Memorial Rehabilitation Institute is dedicated to providing an outstanding rehabilitation experience to patients and families who are coping with the long-term effects of cancer, brain and spinal cord injuries, accidents and strokes. This year the Institute redoubled that commitment through expanding programs, new technologies and successful special events – all designed to help rehab patients “Go Beyond” and get back to their lives.
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute has received a three-year accreditation from CARF International – the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities – for the following programs and services:
Because CARF-accredited providers are recognized around the world for their high-quality care and commitment to excellence, Memorial’s CARF accreditations rank it among the finest for its dedication to improving quality of life for the patients it serves.
Let’s Expo! – Memorial Rehabilitation Institute scored another success with its Third Annual Adaptive Sports Expo, hosting more than 300 participants at Markham Park in Sunrise. The activities were adapted so the athletes enjoyed soccer, wheelchair basketball, water skiing, sailing and scuba diving activities, just to name a few. Sponsors teaming up with Memorial to present the Expo were Markham Park, Broward County Parks and Recreation, the City of Sunrise and Costco.
Hoops on Wheels – Memorial’s wheelchair basketball team, the Memorial Fort Lauderdale Sharks, broke records in summer 2016 by finishing as a runner-up in Division III of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) tournament. In early 2017, the Sharks advanced to Division I and finished ninth in the country.
Life in the Fast Lane – Memorial held its Second Annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser to benefit the Adaptive Sports and Recreation fund, with 300+ attendees competing to raise $17,000 for the program. The event welcomed adaptive bowlers and teams from Memorial and the Broward community.
Super Cycles – Adaptive Sports received a $7,000 grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to purchase two hand cycles for use by Memorial inpatients and the physically challenged. Adaptive Sports also kicked off monthly hand cycle rides in Markham and Topeekeegee (TY) parks, inviting physically challenged members of the community – and anyone just interested in trying out a different sport – to join inpatients in their regular therapy.
Friday Fitness – Adaptive Sports’ “No Limits” fitness classes got underway in January at Memorial Rehabilitation Institute’s Outpatient Treatment and Fitness Center. The weekly classes welcome patients, community members with disabilities and others looking for a great workout to benefit from the expertise of Memorial’s fitness professionals and trainers – free of charge.
“Whether it’s regular therapy and training, our Annual Expo, wheelchair basketball or bowling, it’s an honor to work with patients in the Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program,” said Ray Shipman, Manager, Adaptive Sports Program. “It takes a lot of hard work and determination, and they have it. They learn through sports and other activities that it’s possible for them not just to exceed expectations but to reach their dreams.”
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute introduced Safe To Drive in spring 2017. The program helps adult patients gauge whether and when they’re ready to get back behind the wheel – for example, after suffering a stroke, a head injury or an amputation. Therapists first “ride” with the patients in the clinic setting to evaluate their abilities and offer advice and assistance where needed. Then the program progresses to actual driving, starting in a closed parking lot and moving to road trips in the community. Challenges increase as patients re-learn and improve their skills.
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute’s new Driving Program helps determine whether it is safe for someone to drive. The program includes a clinical evaluation of those with mental or physical conditions, and if appropriate, a behind-the-wheel assessment.
On the technology front, Memorial Rehabilitation Institute continued to stand out by offering systems and therapies that other rehabilitation providers don’t.
The ReWalk Rehabilitation System is an exoskeleton that provides valuable exercise therapy for patients with spinal cord injuries. Operated by a computer program, ReWalk helps patients go from a sitting to a standing position and then to begin walking with the additional assistance of Lofstrand elbow crutches. Getting mobile again through therapeutic exercise is important for rehab patients, because it helps them avoid complications such as pressure ulcers, osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute Nuclear Medicine acquired the Siemens Symbia Evo imaging system in December to benefit both rehab and non-rehab patients and to offer enhanced comfort, efficiency and safety for patients and technologists alike. This leading-edge camera can scan more closely to provide high-quality general-purpose, cardiac, oncologic and neurologic scans of patients up to 500 pounds. It features a lower bed that can more easily accommodate patients with limited mobility, and can also be used over hospital beds or gurneys if necessary – in shorter times and with up to 30 percent less exposure to radiation.
Outpatient Rehabilitation at Memorial Hospital Miramar obtained a 3D printer to create customized orthotics for patients. Using computer-assisted design (CDC) software, the printer can create such items as finger braces, which due to their small size can be difficult to fit. With the 3D printer, the Memorial team can provide orthotics in the exact size needed and at a significantly lower cost. “Memorial embraces new technology, and for therapy, we’re pioneers in bringing 3D printing into our practice,” said Sandra Salinas, OTR, CHT, Supervisor, Rehabilitative Services, Outpatient Rehabilitation, Memorial Hospital Miramar.
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute also partnered with Baylor University Medical Center to implement the “Keep Your Move In the Tube” approach for acute rehabilitation patients who have had a sternotomy (an incision down the middle of the chest) during cardiac surgery. Keep Your Move in the Tube asks patients to imagine themselves inside a truncal tube and thus modify their load-bearing movements to reduce stress to the sternum. This unique approach helps prevent complications in patients needing to follow stringent movement restrictions. Memorial was the first provider outside of Baylor to implement the approach.
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute welcomed Angie Lastra, MD, Jackson Cohen, MD and James Salerno, MD to its highly skilled team this year.
Dr. Lastra is a physiatrist who specializes in treating patients with disabilities, joint pain, sports injuries and musculoskeletal conditions using non-surgical techniques and treatment. In addition to outpatient services, she coordinates care for patients with disabilities in the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation unit, preparing them for their return home.
Dr. Lastra attended medical school at San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and completed her medical training at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California. She completed her medical internship at San Lucas Episcopal Hospital in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Cohen specializes in the treatment of spine and musculoskeletal pain, including neck and low back pain, hip, knee and shoulder pain, arthritis, tendon injuries, sports injuries, nerve pain, complex regional pain syndrome and cancer pain, among other chronic conditions.
Dr. Cohen is a fellowship-trained, board-certified, interventional pain medicine physician. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn before moving to Miami for his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Miami/ Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he served as Chief Resident. He completed a fellowship in Interventional Pain Medicine with the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Dr. James Salerno focuses on medically complex care, including treating patients who have had transplants and cardiac surgery. He also works with patients who have had extended intensive care stays and developed myopathy, patients with severe respiratory illnesses and cancer patients who need rehabilitation.
Board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Salerno completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Florida Department of Medicine, where he served as Chief Resident. After the University of Florida, he completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Miami Jackson Memorial. Before joining Memorial, Dr. Salerno was Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Division Chief at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
Many rehabilitation patients have complex medical conditions – cancer, an organ transplant or a chronic disease like diabetes – and they require specialized, comprehensive rehabilitation services that are just not available everywhere.
To help fill this need, Memorial Rehabilitation Institute spent the fiscal year laying the foundation for its Medically Complex Rehabilitation Unit – a new 15-bed, CARF-accredited unit at Memorial Regional Hospital South, including a specially outfitted gym. The unit can also serve patients who require telemetry monitoring during rehab.
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute celebrated the grand opening of its Medically Complex Rehabilitation Unit on May 2, 2017.
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute helped Dane overcome multiple critical illnesses, including a stroke. Initially, while at another hospital system, his family was told they should contact hospice and prepare for the end of his life. Instead they chose to bring him to Memorial.
Alan Novick, MD, Medical Director, Memorial Rehabilitation Institute, led the effort to help Dane through the many challenges he faced.
The doctors and comprehensive team at Memorial knew they could help the retired Pompano Beach Fire-Rescue lieutenant recover.
“They teach you from the basics,” Dane said. “They even had to teach me how to sit up.”
From that humble start, Memorial’s interdisciplinary rehabilitation team gradually built up the intensity of his therapy sessions.
“The positive attitude of the staff probably helped me the most,” Dane said. “No matter how bad your day was going to be, they always kept it positive.”
Memorial’s rehabilitation physicians, therapists and nurses used advanced technology such as the Vector Gait and Safety System® in Dane’s therapy sessions. A dynamic body weight support system, the Vector can be programmed to offload a percentage of body weight, allowing free movement while suspending patients so they cannot fall.
“We came here because of the Vector,” said Dane, who made a remarkable recovery despite the complexity of his condition. “Memorial helped me go beyond my stroke – probably where most people didn’t think I could go.”