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New England Rehabilitation Hospital To Open North Shore’S First Dedicated Brain Injury Unit Myriad Amenities Will Help Aid Recovery For Specialized Patient Population
Story Number is : 031911111
Hospital Newspaper

December 2, 2010, was a special day in the 40-year history of New England Rehabilitation Hospital (NERH), one of the premier rehabilitation facilities in the region. That was the day that the hospital announced the opening of the first unit north of Boston specifically dedicated to the care and treatment of brain-injured patients.

In many rehabilitation facilities, brain-injured patients are cared for in various locations within the building. This dedicated brain injury unit will create an environment geared towards the unique medical needs and requirements of this population, which will not only enhance patient comfort but will ultimately produce better overall patient outcomes.
The 15 private rooms feature a number of amenities including:

- Sound-proofing to mitigate noise, as over-stimulation is an issue during recovery for brain-injured patients

- Window treatments with electronic mechanism to eliminate strings or choking hazards within the patient room

- Subdued, earth-tone colors, also intended to reduce over-stimulation
- Oversized shower rooms (accessible by wheelchair and/or stretcher) to allow for showering of patients, even those who are not yet able to stand safely

Additional features within the unit include a family room to accommodate gatherings; low-stimulation therapy gym for physical and occupational therapy sessions; an advanced security system, allowing patients to safely ambulate within the unit; clutter-free hallways, decreasing obstacles and allowing for safe ambulation of the patient; and a Speech Language Pathology (SLP) treatment area to accommodate supervised feeding for multiple patients, social interaction groups, and more.

It is not just the physical facilities that are extraordinary; the unit staff have received specialized training and work in clinical collaboration with the nationally recognized Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital Acquired Brain Injury Program.

Brain-injured patients began to populate the unit as of January 12, 2011. "Recovering from a traumatic brain injury is difficult enough, even with the dedication and expertise of our therapists," said Dr. Deniz Ozel, medical director of NERH. "We created this brain injury unit to help eliminate some of the potential barriers to recovery and offer an environment where the best possible outcomes can occur."

The creation of this new Brain Injury unit should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the quality of care that NERH has provided since its founding in 1970. NERH is a licensed 210-bed comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation hospital, which includes two off-campus satellite units, a 20-bed satellite unit in Danvers at the former Hunt Center and a 22-bed satellite unit in Lowell at the former St. Joseph's Hospital. The hospital
also offers an array of area outpatient rehabilitation centers. Based in Woburn, MA, and serving the greater region of eastern Massachusetts, NERH remains committed to a personal caring approach.

This is not the first time that NERH has created a program to help address the medical needs of a specific population. For example, the hospital also boasts a Young Stroke Program, geared towards younger stroke patients who have unique rehabilitation needs, such as return-to-work issues and child-rearing responsibilities. What's more, NERH has also received numerous industry honors for the quality of its specialized programs; most recently, the hospital earned the Gold Seal of Approval for health care
quality from The Joint Commission for its stroke program.

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