Glossary of Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare Professionals

Case Managers are responsible for assuring appropriate and cost-effective treatment and the facilitation of discharge planning. They maintain regular contact with the patient’s insurance carrier, family, and referring physician to assure that treatment goals are understood and achieved.

Emergency Physicians are medical specialists who initially diagnose and stabilize acutely injured patients.

Neurologists are specialists in disorders of the nervous system; may be involved in the initial diagnosis of brain injury and may continue to monitor recovery.

Neuropsychologists focus on thinking skills, behavior, and emotional processing. Neuropsychologists provide services to reduce the impact of setbacks and to help the person return to a full productive life. The neuropsychologist’s evaluations provide valuable information to assist with school, community, or employment re-entry.

A Neurosurgeion is a surgical specialist who performs surgery on the brain or spinal cord and has expertise in the diseases of the central nervous system

Nurses monitor all body systems. A rehabilitation nurse attempts to maintain the person’s medical status, anticipate potential complications, and work on goals to restore a person’s functioning. A rehabilitation nurse is responsible for the assessment, implementation, and evaluation of each individual patient’s nursing care and educational needs based on specific problems as well as coordinating with physicians and other team members to move the patient from a dependent to an independent role.

Occupational Therapists use purposeful activities as a means of preventing, reducing, or overcoming physical and emotional challenges to ensure the highest level of independent functioning in meaningful daily living. Areas addressed by occupational therapists include: feeding; swallowing; grooming; bathing; dressing; toileting; mobilizing the body on and off the toilet, bed, chair, bathtub; thinking skills; vision; sensation; driving; homemaking; money management; fine motor (movement of small body muscles, such as in the hands); wheelchair positioning and mobility; home evaluation; durable medical equipment assessment and training (such as, use of a raised toilet seat to assist with getting on and off the toilet easier). The occupational therapist also fabricates splints and casts to reduce deformities and optimize muscle functioning.

A Physiatrist is a doctor of physical medicine rehabilitation. The physiatrist typically serves as the leader for the rehabilitation treatment team and makes referrals to the various therapies and medical specialists as needed. The physiatrist works with the rehabilitation team, the person with a brain injury, and the family to develop the best possible treatment plan.

Physical Therapists evaluate and treat a person’s ability to move the body. The physical therapist focuses on improving physical function by addressing muscle strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination. Functional goals include increasing independent ability with walking, getting in and out of bed, on and off a toilet, or in and out of a bathtub. Physical therapists provide training with assistive devices such as canes or walkers for ambulation. Physical therapists can also use physical modalities, treatments of heat, cold, and water to assist with pain relief and muscle movement.

Social Workers are responsible for assuring appropriate and cost-effective treatment and the facilitation of discharge planning. Maintains regular contact with the patient’s insurance carrier, family, and referring physician to assure that treatment goals are understood and achieved.

Speech/Language Pathologists evaluates a person’s ability to express oneself (speech, written, or otherwise expressed) and comprehend what is seen or heard. A speech/language pathologist trains a person to use assistive technology as an alternative form of communication if the person is unable to verbalize. The speech/language pathologist focuses on the muscles in the face, mouth, and throat. They also address swallowing issues.