A brain injury can affect your physical abilities and cause overwhelming uncertainty about the future. The Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute is dedicated to guiding and supporting patients and their families through the challenges of brain injury rehabilitation.
Gary Galang, MD, a physiatrist specializing in brain injury medicine, answers questions about brain injury and the treatments available at the Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at UPMC Mercy.
Can you provide a few examples of conditions you treat?
At the brain injury unit, we see a lot of acute neurological conditions like encephalopathy, severe strokes, and neurological infections in neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, or dementia.
We also treat traumatic brain injuries that can be caused by car accidents, violence, or falls (which most often affect the elderly).
What does the patient care team look like in your unit?
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Following a multidisciplinary model of care, the brain injury unit includes a diverse group of specialists who work together to improve the patient’s function and quality of life. We have a doctor who handles the patient’s medical conditions and specialists who take care of the patient’s function. Our physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language therapists address a patient’s every rehabilitation need. We also have expert nursing care and a neuropsychologist who provides counseling and education. Finally, a case manager helps the patient transition back into the community.
What does a typical care plan look like for a patient?
An individualized care plan is developed according to each patient’s medical needs, as well as their cognitive and functional abilities. As a team, we make sure that the patient is medically stable and has improved function, and that we’ve addressed all their needs.
Are there specific aspects you consider in order to provide each patient with the best care?
From a functional standpoint, we look at the patient’s impairments and ability to learn new skills. We also look into the resources that are available in their community — from family support to what’s available in terms of social services and even churches and charitable institutions. Our goal is to return the patient home safely.
Why should patients come to UPMC for brain injury rehabilitation?
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The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute provides a continuum of care that starts before — and extends well beyond — the actual rehabilitation program. We have the medical expertise in our system to provide care for all of a patient’s medical problems. Most importantly, we have the resources and the research background to develop models of care for patients with very complicated conditions. We also provide a seamless transition from acute care to rehabilitation and a return to the community.
To learn more about the Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, please call 1-877-287-3422 or visit our website.
As part of the largest rehabilitation network in western Pennsylvania — and one of the largest in the United States — the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute is a nationally recognized center of excellence for physical rehabilitation. Experts and support services at our inpatient rehab facilities and transitional units help patients recover from a variety of injuries and illnesses like brain and spinal cord injuries, stroke, trauma and amputation, and more. UPMC is proud to have two hospitals rated as high performing in rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report.