Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation in Pomona, NJ
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Sep 12

Artist Regains Ability to Create Works of Art After Stroke

Artist Regains Ability to Create Works of Art After Stroke

The Bacharach Dining Room was recently transformed into an art gallery. The paintings of artist Doortje Schipper Fenwick have been on exhibit at Bacharach since early July and a viewing reception attended by friends, Bacharach staff and board members took place earlier this month.

 

Doortje, a successful architect, artist and business owner, found her life dramatically changed when she had a hemorrhagic stroke in 2009. The stroke caused her to lose the use of much of her right side, including her drawing hand. After spending 21 days in the hospital, her speech was nonexistent and she was unable to eat because of her tracheotomy tubes.

 

Doortje started her rehabilitation program at Bacharach, where she began to re-learn the basic skills she needed to resume her day-to-day life. She shared, “The occupational therapists at Bacharach were wonderful and taught me how to get dressed and take care of myself. I worked with a speech therapist to help regain my speech. And, through a series of sessions and the assistance of a brace that my excellent physical therapists helped me to use, I learned how to walk again.” 

 

Three years ago, Doortje began painting watercolors. With the help of private, weekly watercolor painting lessons held in the home of local artist and friend, Marilyn Brent, who teaches art at Richard Stockton College, Doortje (pictured on the right above with Marilyn) learned to use her non-dominant left hand to create works of art again. She explained, “I wanted to do something productive that would get me out of the house. The weekly sessions with Marilyn helped me learn how to paint with my left hand.”

 

Doortje draws the inspiration for her paintings from family vacation snapshots, photos from old issues of National Geographic and famous works of art. Her work has also been featured at an art show held at the Cape May Winery. Doortje’s family encouraged her to create notecards from the paintings that are sold locally with all proceeds donated to the American Stroke Association

 

Through her strength, determination and remarkable talent, Doortje has come very far over the past five years. She has made great strides with her speaking through continued speech therapy. Her mobility has improved through the use of a “Bioness” device that works to stimulate the nerves and muscles, lifting the foot without the need for a brace. And, through her exceptional artwork, she is now able to express her creativity again.

Sep 12

Implanted Pump Relieves Spasticity

Implanted Pump Relieves Spasticity

Spasticity is an unwelcome side effect of many neurological conditions such as stroke, brain injury or cerebral palsy. Characterized by rigid or tight muscles, spasticity is not actually caused by the muscles, but rather by the area of the brain controlling muscle movement.

 

People who live with spasticity may find that it limits activity and interferes with performing some of the tasks of daily living. While there is no cure for spasticity or its underlying causes, there are treatments available that significantly improve movement and decrease pain.

 

Raymond Rajkowski, 28, of Galloway, N.J. (right), was recently a patient at Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation. While Raymond could nimbly speed from place to place in a motorized wheelchair controlled with his hands, his legs were very spastic. He was at Bacharach while he was adjusting to using an implanted pump to deliver anti-spasticity medication, known as baclofen, directly to his spinal column.

 

Baclofen is often effective when taken as an oral medication. However, for some patients, an oral dose high enough to weaken spasticity will also result in side effects such as sluggishness, sleepiness and overall fogginess. The result? “I had a huge benefit,” said Raymond. The spasticity was greatly improved and allowed therapists to work with him to increase his range of motion and perform some stretching. With undisguised merriment, Raymond deadpanned that, “The therapists seemed to know what they were doing!”

 

Since the pump is implanted beneath the skin, Raymond will return periodically to have it refilled with medication. At that time, he and his doctor can also discuss any dosing changes that might be beneficial. Dosing is regulated by a handheld device that sends the commands to the implanted pump.

 

At a recent visit about a month after his inpatient stay, Raymond counted the ways that the baclofen pump is helping him.

 

“I am doing fabulously, actually. There is a vast difference in how easy it is to get ready for work and just bathing – and just in general,” said Raymond who works in the Government Documents Office at the Richard Stockton College.

 

“I am here today to see Dr. Alfaro for Botox for my left arm. I have been getting Botox for my legs for a little while, but this is my first try for my arm. Dr. Alfaro thought the baclofen pump was a better option for my legs. He doesn’t do the pump for all his patients, just those who would most benefit. If I didn’t do anything, I would be more contracted as I get older and I don’t want to be more contracted. As much as the surgery scared me, and it did scare me, I decided to man up and do it.”

Sep 12

In the Spotlight: Tess Enterlante, APN

In the Spotlight: Tess Enterlante, APN

Tess Enterlante (pictured above) is an advanced practice nurse (APN) and has been working at Bacharach since 1979. Tess started her career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and went on to receive a registered nursing degree (RN) from Atlantic County Community College. Next, she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Richard Stockton College and earned a certification in rehab (CRRN) from the Association of Rehabilitation Nursing in 1985. Her initial master’s degree in nursing was in administration (MSN) for a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) from Trenton State College. Tess did not stop there – she continued her nursing education, earning a post-master’s certificate as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) from The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College). She received her FNP certification in 1999 from the American Nursing Credentialing Center.

 

An APN must have a master’s degree and have completed certification testing in specific areas such as nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife. In addition, they need to recertify or renew their certification every five years. APNs are able to function (within their scope of practice) and manage acute and chronic medical conditions in New Jersey with a collaborating physician, order diagnostic tests, treatments, prescribe medications, and make referrals to specialists. Tess explained, “Advanced Practice Nurses utilize knowledge-based decision making skills based on a clinical competency in their specific area of practice.”

 

Tess works as a nurse practitioner specializing in family rehab medicine. She goes on rounds with the doctors, obtains patient medical histories, and diagnoses, treats and evaluates patients. In addition, she conducts physical exams, admits patients and orders the necessary physical, occupational or rehabilitation treatments, diagnostic studies and medications for these patients.

 

Tess loves her job, especially the team approach that is such a strong focus at Bacharach. She shared, “I love the interaction with the physicians, health care team, patients and families. At Bacharach we really want our patients to return to their lifestyle and to be able to go home. On day one, after the initial evaluation, we come up with a treatment plan that will help each patient achieve their goals.” She continued, “When our patients are released, we all celebrate. The success of our patients makes me feel like I have accomplished so much and is extremely fulfilling.”

Sep 12

Summer Lecture Series

Summer Lecture Series

Bacharach has introduced an exciting new summer lecture series designed to educate and inform our staff about the latest issues, technology and treatments in rehabilitation.

 

The first speaker to present on July 17 was our own Dr. Abraham Alfaro (above), who spoke about Spasticity & Dystonia:  Injections & Therapies. Spasticity is a common side effect after stroke, cerebral palsy, brain injury and multiple sclerosis. Dr. Alfaro described the process of using injections of lidocaine and botulinum toxin to relieve spasticity. 

 

Dr. Arlene Goodman (pictured at right with Karen Hanson, PT) joined us on July 30 for a talk on concussion management. She is an orthopedist with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and specializes in caring for young athletes who have sustained concussions. Her informative seminar, titled, “Concussion Management:  Oculomotor & Vestibular Therapies,” highlighted the importance of managing visual convergence.

 

Dr. Mark Chelder (right) hosted a presentation August 4 from ReMed, a national provider of inpatient and outpatient services for brain injury patients who have long-term behavioral issues.

 

On September 9, Steve Reeves from ReWalk Robotics introduced our physical and occupational therapy teams to the newly FDA-approved exoskeleton that enables spinal cord injured patients to stand up and walk.

Sep 12

Bacharach’s State-of-the-Art Technology Aids Recovery

Bacharach’s State-of-the-Art Technology Aids Recovery

At Bacharach, we pride ourselves on offering our patients state-of-the-art technology to facilitate the quickest and most comprehensive recovery possible. Using the most advanced equipment available on the market today, our highly trained health care professionals are able to provide the most up-to-date treatment protocols offered anywhere in the country.

 

Unweighted Gait Training

Patients with balance issues, leg pain, ankle, knee and hip weakness and joint disease can benefit greatly from Unweighted Gait Training. This technology is also extremely effective for patients with neurological issues related to stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other conditions that cause gait issues and compromise walking. 

 

Unweighted Gait Training involves walking on a treadmill with a harness to support some or all of a patient’s weight as they exercise. The decreased pressure on joints and the spine allows free walking, similar to exercising in a pool.

 

Unweighted Gait Training reduced the impact of exercise on joints, providing patients with the ability to exercise without pain, faster and for longer periods of time.

 

BTE PrimusRS

By combining the features of more than four different machines, the BTE PrimusRS at Bacharach helps therapists create individualized treatment programs using a full standard set of tool attachments and a free-motion cable system toreplicate nearly any functional or daily activity, including at-home, at-work and on-the-field tasks. 

 

The unit provides our physical and occupational therapists, athletic trainers and other exercise specialists with advanced training capabilities, interactive software and the ability to store patient input and output during an evaluation or exercise. The machine uses that information to objectively measure and chart patient performance and progress. 

 

The interactive system provides visual cues to help maximize patients’ performance while also allowing therapists to evaluate a patient’s progress at any given time and adjust the resistance program. Therapists grade patients’ activities so the patient can progress to increased strength in a safe manner and without further injury.

 

Bacharach’s BTE PrimusRS machines are equipped to facilitate both upper- and lower-body treatment programs, including resistive running and walking, stabilization and balance exercises and resistance for leg motions. Pictured above are Chris Jones and Rebecca Roesch using the BTE PrimusRS.

 

Bioness Device

Bioness Devices (pictured above) help patients with foot drop, thigh weakness and hand paralysis resulting from neurological impairments regain mobility and independence through the use of a cuff worn on the forearm, leg or thigh. Using adaptive wireless technology, the device emits a gentle electric stimulation to activate the nerves and muscles, reminding them to move without the need for a brace. The device was designed to improve the lives of stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury patients. It allows more natural movement, increased speed and improved balance.

 

ReWalk

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 200,000 people in the United States living with a spinal cord injury, many of whom have complete or partial paraplegia. 

 

Recently approved by the FDA, ReWalk is a new motorized device designed for those with lower body paralysis (paraplegia) from a spinal cord injury. Acting as an exoskeleton, ReWalk is a motorized device worn over the legs and part of the upper body that helps an individual sit, stand and walk with assistance from a trained companion.

 

ReWalk consists of a fitted, metal brace that supports the legs and part of the upper body; motors that supply movement at the hips, knees and ankles; a tilt sensor; and a backpack that contains a computer and power supply. Additional stability is supplied by crutches. Using a wireless remote control worn on the wrist, the user commands ReWalk to stand up, sit down or walk. There is a training program for patients and their caregivers so they can learn how to use the device.

 

There are restrictions on who can use this new technology. For example, patients using ReWalk need to be able to stand using an assistive standing device and able to support crutches or a walker. Those with serious medical conditions other than spinal cord injury may not be able to use the device and should consult with their physician.

Related
Jun 13

Bacharach Celebrates 90 Years

Bacharach Celebrates 90 Years

Founded on Mother’s Day, 1924 as a hospital for children with polio, over the past 90 years Bacharach has become one of the leading destinations for serious care for stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries.

 

To commemorate 90 years of working to keep the community strong, we held a series of events, contests, raffles and giveaways in an effort to promote pride in a remarkable legacy.

 

Since January, Bacharach employees have been wearing buttons emblazoned with the motto “90 Years Strong."  We have dressed up as though it were 1924, and raffled a donated vacation to The Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas for 90 cents a ticket.

We had a 90-Cent-Lunch Day, and rounded up a team of 90 walkers and runners to participate in the Shirley Mae and Michael J. event.  All of the fun culminated in a day-long birthday celebration and barbecue on May 9th, replete with birthday cake, picnic perfect weather, and a silly send-up of the somber Annual Mother’s Day Exercises.  Our not-so-somber 90th will be remembered for many years to come.

 

As part of Bacharach’s 90th Year Strong Birthday Celebration, 90 walkers and runners from Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation participated in the 12th Annual Shirley Mae Run and Michael J. Walk (our team photo appears at the top of this article). All proceeds from the event were donated to the Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Assistance Fund, the Michael J. Neustadter Pancreatic Cancer Fund and Gilda's Club South Jersey. The event, which took place on May 10, featured more than 2,500 participants and spectators and included a celebration of more than 250 breast cancer survivors.

 

Richard Kathrins, Ph.D., President and CEO of Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation gave the keynote address at what he thought was the 90th Annual Mother’s Day Exercise.  Instead, we had some fun pretending to go back in time to the original opening in 1924.  Skip Broomall played Harry Bacharach, Bob Speirs delighted the crowd with his cameo as the first nurse ever to be hired at the hospital, and we sang the newly minted Irving Berlin hit “God Bless America.” In the picture above, an unsuspecting Kathrins was interrupted by newsboy Donna Dykes with a “telegram” from President Calvin Coolidge.

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