Maria Ramundo, Ph.D., Senior Psychologist
In psychology the saying “don’t go it alone,” speaks volumes in the rehabilitative process. At Bacharach, psychology for the emotional health of patients is a key component of its team approach to rehabilitation.
“After stroke, it’s a whole new world for many patients and they don’t know what to expect,” says Maria Ramundo, Ph.D., Bacharach senior psychologist. “First, they are dealing with their diagnosis and being away from home, and may have trouble coping with their illness and its impact.”
Psychology and the Healing Process
Bacharach’s psychologist specializes in the healing process so patients can be more comfortable and confident. Dr. Ramundo focuses on helping patients adapt to their new situation.
“We help them understand that we’re working with them as a team to adapt to the rehab setting and to understand what to expect.”
Many critical factors come into play after experiencing a stroke including emotional and psychological care. Dr. Ramundo assesses each individual to determine if a patient is struggling or coping with their illness. She utilizes key psychological therapies to help patients, including:
Key Psychological Therapies
Supportive Therapy focuses on helping patients cope through their medical condition and how their life may be affected. In other words, for many patients, their outcome is unknown, so Bacharach helps patients cope with short-term goals navigating their feelings. Short-term goals could include standing or walking, pain relief and helping validating emotions that come up through the rehabilitation process.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Bacharach’s Psychology Department serves as a liaison between the doctor and patient relaying information about how the patient is coping. This therapy helps patients balance their thoughts and how it impacts their emotions. “Some of the thought processes our patients go through is wondering if they will ever be able to walk again,” said Dr. Ramundo. “We help them identify these thoughts and find a more balanced way of thinking during rehabilitation.”
Motivational interviewing focuses on changing the patient’s health behaviors by uncovering what will motivate them to change health habits. We help them devise a plan that is within their control. For example, creating a plan to take medication, eat healthy or quit smoking.
Supportive counseling validates the patient’s understanding of where they stand in their rehabilitation process. If a patient becomes depressed after suffering from a traumatic medical condition, medication may be recommended after discussing with a physician
Family support counseling can be provided to family members who are having difficulty coping with a loved one’s medical condition. This form of counseling can include rehabilitation with the patient (by watching or participating), counseling, and collaborating the patient’s progress with Bacharach staff.
“Every patient is different after undergoing a medical condition, but the team at Bacharach is here to help every step of the way. Our job is to provide education, information and to empower patients and their families in adjustment to their associated life changes,” says Dr. Ramundo.