Neurological Disorders: Complex Diseases that Require a Team Approach

Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders is a catch-all term that includes medically complex diseases that attack the body’s central nervous system. Diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Lou Gehrig’s disease, commonly called ALS, require specialized treatment plans. Our hospital uses a team approach to provide patients with an individualized plan that meets those specific needs. The team is made up of an independent private practice physician working in conjunction with a HealthSouth rehabilitation nurse, respiratory therapist, dietician, case manager, physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech/language and speech/language pathologist.

How can rehabilitation help?

Our therapy team works with each patient and his/her doctor to assess what debilities can be improved with therapy. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the patient’s doctor may refer the patient for inpatient rehabilitation (overnight hospital stay) or outpatient therapy (daily visits to the hospital).

In either situation, rehabilitation services can address a number of issues including:

  • Fall prevention and home safety training
  • Managing medications
  • Self-care skills and mobility
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Patient and family education
  • Fatigue and endurance
  • Swallowing problems
  • Impaired memory, problem solving or behavioral issues
  • Communication and cognitive problems
  • Respiratory impairments
  • Balance problems
  • Equipment needs

What is ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a debilitating condition that attacks the central nervous system.

Rehabilitation can help ALS patients, depending on what symptoms the patient is experiencing. Because ALS is a progressive disease, therapy often includes teaching a patient to conserve energy by simplifying tasks, helping keep them independent. There are a number of other therapy options, depending on the course and progression of the disease.

Speech therapy can treat the common progressive communication deficits associated with ALS through the use of compensatory communication devices.

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that attacks the central nervous system. The symptoms vary widely and can be mild, such as numbness in the arms or legs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progression of the disease is often unpredictable, but rehabilitation can help.

Based on the symptoms that a patient is experiencing, a doctor may refer them for inpatient rehabilitation (overnight stay in the hospital) or outpatient therapy (daily visits to the hospital).

What is myopathy?

Simply put, myopathy means muscle disease. There are many different types and symptoms. Some patients experience a normal life with little disability; others have severe symptoms with major changes in their lifestyle.

Rehabilitation depends on the type of symptoms a patient is experiencing. Often times a combination of therapies is needed. This is where our team approach can help. Our neurological disorders program looks at the patient’s needs and develops a specialized course of rehabilitation.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is most commonly known as the “shaking disease” for the common symptom of a trembling hand. Most people ignore the early warning signs of Parkinson’s and write them off as aging. Other common symptoms include stiffness in the arms and legs, slowness of movement, and impaired balance and coordination. And while there is no cure for Parkinson’s, certain therapies and lifestyle changes are effective in helping improve a patient’s outlook.

Our hospital teaches disease management, improving a person’s physical ability and leading to a more independent lifestyle.

Program objectives include:

  • Individual assessment of the patient’s strengths and limitations
  • Continued management of ongoing medical issues
  • Increased activity level through endurance training, adaptive equipment, mobility training, communication training and psychological support
  • Patient and family education on all aspects of the disease and course of therapy
  • Constant focus on patient independence and safety
  • Ongoing reassessment of treatment plan


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