All posts by Angelo Antoline

10 Early Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Michael J. Fox was a 29-year-old actor who woke up one morning and noticed his little finger shaking. What he thought was a side effect of a hangover actually was an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that has no known cause. Nearly a million people in the United States live with the disease.

Some symptoms of the disease are easy to see, while others are hard even for a trained healthcare professional to detect.
The National Parkinson Foundation offers these 10 early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease:

  1. Tremor or shaking of a body part
  2. Small handwriting – your handwriting changes to become smaller
  3. Loss of smell
  4. Trouble sleeping
  5. Trouble moving or walking
  6. Constipation
  7. Soft or low voice – your voice changes to be softer
  8. Masked or serious look on your face even when you’re not in a bad mood
  9. Dizziness or fainting
  10. Stooping or hunching over

No one symptom necessarily means that you have the disease; the symptom may be caused by another condition. However, if you feel you are experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit your physician.

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Rehabilitative Care – It’s Not All the Same

When looking for rehabilitative care, you may have heard of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities, and nursing homes. While these may seem like equal choices for care, they’re not.

Each of the facilities mentioned above has rehabilitation professionals on staff, but only one – the rehabilitation hospital – specializes in rehabilitation, offering 24-hour rehabilitative nursing care, along with daily physician management and intensive rehabilitation therapies.

So, why is this important?

Simply put, when it comes to your health, you want the best option provided.

A national study commissioned by the ARA Research Institute shows that patients treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals have better long-term results than those treated in skilled nursing facilities.
The study shows that patients:

  • Live longer
  • Have less hospital and ER visits
  • Remain longer in their homes without additional outpatient services

In addition, patients in the study:

  • Returned home from their initial stay two weeks earlier
  • Remained home two weeks longer

So the bottom line is, as a patient, you get to choose where you want to go. Don’t ever hesitate to research, observe and ask questions about a facility to be sure you receive the level of rehabilitative care that you want and need.

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Lower Your Stroke Risks this Summer

Summer is a great time for a lot of things – barbecues, outdoor activities, vacations…but what you may not think about when it comes to summer is using all it has to offer to lower your stroke risks.

Strokes – or brain attacks – are the leading cause of adult disabilities in the United States, and can happen to anyone at any time. According to the National Stroke Association, nearly 800,000 people experience strokes every year.

One of the biggest myths regarding strokes is that they can’t be avoided. But in reality, nearly 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented by controlling lifestyle risk factors, or habits that we engage in that can be changed to improve our health.

Summer provides easy-to-find opportunities to lower stroke risks, such as:

  • Buy and eat fresh produce. Visit your local farmer’s market or grocery store to find in-season, fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat them in their natural states.
  • Eat less salt. Eat fresh vegetables versus canned items, and your salt intake will decrease.
  • Visit the beach. Eat more seafood (at the beach or not) instead of red meat.
  • Enjoy the outdoors. Get active outside during the warmer and longer days.
  • Put the cigarettes down. Summer usually is less stressful. Use it to your advantage to try to break the habit.
  • Shoot for your healthy weight. Healthy eating and activities may help you reach a healthy weight (if you’re not already at it).
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After a Stroke — Finding the Right Words

It’s common to struggle at times to find the right word during a conversation. But for an individual who has had a stroke, finding the right word may be much more difficult.

Aphasia can be a side effect of a stroke, which can affect a person’s ability to communicate by impairing the ability to speak, read, listen or write. When a person with aphasia has word-finding difficulty, it’s called anomia.

Anomia makes it difficult to find the words or ideas that a person wants to share. Sometimes the word may come, and sometimes it won’t.

When this happens in a conversation, the person who is speaking to the stroke survivor may want to jump in quickly to supply the word. But in reality, that can be more of a hindrance than a help. It would be more beneficial to help the person find the word they are looking for rather than supplying it.

So, how can you best communicate with someone under these circumstances? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Allow plenty of time for a response. Talk with the individual, not for him or her.
  • Ask “yes” or “no” questions that can be answered simply and without a lot of explanation.
  • Use photographs or pictures to help provide cues.
  • Write your cues – such as a letter or a drawing – on a piece of paper to share.
  • Confirm and repeat back what the person has said. Use paraphrases or key words to be sure that you’re understanding properly.
  • Use gestures as you ask questions.
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Act FAST and Save a Life

FAST is an easy way to identify the most common symptoms of stroke:

F – Face drooping. Ask the person to smile. Note if one side of the face is drooping.
A – Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms to the side. See if one drifts downward.
S – Speech difficulty. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Listen if the speech is slurred or strange.
T – Time to call 911. If you observe any of these signs, call for help immediately.

Take note of the time of the first symptom so you can tell medical personnel because this can affect treatment decisions. Rapid access to medical treatment can make a difference between full recovery and permanent disability.

Other symptoms of a stroke also may include sudden onset of:

  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding what someone is saying
  • Numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body
  • Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Severe headache with no known cause
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Even if you’re unsure if someone is having a stroke, don’t delay in calling 911 to get the person medical help immediately.

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Don’t Have a Stroke

Dick Clark. Sharon Stone. Rick James.

When you think of these celebrities, you probably think of their talents. What you probably don’t realize is that each suffered a stroke.

Strokes – or brain attacks – can happen to anyone at any time. Strokes are the leading cause of adult disability in the United States, and the fifth leading cause of death.

According to the National Stroke Association, about 800,000 people suffer from strokes every year. What’s notable, however, is that nearly 80 percent of strokes can be avoided.

Certain traits, conditions and habits can raise an individual’s risk of having a stroke. Many of these lifestyle risk factors can be controlled and may actually help prevent a stroke from occurring.

That’s good news, right? So, how do we lessen our chances of having a stroke?

We can start by controlling these lifestyle risk factors:
• High blood pressure
• Smoking
• Diabetes
• Poor diet
• High blood cholesterol
• Physical inactivity
• Obesity
• Heart diseases
• Alcohol consumption

If you think you can improve any of these lifestyle risk factors, do it.
The changes you make now may affect what happens – or better yet, what doesn’t happen – later.

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Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute Provides Nationally Recognized Care to Community for 3rd Year in Row

For the 3rd year in a row, Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute has been acknowledged for providing nationally recognized rehabilitative care to its patients. The hospital was ranked in the Top 10% of inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide for providing care that is patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

“This means that in the Spartanburg area, we’re providing the highest level of rehabilitative care available anywhere in the United States right now,” says Richard Schulz, CEO of Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute. “Patients and their families don’t have to leave the area to receive the latest in technology and clinical protocols – we’re providing it here in our own backyard.”

The hospital was ranked from among 781 inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR). The UDSMR is a non-profit corporation that was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. UDSMR maintains the world’s largest database for medical rehabilitation outcomes.

“This national ranking speaks highly of the commitment and dedication of our employees and medical staff,” Schulz says. “Our staff is passionate about helping patients return home at their highest possible levels of productivity and independence. And for anyone who has ever as had a family member or friend needing healthcare, that matters. We consider it a privilege to be able to provide this higher standard of care to our community.”

Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute provides specialized rehabilitative services to patients who are recovering from disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses, or chronic medical conditions. This includes strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations, along with illnesses such as cerebral palsy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

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Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute awarded National Amputee Rehabilitation certification

Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute has received The Joint Commission’s disease-specific certification for amputee rehabilitation, which signifies the hospital’s dedication to developing better results for amputee patients. The award was given after a rigorous on-site review of the hospital’s compliance with national standards, clinical guidelines, and outcomes of care.

Nearly 2 million people in the United States are living with a loss of a limb. In South Carolina alone, more than 3,000 amputations were performed in 2013 according to the Amputee Coalition. Amputation is when all or part of an arm or leg is removed surgically to treat an injury, disease or infection.

“Amputations may be necessary for a variety of reasons,” says Dr. Timothy Murphree, Medical Director of Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute. “The most common reason is vascular disease, including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease. This is when arteries become narrowed or blocked.

Trauma, burns, cancer or serious infection may be other reasons for an amputation.

“After an amputation, an individual can face a difficult period of physical and emotional recovery,” Murphree says. “This is why we take our responsibility to providing the highest quality of amputee rehabilitation to the community very seriously.”

As part the hospital’s commitment to these patients, Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute voluntarily applied for The Joint Commission’s certification in Amputee Rehabilitation. The certification evaluates programs that provide clinical care directly to patients and programs that provide comprehensive clinical support that interact directly with patients on site, by telephone, or through online or other electronic resources.

“Our hospital is nationally recognized as being dedicated to developing better results for amputee patients,” says Richard Schulz, CEO of Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute. “We know that rehabilitation following an amputation can enhance a patient’s recovery process and minimize functional disability. Our goal is to help our patients reach the highest levels of independence possible following an amputation.

At the hospital, a multidisciplinary medical team that’s led by Murphree meets with patients and their family members to create individualized goals and treatment plans. In addition to physical and occupational therapy, patients also have access to a wound care team that provides a holistic approach to healing, as well as prevention and management of skin breakdown. A prosthetist and orthotist also are available for consults, fitting, and assistance with equipment and permanent prosthetics.

Therapy areas at the hospital that patients have access to include a 6,000-square-foot therapy gym, an aquatic therapy pool, and a courtyard that allows patients to practice on different terrains such as ramps, stairs, gravel, dirt, cubs, curb cut-outs and wood decking. In addition, patients also have access to a daily living and a transitional suite where they can practice daily, at-home activities while under the care of a healthcare professional. In addition, the hospital offers home evaluations to identify and necessary modifications that may need to be made to a patient’s house to ensure a safer return home.

“We provide rehabilitation when the amputation occurs, and we can continue to monitor and treat our patients as their healing and abilities progress and situations change,” Murphree says. “We want to provide ongoing support to our families, friends, neighbors and colleagues in the community who have experienced an amputation. Our goal is to help them adjust to this life-changing event so they can function as independently as possible and enjoy the highest quality of life possible.”

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FREE Stroke Awareness Event

Spartanburg Rehabilitation Hospital is hosting a FREE Stroke Awareness Event and invites you to join!
The event will be held on Tuesday, May 31st from 5:00 – 7:00pm and includes:

• Balance Testing
• Blood Pressure Checks
• Community Resources Information
• Diabetes Education
• Nutrition Education
• Smoking Cessation
• Tasting with Thickened Liquids
• Stroke Program Information
Facility Tour

Event address:
160 Harold Fleming Court (North Grove Medical Complex)

We hope to see you there!

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Spartanburg Rehabilitation Hospital Recognized in Top 10 Percent

Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute has been ranked in the top 10 percent of inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationally for their first year in business

The ranking was provided by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR), a not-for-profit corporation that was developed with support from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, a component of the U.S Department of Education. It ranks rehabilitation facilities based upon care that is patient-centered, effective, efficient, and timely.

We continually strive to provide high quality care to our patients, so it’s exciting to be recognized as a national leader – especially for SRI our first year open,” says Richard Schulz, CEO of Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute. “But what I’m most pleased about are that patients right here in our community can receive the highest level of rehabilitative care available nationally without having to leave the area.

UDSMR, which administers the world’s largest medical rehabilitation database, provides common language and measurement tools to monitor patient results.

Through UDSMR, we collaborate with our peers throughout the United States to share information and establish best practices for patients,” says Schulz. “This helps us elevate rehabilitative care for everyone across the United States.

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Spartanburg Stroke Survivor Regains Independence

When 70-year-old George Lockamy, a stroke survivor from Spartanburg, S.C., was asked what occupational therapy meant to him, he became emotional. Especially when talking about his therapist, Carolyn Politi from Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute.

I was so frightened when I first got to the hospital, but Carolyn knew exactly how I felt,” Lockamy says. “I was so limited in what I could do. Carolyn’s compassion, patience, and smile helped me reclaim my independence.”

Lockamy, who suffered a stroke in September 2014, was paralyzed on his left side. When he entered Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, he couldn’t dress or bathe himself. After four weeks of inpatient rehabilitation and six months of continued outpatient therapy, Lockamy is able to walk independently and is back home in his role as a husband and father.

Politi, who has been an occupational therapist for seven years, says it’s her passion to see patients like Lockamy progress and be able to perform activities of daily living.

We provide occupational therapy to help patients develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills,” she says. “We always start with patients’ goals to determine what they want to accomplish. Once we know what they want to be able to do, we create individualized treatment plans to help the patients reach those goals.

At Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, occupational therapists are part of an interdisciplinary team treating the patient. The team includes physicians, nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, and other healthcare professionals.

Occupational therapy is essential to a patient’s recovery, according to Politi. “The better prepared a patient is at being able to complete daily tasks at home, the more complete the healing process will be,” she says.

Such was the case with Lockamy, who learned how to walk and perform daily tasks.

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