Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami unites for brain injury awareness

Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami unites for brain injury awareness
Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami unites for brain injury awareness
Pictured (l-r) are Harold Angel (Brain Injury Association of Florida Inc. representative), Anita Joseph, Nicole Wade, Luis Allende-Ruiz (CEO), Ricardo Villanueva, Perry Slater, Pablo Rubio Ortiz, Andrew Altvater, Keith Holness, Catherine Payan, Joanne Gonzalez, Monica Aguila (speech therapist), and Jennifer Rodriguez (speech therapist).

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a disruption of normal brain function due to an insult to the head. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TBIs result in a significant amount of deaths and cases of lifelong disability each year.

National Brain Injury Awareness Month takes place every March in an effort to raise awareness of the causes, risk factors, effects and prevention of brain injury. Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami, located in Cutler Bay, conducted its Brain Injury Awareness Luncheon on Mar. 19 to raise awareness and honor both stroke and/or brain injury survivors.

Encompass Health is a Joint Commission accredited inpatient hospital that offers intensive rehabilitation to assist individuals improve their quality of life by getting them back to being more independent after an illness or injury. Patients work with nurses, case managers, physicians, therapists (including speech, occupational and physical), pharmacists and dieticians to regain function and return to the community healthier and stronger.

In 2018, Encompass Health successfully discharged 75 percent of patients who suffered brain injuries to the community.

Additionally, Encompass Health’s functional measure scores were 3.8 percent higher than the national average. Functional measure scores is an assessment tool that assists in measuring an individual’s progress and functional status after an injury or illness.

Several brain injury and/or stroke survivors were invited to attend the luncheon at Encompass Health. These survivors have progressed drastically thanks to their desire to thrive, strong family support and help from their rehabilitation team.

When admitted to Encompass Health, most of these individuals were unable to communicate effectively, mobilize, or perform their own activities of daily living. Many were even receiving their nutrition via tube feeding. Now, they can proudly say they are functioning more independently and are living in the community.

The hospital’s CEO, Luis Allende-Ruiz, attended the event and was pleased to see how well past patients are functioning in the community. “It is always very satisfying to see our patients again. It makes our whole team very happy to see how well they are doing and how well they are handling themselves in the community. We all know we work at an amazing hospital and seeing our patients again reminds us of how rewarding the work we do is,” Allende-Ruiz said.

The luncheon was hosted by Encompass Health’s Stroke and Brain Injury Support Group. This group enables survivors to share information and experiences, ask questions, and learn about community resources. The meetings take place every third Tuesday of the month and are facilitated by two of Encompass Health’s certified speech-language pathologists, Jennifer Rodriguez and Monica Aguila.

The next support group meeting will be on Apr. 16 and is open for all members of the community who have been directly or indirectly impacted by stroke or brain injury. For more information, visit online at www.encompasshealth.com/locations/miamirehab.

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