Brain Injury Rehabilitation
The Kessler difference
As one of the largest brain injury rehabilitation programs in the country, Kessler Institute treats more patients with complex medical, physical and cognitive needs. This gives us unparalleled expertise and experience to address your individual challenges, goals and hopes for the future.
Kessler Institute is one of only 10 centers nationwide designated as a Model System for the treatment and research of traumatic brain injury by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). In collaboration with Kessler Foundation, we offer advanced science to support your recovery.
We draw on the knowledge of an experienced team of brain injury specialists to address the range of medical, physical, functional and emotional issues you face.This interdisciplinary team is led by a physiatrist, a physician board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and includes rehabilitation nurses; physical, occupational, speech, respiratory and recreation therapists; psychologists and neuropsychologists; dietitians; case managers; and other clinical and support staff as needed.Together, we optimize the recovery of individuals at every level of injury from those in a minimally conscious state to those with mild traumatic brain injury.
Treatment is carefully integrated and tailored to your specific needs and goals. Depending on how you have been impacted by your injury, we will help you:• Maximize alertness and responsiveness• Improve sleep/wake cycles• Develop new cognitive, communication and behavioral strategies• Improve physical function, balance and mobility• Manage pain and spasticity• Improve any vision, speech and/or swallowing difficulties• Enhance the skills needed to perform daily activities• Overcome psychological and social challenges• Return home and resume work, school or community activities with as much confidence and independence as possible
Studies* show that the sooner you begin a highly coordinated, comprehensive brain injury rehabilitation program, the greater gains you are likely to achieve. As a specialized hospital, Kessler offers an early start to rehabilitation. We work closely with you, your family and the referring hospital to ensure a smooth transition to our program.Here you will benefit from a minimum of three hours of daily physical, occupational and/or speech and other therapies, five days a week. The skills and strategies you learn will be reinforced by your nursing team and in recreational activities.Depending on the level of your injury and abilities, you may be provided with a wheelchair and other assistive equipment, including electronic aids to assist with daily tasks.You and your family will also be given the education and training to help you maintain your overall health and well-being following discharge.When you’re ready, we’ll coordinate your discharge, help arrange for equipment and provide access to community resources that may be available to you. Our goal, like yours, is that you move forward with as much independence and confidence as possible.
*Assessment of Patient Outcomes of Rehabilitative Care Provided in Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) and After Discharge. Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, LLC. 2014.
To help you return home and resume work, school, community and/or social activities, Kessler provides an unparalleled continuum and continuity of care. We are here to help you manage your health from inpatient to outpatient and offer lifelong follow-up. This includes medical, therapy, wheelchair and mobility needs, driving and other specialized services to meet any ongoing or changing needs.
On average, patients at Kessler Institute have greater improvement during their stay and greater functional abilities upon discharge, based on national benchmarks* that measure factors such as mobility and the ability to perform daily living activities. This generally translates to greater independence and a higher quality of life for those who choose us for their rehabilitation.
Your progress. Our programs.
It’s important to remember that recovery takes time. Every patient is different and your stay with us will depend on the extent of your injury, your goals and the progress you make each day. Here are some of Kessler’s many advanced brain injury programs and services.
Many patients, often those who have had a fall or been involved in a motor vehicle accident, have a “dual-diagnosis” of a traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury or amputation. For these individuals, we offer a highly integrated program of care to help them overcome the range of challenges they face and rebuild their skills, abilities and independence.
Kessler Institute’s disorders of consciousness program is a pioneering approach to treating the unique needs of individuals who are in a coma, vegetative or minimally-conscious state. We effectively combine medical care, pharmacological management and therapy interventions to maximize each individual’s potential for recovery.
Many individuals with traumatic brain injuries may be unable to breath on their own due to the extent of their injury. Kessler’s advanced ventilator and respiratory management program helps patients maximize their breathing potential and decrease the likelihood of respiratory complications. Our respiratory therapists and ventilator-certified nurses and therapists work to wean appropriate patients from mechanical ventilators and tracheostomies, and support those with a diaphragmatic pacing system. This helps improve speech and swallowing, as well as comfort, independence and overall quality of life.
A brain injury may interfere with the way a person thinks, behaves and functions. You may have difficulties with memory, concentration, communication, speech, swallowing and vision, as well as mobility and the ability to perform basic tasks. Cognitive rehabilitation will provide you with the skills and strategies to overcome these challenges.
The ability to perform daily activities at home, work, school or in the community is critical to your independence. Your therapy team may introduce a variety of electronic aids and other assistive technologies, such as advanced environmental controls, voice-activated systems, wireless headsets and other adaptive equipment that can help you manage these everyday tasks.
Preparing you and your family for life ahead is one of our primary goals. We provide extensive education to help you understand the challenges and opportunities of living with a brain injury and the strategies, resources and training to help. We also offer number of patient and family support groups where you’ll be able to discuss common concerns, share information and gain greater insight and encouragement.
To help reinforce your skills and restore your spirit, Kessler’s specially trained Canine Companions for Independence* may be part of your therapy program. A number of our therapists work with these remarkable dogs to engage patients in a wide range of activities that support the rehabilitation process.
*Not available at Kessler-Marlton
Some brain injury survivors may need to use a wheelchair and it’s important that you are fitted properly. Kessler’s physical and/or occupational therapists, who are also certified assistive technology professionals and/or seating and mobility specialists, will evaluate your physical and lifestyle needs and use pressure mapping and other tools to find the option best for you.
The ability to drive allows individuals with brain injury to lead more independent lives. Kessler Institute’s certified driver rehabilitation specialists offer the evaluation and training to help appropriate individuals drive safely. They will also discuss modifications and/or adaptations that may need to be made to your car or van and provide guidance on updating your license and taking the required road test.
Technology and research drive recovery
As a pioneer in brain injury rehabilitation, Kessler Institute balances hands-on treatment with leading-edge technologies to support your individual recovery – and continues to research the most promising new avenues of care.
Below are some of the many advances now available to appropriate patients:
- Robotic, weight-supported training and electrical stimulation devices to improve balance, gait and walking
- Robotic therapies and other technologies to improve arm and hand function
- Computer-based exercises to improve cognition (memory, concentration, decision-making and other skills)
- Functional electrical stimulation to reduce muscle atrophy
- Videofluoroscopy, a special type of x-ray, and VitalStim® a non-invasive external electrical stimulation therapy to diagnose and treat swallowing disorders
- Medication to manage spasticity
- Equipment, including voice-activated devices, that allows individuals to turn on lights, a television, etc. with greater ease and independence.
- Adaptive gaming and other platforms to help individuals participated in recreational and social activities.