Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation in Pomona, NJ
Jun 24

Neuro-Restorative Robots

On June 16, Hermano Igo Krebs, Ph.D. (pictured) from MIT was on-site at Bacharach to discuss neuro-restorative robots and the benefits and positive outcomes they bring to a rehabilitation setting. Dr. Krebs is a principal research scientist and lecturer at Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation at MIT.


Krebs’ InMotion Robots are a class of machines designed to physically interact with humans. The robot senses a patient’s movements and responds accordingly, guiding the patient through rehab exercises. It adjusts to the capabilities of the patient, providing less assistance as the patient’s abilities progress. For example, if initially a patient is unable to move, the robot guides the extremity toward the target.


The robots have been adopted in the United States by the VA Hospital System and in the United Kingdom.  Many studies over the past 20 years have shown that using robotic therapy enhances patient outcomes and that improvements are sustained over time. As populations age in many countries including the U.S., the number of strokes each year will skyrocket.  Robotic therapy can help meet the increasing demand for treatment.  While robotic therapy does not eliminate the need for skilled clinicians, it does allow the clinicians 

to oversee more than one patient efficiently.


There are neuro-restorative robots for both the upper and lower extremities. For upper extremity rehabilitation, InMotion offers arm, wrist and hand robots. For lower extremities, there is a Robotic Walking Coach and Ankle Exoskeleton Robot.  Regardless of the extremity, the robots will help increase range of motion, coordination and strength improving functional mobility.


Dr. Krebs and his InMotion Robots are part of a series of presentations held for Bacharach clinicians this spring to introduce some of the newer technological rehabilitation resources on today’s market.

Jun 17

National Dysphagia Awareness Month

June is National Dysphagia Awareness Month—which was established to increase public awareness and education about dysphagia and the individuals who suffer from it.


Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing and can occur in any stage of the swallowing process. According to the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, those who have dysphagia may experience weight loss or dehydration, recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating, food or liquid leaking from or getting stuck in the mouth, extra effort or time needed to chew or swallow and wet sounding voice and coughing after eating or drinking.


Because dysphagia makes eating and drinking so difficult, individuals may experience depression, low self-esteem, lost wages, poor social performance and an increase in health risks.


While dysphagia can occur at any age, it is most commonly found in adults. The difficulty swallowing can be due to stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.


At Bacharach, our speech-language pathology team evaluates and treats dysphagia. They identify oral and motor issues and offer a variety of swallowing studies, therapies and programs, including the Vital Stim swallowing therapy, modified barium swallowing study, myofascial release swallowing therapy and SOS Feeding Program.


In the photo above, our speech-language pathology team is joined by a dysphagia patient. Standing are Barbara Bush, speech aide; Alicia Spinelli, MS, CCC-SLP; Paul Durante, dysphagia patient; Caitlyn Salerno, MA- SLP; Susan Spiegal, MA, CCC; and Nicole Troendle, SLP. They are joined by Jane Hocker, MA, CCC-SLP and Kathleen Diblin, MS, CCC-SLP,

BCS-S, who are both sitting. 


To learn more about how Bacharach can improve dysphagia, call the Speech Pathology Center at (609) 748-5360 or visit

Jun 14

New Clinical/Pediatric Audiologist Joins Team

Lauren Reale, Au.D., CCC-A has joined the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation team as the new clinical/pediatric audiologist.


In her new role, Dr. Reale will be evaluating, diagnosing and treating tinnitus and hearing loss in patients in every stage of life. Additionally, she will be performing real-ear verification of fittings, working with schools to monitor student hearing aid and FM system performance and dispensing hearing aids, tinnitus sound generators and assistive listening devices.


Dr. Reale is no stranger to these tasks due to her extensive clinical audiology background. For five years, she was a clinical audiologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia. In addition to evaluating, diagnosing and treating veterans with hearing loss and tinnitus, Dr. Reale counseled veterans and their families on hearing loss, dispensed listening devices and verified fittings using speech-mapping.


At Valley ENT in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, Dr. Reale not only administered and interpreted a wide range of auditory testing, she also assisted in creating a new audiology department. Constantly striving to provide the best care, Dr. Reale organized open houses and seminars with hearing aid manufacturers to educate patients on the newest hearing technologies available.


Feeling a deep connection to her alma mater Bloomsburg University, Dr. Reale served as the school’s audiology clinical supervisor. She supervised the audiology graduate students, as well as evaluated their clinical performance. At two local hospitals, Dr. Reale performed newborn hearing screenings and helped people get set up with their new hearing aids.


Starting in 1997 and graduating in 2006, Dr. Reale received all of her education from Bloomsburg University, including a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology, Minor in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Master of Science in Audiology and Doctor of Audiology. Other accreditations include a certificate of clinical competency in audiology from the American-Speech-Hearing-Language Association and member of the American Academy of Audiology.

Jun 14

Graded Motor Imagery Helps Bring Sensation and Movement Back to Limbs

Graded Motor Imagery Helps Bring Sensation and Movement Back to Limbs

Photo Source: Press of Atlantic City


Laura Lee Smith, OTR/L, CHT became interested in graded motor imagery (GMI) while doing graduate work. She attended conferences and did research to master the innovative therapy that uses mirrors to treat patients with conditions as varied as loss of limb function from a stroke and post-amputation pain. Thanks to GMI, one of her patients recently regained the use of a hand that he was unable to move.


Graded motor imagery is a three-step process, which uses visual feedback to increase the brain’s focus and awareness of the limbs. First, patients visualize something that they used to love doing with their affected limb. Then, patients “drill” the brain to quickly switch focus from the left to right side by looking at photos of both sides of the limb. Next, standing or sitting in front of a mirror, patients hide the affected limb and move the functioning limb in front of the mirror, causing patients to see two limbs moving and get the sensation that both limbs are working. This process allows the brain to create new pathways to the affected limb and stimulate earlier connections, often resulting in recovery of movement and function.


Laura Lee’s patient, Paul Kelly (pictured above), had lost all feeling in his left hand and arm after experiencing a stroke in the right side of his brain almost 12 years ago. His physiatrist, Dr. Abraham Alfaro, recommended that he work with Laura Lee for a shoulder issue he was having. After only a few sessions focusing on reducing muscle tightness, it became clear that there was some sensation returning to Paul’s left side, which meant that his brain was still able to send perceptions to his hand.


Paul practiced the technique diligently at home and one day realized he had sensation in his affected hand. “I couldn’t wait to see Laura Lee to let her know that I could feel my hand. She was so excited when she realized I had sensation – she immediately took out a pouch with different items and started putting them in my left hand to see if I could recognize them. I recognized six or seven things and I was so thrilled just to think that my left hand was actually moving.” Paul started working with Laura Lee on GMI therapy and is becoming more active every day. He can now hug his wife, walk without a cane and is starting to write with the affected hand.


Laura Lee has moved to a new, enlarged space at Galloway Tilton Fitness called the Galloway Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy Center. This new space will allow her to focus her practice on treating patients who need hand therapy, using GMI and other hand therapies such as splinting, modalities, manual therapies, and massage techniques such as Graston.


The Galloway team is pictured here, fromt left: Hillary Mauger, PT; Vicky Entrekin; John Santosuosso, PT; Laura Lee Smith, OTR/L, CHT; and Nicole Piela, DPT.


To see a video of Paul and Laura Lee, visit NJTV's YouTube or the Bacharach Facebook page.

Jun 14

Welcome Neil McPeak, Jr. to Bacharach's Board of Governors

Neil McPeak, Jr. has been welcomed as the newest member of Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation’s Board of Governors.


“I am honored to be added as a member to the Bacharach Board of Governors and to serve the hospital with such a talented group of leaders within the South Jersey community,” said Neil. “I am continually impressed at how well the hospital is run and motivated by the passion of its Board members. I am excited to further strengthen Bacharach’s influence in the community.”

Neil holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a concentration in Finance from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. He has been with the McPeak Investment Group of Wells Fargo, LLC since 2010. Currently working as a financial advisor, he is responsible for analyzing financial situations and providing investment solutions. In March 2013, he became a certified financial planner.


In addition to his professional accomplishments, Neil has an impressive rowing career. As a freshman on the Penn Rowing team, he helped claim the Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Trophy, which is presented to the top freshman heavyweight eight boat at the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) Sprints. In 2007, he was a part of the first Penn Rowing team to win the Madeira Cup in six seasons. He was a three year letter winner and a member of the varsity eight his final three seasons, as well as captain his junior and senior years.


After graduating in 2009, Neil was named to the Men’s Eight Crew on the Under 23 National Rowing Team. While training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, he started experiencing pain in his back. An MRI revealed that Neil had two bulging discs, causing him to come back to New Jersey and seek treatment at Bacharach. His personalized rehab program consisted of strengthening, core work, hamstring and glute work, which got him feeling well enough to start rowing again.


Neil said, “Bacharach holds a special significance for me. After several months under the care of Bacharach's premier staff, I am able to row again competitively. Now, I understand the importance of a high quality rehabilitation hospital and greatly appreciate all of the hard work and dedication exemplified by its staff.”

Jun 14

New Nurse Manager: Tara Mager, MSN, RN, CRRN

Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation’s new nurse manager — Tara Mager, MSN, RN, CRRN— has joined the team with a wealth of experience and passion for rehabilitation nursing.


Tara said, “I love my profession. It is very rewarding to work in the rehabilitation field and to help patients through their recovery as they work to achieve as much independence as possible. It is incredible to be a part of that process.”


When she was 17, Tara started out as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and realized that she really liked the medical field. After deciding between occupational therapy or nursing, she decided that nursing was the right fit. However, she found that she was extremely passionate about rehab because she liked being able to see her patients progress from intake to discharge.


After receiving a master of science in nursing from Kean University, she started working in the acute rehabilitation hospital setting. Throughout the next 22 years, she worked as a charge/staff nurse, evening hospital supervisor, assistant nurse manager, clinical nurse manager in the neuro-specialty unit, stroke program coordinator and hospital education coordinator.


In her new role as Bacharach’s nurse manager, Tara is responsible for the management of the nursing staff and patients. She oversees clinical practice and delivery of patient care to ensure excellence and compliance with professional, regulatory and government standards.


Tara likes being a member of the Bacharach team because of the collaboration and dedication of every staff member. She said, “I enjoy the pride that the Bacharach staff has and how the entire unit works collaboratively with the same vision and goals. Everyone wants to make a difference and do what is best for the patient.”


In addition to working as nurse manager, Tara teaches a course on living with chronic illnesses at Kean University as part of their BSN program. She is active with the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses and certified as a crisis preventive instructor (CPI), a basic life support (BLS) instructor by the American Heart Association and holds stroke scale certification from the National Institutes of Health. 

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Transportation Program Donations
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