Help us celebrate rehabilitation week

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

National Rehabilitation Week is designed to promote the value of rehabilitation; highlight the capabilities of people with disabilities to salute the professionals who provide service to people with disabilities; and to renew our nation’s commitment to fulfill the un-met needs of people with disabilities.

Rehabilitation is a medical specialty which helps restore people affected by potentially disabling disease or traumatic injury to good health and functional, productive lives and also helps minimize physical or cognitive disabilities. Rehabilitation often centers on an interdisciplinary team approach to care by physicians; physical, occupational, respiratory therapists; speech-language pathologists; nurses; social workers; and other professionals who work with patients to restore the greatest level of function or independence. The rehab team helps individuals overcome obstacles and accomplish normal talks of daily living.

Rehabilitation is individualized so every patient can progress at his or her own ability level. Some of the disabilities that are treated through rehabilitation include stroke, head injury, joint repairs/replacements, sports injuries, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and arthritis. Rehabilitation can lengthen life, improve the quality of life and reduce subsequent illness.

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Nearly 50 million Americans are disabled. Disability does not discriminate — every person is at risk of disability. Therefore, everyone is a potential candidate for rehabilitation. Most Americans will require at least one rehabilitation service at some point in their lives. Statistics show that medical rehabilitation improves lives and saves money. For every dollar spent on rehab care, it is estimated that $11 are saved on long-term disability costs. People participating in rehabilitation programs of care are able to regain productivity and return to work, school and independent living. Independence gained through rehabilitation is priceless.

Please join Natchez Regional Medical Center and our rehabilitation staff in celebrating National Rehabilitation Week Sept. 16–22. On Friday, Sept. 21, the inpatient rehabilitation staff will host a picnic on the fifth floor of the hospital at noon for current and former patients as part of the week long celebration. If you can join us, please call Pat at 601-443-2550 to assist with a head count.

Also, as part of the week long awareness celebration, we who are fortunate and blessed to work with those affected with disabilities ask you to rid yourselves of prejudice and see people with disabilities as competent, capable, talented, caring and contributing members of society. We should all take pride in the many accomplishments of those who have overcome disability. Let’s teach our children that disabled certainly does not mean unable. It is important to continue to work together to make America fully accessible and to help ensure that all people have access to quality rehabilitation which can enable them to overcome illness or injury.

We invite you to visit our rehabilitation center, and we are proud to offer physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology for our patients. We hope to see some of our former patients at our picnic on Sept. 21.

DeShaun Jackson is a physical therapist at Natchez Regional Medical Center.