Outpatient Therapy

Outpatient therapy is an incremental step in many patients’ recovery from spinal cord injury and other related neurologic diagnoses.  Prior to discharge from inpatient hospitalization, the rehab team makes discharge recommendations for each patient that are specific to his or her goals and needs.  If the rehab team recommends outpatient therapy, the spinal cord care coordinator arranges for the patient to receive therapy at Frazier Rehab Institute’s downtown Louisville outpatient clinic or the Jewish Hospital Medical Center East outpatient clinic.  Outpatient therapy may also be recommended intermittently during the patient’s lifetime as his or her medical status may change.

Once a patient is admitted into outpatient therapy, each therapist will perform a thorough evaluation and develop treatment plans and goals for the patient to progress this person to his or her highest level of independence.  Our therapists treat each patient as unique individuals by incorporating functional activity, utilizing specialized exercises and emphasizing a wholistic, team-oriented approach.  The following is a description of the different types of therapists each patient may have on his or her outpatient therapy team.

  • The physical therapist helps prevent conditions associated with loss of mobility through fitness and wellness programs that achieve healthy and active lifestyles. Physical therapists examine individuals and develop plans using treatment techniques that promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability.
  • The occupational therapist helps develop skills that are important for independent living such as getting dressed, cooking a meal, driving a car or returning to work.  An occupational therapist’s approach emphasizes the patient’s physical, emotional and cognitive status, but special attention is given to the arms, hands and fingers since these areas are our primary tools of function.   
  • The speech therapist helps with speech, language, voice, communication, swallowing and thinking skills like concentration and remembering.  A speech therapist may help patients regain strength and coordination in their mouth muscles for speaking as well as teach the patient and his or her family techniques to improve thinking skills so the patient can progress to more independent living. 
  • The recreational therapist helps with participation in leisure activities adapted to the patient’s level of independence and promotes overall healthy and balanced lifestyles.  Recreational therapists use many different leisure activities to treat patients including adapted sports (quad rugby, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, adapted rowing), arts and crafts, therapy animals, games, dance and movement, drama, music and community reintegration outings. 
  • The psychologist helps with counseling and support for coping and adjusting to complex medical conditions, as well as provides education to patients and their families.  A neuropsychologist will help evaluate a patient who has difficulty with brain functioning as a result of a medical event like trauma or stroke and then make recommendations for follow up care.

Another therapy tool frequently used in outpatient rehab is Aquatic Therapy.  The ultimate goal of Aquatic Therapy is for the patient to experience specific exercises and activities which help increase strength, decrease pain and improve overall movement of the body so that it will be carried over to how he or she functions on land. 

Frazier Rehab Institute has two therapy pools – cool and warm - that therapists use to help advance patients’ overall functional outcome.  The weightless environment of the water allows patients to move their bodies and extremities with greater ease allowing them to concentrate on more accurate movements and exercises.  These pools have floors that rise as high as the gym floor and as low as five feet deep.  This allows the therapist to grade an activity or exercise more or less difficult, as well as creates an environment that is best suited for the patient’s physical abilities and comfort.  The pools’ floors also have the ability to function like a treadmill to practice walking and taking steps.  Both pools have underwater cameras, which allow the therapist to analyze the patient’s movement for providing specific feedback. 

For patients who have a spinal cord injury and who meet specific criteria, outpatient therapy in Frazier Rehab Institute’s NeuroRecovery Network Program may be recommended.  Frazier Rehab Institute is the nation’s lead center for the NeuroRecovery Program – which is supported by the Christopher Reeve Foundation.  Patients in the NeuroRecovery Network Program will receive physical and occupational therapies two to three times a week for one-hour sessions.  Some patients will also receive speech therapy to assist with communication, swallowing and/or cognitive rehab. 

Some patients may benefit from Locomotor Training, which is a part of the NeuroRecovery Network.  If a patient meets specific criteria pertaining to his or her motor control and rehab potential as well as obtaining a physician’s referral, this person will begin the Locomotor Training Program which is four to five days a week for one and a half to two hours a day. 

For more information click on NeuroRecovery Network or Locomotor Training.

For more information or to refer a patient call or 1-.


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Last Updated: 7/16/2014