Maria Ramundo, Ph.D. (right,) Bacharach stroke program coordinator and senior psychologist, has been with Bacharach for the past six years. With an academic focus on the integration of health and psychology, Dr. Ramundo’s true passion is promoting health and wellness and educating individuals who are experiencing a health issue, especially a stroke. She shared, “When patients and their families are faced with an illness it can be very alarming. At Bacharach, we are there for our patients. We provide education, information and support to help patients and their families adjust.”
Dr. Ramundo provides individual therapy as well as facilitates the community stroke support group. Working as part of the Bacharach team, psychologists meet with the physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physiatrists and social workers to review each patient’s progress individually and address issues that might arise.
When the team determines that a patient is struggling and having trouble coping with their illness and its impact, a member of the Psychology Department meets with them to conduct an evaluation. Dr. Ramundo shared, “We help patients to accept their situation, providing them with the tools they need. We work closely with each patient to provide them with various techniques and strategies to help them cope. We encourage patients to take an active role in their rehabilitation process. The team helps patients identify their strengths and utilize their support systems and community resources.”
Curtis H. Waechtler, Ph.D. (below), a senior neuropsychologist and the brain injury program coordinator for Bacharach, also stresses the team approach. He said, “We work together as a team to identify any kind of emotional reactions and cognitive effects our patients are going through due to their traumatic experience.”
When Dr. Waechtler conducts a neuropsychological assessment, he obtains a thorough history from the patient. Cognitive screening tests and clinical observation assist Dr. Waechtler in determining orientation, memory, attention and concentration levels. He explained, “We want to know how well the patient is oriented, is able to comprehend, retain information and the status of their judgment and reasoning.”
Based on the patient’s status, Dr. Waechtler works with the Bacharach team to help the patient cope with what they are experiencing. He said, “One thing that we discuss is the correct approach based on the patient’s individual situation. While the focus is on helping patients improve, we also evaluate whether they need to learn coping strategies.”
Providing individual therapy, family support and community support group, team conferences and more, the Psychology Department plays a key role in each of Bacharach’s therapeutic programs. As always, our mission is to restore the independence and well-being of our patients by providing the highest quality health care and accessible interdisciplinary services.