Acute care therapy services include Physical Therapy, Speech Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy. These services are provided in the patient’s room immediately following a surgery or an illness. The therapists work with patients at all levels of care from general admission to intensive care units.

Our therapy staff, with extensive skills and experience, uses a variety of clinical interventions to assist in the patient’s return to the highest level of function possible. Our therapists use a team approach working with nursing, physicians and other disciplines to get the patients up and moving sooner and decrease their time in the hospital. The acute care therapists communicate with therapists in rehabilitation and outpatient clinics to ensure a smooth transition for patient care across the continuum.

Services & Treatments

Physical therapy

Physical therapists focus on function while providing a variety of therapeutic services. This includes re-training the patient to walk, assessing the patient for the need for assistive devices such as walkers or crutches, teaching joint protection, addressing balance issues and safety awareness with transfers. Therapists focus on balance, strength, and coordination to promote the highest functional level attainable. Attention is paid to the skills the patient needs to maximize their level of function and mobility.

Physical Therapy addresses the needs of the patient who may be at a very low level of function by encouraging movement in the bed, progressing the patient to the highest level of functional independence and mobility possible. This may be at or exceeding the functional level of the patient prior to their admission to the acute care setting.

Physical Therapists utilize all procedures such as gait training, transfer training, balance retraining, strengthening/endurance.

Common conditions seen by acute care PTs and OTs:

  • Neurological disorders/Stroke
  • Post-operative spine surgery
  • Total joint replacement
  • Post-operative cardiac care
  • Post-abdominal transplant care

Occupational therapy

Occupational Therapy provides services to patients requiring assistance with activities of daily living due to loss of range of motion, strength, endurance, and/or motor control. Activities of daily living include feeding, oral hygiene, bathing, dressing, and toileting.

Occupational therapists may educate the patient in the use of adaptive equipment such as a reacher, sock aid, long handled shoe horn or sponge. They may also make recommendations for durable medical equipment such as bedside commodes, shower chairs and tub benches to assist with increasing independence with dressing, bathing and functional transfers. The occupational therapist may fabricate or recommend prefabricated splints to promote proper positioning or aid recover after injury or surgical intervention.

Speech language pathology

The Speech Language Pathology Department provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art diagnostic evaluation and treatment services for individuals of all ages in the acute care setting with communication and/or swallowing disorders encompassing the areas of language, cognition, speech production, and dysphagia.

Tulane Speech Language Pathologists treat a large variety of communication and swallowing disorders for a variety of populations including neonate, pediatrics, adult and geriatric patients. Specific populations include, but are not limited to, children and adults with diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, stroke, aneurysm, spinal cord injury, neuromuscular disease, brain tumor resection, laryngectomy, craniofacial abnormality, tracheostomy and/or vent dependence, feeding tube dependence, developmental delay, or speech/language delay.

Special procedures provided by the Speech Language Pathology department are evaluation of communication options and swallowing issues for tracheostomy and vent dependent patients, neonatal/ pediatric and adult modified barium swallow studies, evaluation and treatment of alaryngeal communication including tracheo-esophageal voice restoration, neuromuscular electrical stimulation for the remediation of dysphagia, evaluation of augmentative and alternative communication systems and providing training in their use, evaluation and treatment of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders.

The Speech Language Pathologist develops innovative and effective treatment programs once a communication or swallowing disorder is diagnosed. The Speech Language Pathologist provides the patient, family, and staff education and training regarding the results of the evaluations, treatment plans, prognosis and recommendations.

Education for the patient and caregiver

The patient and their family members and/or caregivers are an integral part of the clinical team. Together with the patient and family members, the team works to determine discharge plans for transition from the acute care hospital to inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, long term acute care facilities, home with home health, or to return to independence at home.