from a normal acute care. So we have specialized equipment. We have special trained nursing staff, special Speaker 3: 02:43 Equipment includes motion, sensing technology, which can be used in games that help people regain balance and function. There's also a small car inside the gym that patients can practice getting in and out of our Speaker 5: 02:55 Hospital's pretty much built for that rehabilitation patient. It doesn't have OB it doesn't have, ER, we're not competing for resources. Everything is built around rehabilitation. Speaker 3: 03:04 The two bed facility was licensed by the state in may and is only accepting Medicare patients, but that will change as operations are gradually scaled up over the next year. Speaker 5: 03:13 We would like to see in what we've seen just with our small population is 84 to 90% of our patients go home. They don't need to go to a skilled level for further care. This year, Speaker 3: 03:24 Nick facility generally treats patients who suffered strokes, amputations and spinal cord damage. Speaker 2: 03:30 I want you to not hold on if you don't have to. Okay. It was actually his first time walking without holding on to anything. Yeah, Speaker 3: 03:36 Hailey's progress is remarkable. He's hoping to be at or near a hundred percent function soon. Right now he still has to wear a brace around his body and neck. Speaker 4: 03:44 I'm hoping that as my strength returns and my balance returns that I won't have to wear as many braces anyway. Maybe not even a neck brace when I get out of here. I don't know. Speaker 3: 03:55 He says if you're coachable and with encouragement from staff, recovery is possible, but he's not sure what life will be like once he goes home. Speaker 4: 04:02 I think my bicycling days might be over just because, uh, I'm my, my wife's primary caregiver. And, um, I don't want to jeopardize that any more than I have to. Speaker 2: 04:13 I don't want you to do it really safely. So don't touch it. Try not to, if you have to it's here. The Speaker 3: 04:19 Fallbrook resident is set to go home at the end of this month. Speaker 2: 04:22 Yes. Yes. Nice work. Turn around for me. Speaker 3: 04:25 Matt Hoffman, K PBS news. Speaker 1: 04:29 Joining me is Natalie [inaudible] CEO of Palomar health rehabilitation Institute. And Natalie, thank you for joining us. Speaker 6: 04:38 Well, thanks for anatomy, Maureen, Speaker 1: 04:40 Why was a facility like this needed don't hospitals usually provide rehabilitation services to their patients? Speaker 6: 04:48 Yes, I'm actually all general acute care hospitals have an established rehabilitation, um, center. Um, if you will, they have therapists that see patients in the acute units, um, getting ready to go home. We were established because there's a need for a higher level of rehabilitation with a focused approach for patients that have neurologic injuries, um, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord, and even post stroke that need to have more intensive therapy prior to going home. So the therapy will start in that, um, acute center, like a Palomar health or a script's health. And then after that, they will move to our individual setting, um, where we can provide more of an intensive therapy. Speaker 1: 05:30 And what determines whether someone needs a stay in a rehabilitation facility as opposed to perhaps an outpatient physical therapy, Speaker 6: 05:39 Right? It's really the intensity of service that we're giving. We have a board certified, uh, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician that will see that patient on a daily basis and provide a treatment plan in concert with our occupational and physical and speech therapists. Um, these patients will receive, um, at least three hours of rehabilitation every day. Um, meaning up to five or six days a week, um, as they can tolerate. And then we have, um, more specialized equipment, um, that can be utilized. We have an exoskeleton for, uh, mobility training for spinal cord injuries. We have an emotion machine, which is intensive therapy for upper extremity injuries. Um, we have multiple gyms, a certified therapist, as well as certified nurses and rehabilitation. Everything we do is centered around that rehabilitation to get patients to full functioning at home. Speaker 1: 06:36 What is an exoskeleton? Is that a form of a brace? Speaker 6: 06:40 It's a full body. It's almost like a bionic suit if you will. Um, it's actually used to, um, do fluxion extension with, uh, different muscles in the body and it's a full body brace almost. Um, and it actually trains the muscles again for walking. So, um, it's something that we have, um, and have invested in training for our therapists for, um, and it works great for those stroke patients, um, who have some hemiplegia spinal cord injury patients, um, so that we can actually get them moving again. Speaker 1: 07:17 Now we heard about patient Doug Bailey and really how quickly he was responding to the rehabilitation therapy. What makes someone a good candidate for this kind of therapy? Speaker 6: 07:29 Well, I think as you saw, um, with Doug's video, he talked about being coachable. I think that the patients have to have a willingness, um, to push forward, um, through the therapy exercises and a treatment plan. Um, obviously it's, it's a little bit more intensive and rigorous at a rehabilitation hospital. So we're asking patients to really do the full limits of their capabilities. Um, and so they have to really be able, I mean, when we look at patients, we just, we look at them in terms of their previous therapy notes in the acute care setting, can they actually tolerate this intensive therapy? Can they, can they tolerate three hours of therapy in different modalities every day? Uh, will that make a difference in their lives and their ability to be discharged home? Um, and with that, we do look at those patients that do require physician oversight, um, in an outpatient care setting, you would not get that. And here you do. So we may accept a patient. Who's still having some medical issues, uh, regarding medication management or other things wound care management that the nursing staff can provide in the inpatient setting. Along with all of the therapeutic interventions we're doing, Speaker 1: 08:40 Does the Palomar rehabilitation facility have a program of at-home followup for patients? Speaker 6: 08:47 We actually, um, move that into the folks that already have that, um, skill set centers of excellence. For instance, if a patient came from Palomar health, we would then discharge them back to Palomar health. In that outpatient setting, if a patient came from scripts, we would then discharge them back into their setting at scripts with that outpatient therapy, we are purely an inpatient rehabilitation Institute currently. Speaker 1: 09:13 Okay. When the Palomar facility is running at full capacity, how many patients do you hope to treat? Speaker 6: 09:20 Well, our, our bed count is 52 private beds. So we can go up to 52. We're hoping, um, at the end of the year to be, um, at about 30 and then over the course of 20, 22 to, uh, fill to capacity, there's definitely a need. We did some, you know, market analysis on that. There's definitely a need in the San Diego county. We'd like to be the center of excellence for the whole area, not just limit ourselves to the Northeast. So, um, so that's our Speaker 1: 09:47 Goal. Yeah. I know rehab can be needed for people of all ages, but with the number of older people increasing, I would imagine you expect the need for this kind of therapy to grow. Speaker 6: 09:59 Absolutely. And, um, and it is interesting that you say that initially we are just really accepting Medicare and we just started to, um, put together some contracts with some of the commercial payers. So we're starting to see, um, age groups. Um, you know, middle-age even down to some, you know, older teenagers who are getting into skateboarding accidents and those types of things. So, um, right now our population is mostly a Medicare base over 65, but as we progress, um, and what we had seen earlier in our operating acute care unit at Palomar was that we were serving patients as young as 18. Speaker 1: 10:39 So if an elderly person say has a stroke or an accident, it no longer means they can't get back to taking care of themselves. Is that right? Speaker 6: 10:49 That's correct. Our goal is to get those folks home, just like Mr. Bailey, he was in his seventies, a former pilot, very active riding. His bicycle happened to get in an accident and break his neck. There's no reason that someone in that age group who's active and has a productive life, cannot get back to that same situation after their hospitalization. And he actually went home yesterday. So highly successful. Speaker 1: 11:14 I've been speaking with Natalie drew, Mosca, CEO of Palomar health rehabilitation Institute, Natalie, thank you so much. Speaker 6: 11:22 All right. Thank you, Mike. Have a great day.

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Doug Bailey broke his neck and suffered spinal cord damage after a horrible bike accident. He is learning how to walk again with the the help of a new rehabilitation hospital.
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