Research shows that people with disabilities are living longer and experiencing more productive and full lives. While this is great news, studies also show that people who are aging with a physical disability often experience conditions relating to decline in pulmonary function, cardiovascular problems, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, skin breakdown, and musculo-skeletal problems at a much earlier age than the general population.
Any of the conditions described above, in addition to chronic fatigue, can result in decreases in independence, work and ability to participate fully in one's life roles. Helping people with disabilities learn to be strong self-advocates with the healthcare system is essential for maintaining good health. One of the ways people with disabilities can play a role in their care is to know when to ask for an assessment.
Madonna has recently implemented specialty clinics for individuals who have experienced a stroke, spinal cord injury or brain injury. These clinics, organized and offered several times per month, offer a multidisciplinary approach that includes involvement by a rehabilitation nurse, physiatrist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, neuropsychologist, speech language pathologist, recreational therapist, and medical social worker as appropriate. The Clinics are held at Madonna's Main Campus as part of the TherapyPlus Outpatient level of care. Patients are first screened via telephone call by a rehabilitation nurse to gather baseline information and to insure the right professionals are set up to see them when they arrive. In addition to the professionals listed above, patients may also be scheduled for a number of different specialty services such as for Assistive Technology, Wheelchair/Seating, Driver Rehabilitation, Vision, Wound, Pulmonary, Nutrition, or Vocational Rehabilitation Consultations.
Madonna encourages patients with brain injury, spinal cord injury, or stroke to make an appointment for the clinic 6 weeks after completing their rehabilitation program. They are also welcome to make an appointment at any time they experience a change in their condition -- a decline in function, development of a complication, or improvement to a point where they feel they might be ready to progress to a higher level. To assist our regional patients, Madonna provides affordable, accessible housing as well as other support, such as providing specialized equipment during their stay. At the conclusion of the clinic visit, a written report is generated and forwarded to referral sources. If the team recommends further treatment, appointments will be scheduled for therapy with specially trained staff at Madonna. If the patient prefers to receive follow-up care in their home community, written consultation and recommendations will be forwarded to providers of their preference.