Psychosocial and educational rehabilitation of adult patients is an integral part of all rehabilitation programs in the Institute. Psychosocial professionals greatly contribute to the comprehensive rehabilitation and patient’s socialization. Parallel to the work with patients and families, the psychosocial team is facilitating networking in local communities (governmental and non-governmental organizations, peer support etc.)
The team for the psychosocial and educational rehabilitation includes:
- Social worker
- Speech therapist
Rehabilitation is a complex and comprehensive process as the injury to the physical integrity inevitably leads to changes in emotional and social functioning. Physical disability, life with a chronic disease or condition, can all lead to changes in the perception of oneself, in professional and family roles and in the social status.
When referred to psychologist during the rehabilitation process, many patients ask ’Why me? Am I crazy?!” So, it is important to note that the priority work of psychologist in the rehabilitation process is not a diagnostics of deficits or impairments than it is identification and mapping of all psychological strengths and potentials which can help the patient to reach his / her maximum within the limits of the present condition. Individual approach enables the psychologist to gain insight in all abilities, personality traits and social function of the patients and to plan the psychological support accordingly. Psychologists in the Institute are certified for various diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. However, therapy and counselling are primarily led by the specific patient’s needs.
There are also group treatments, e. g., peer support groups where patients can share their experiences and get advice from those who are or were in similar situation. Another aspect are groups for progressive neuromuscular relaxation aiming to reduce the level of stress, pain and anxiety. Very important link in the rehabilitation process are family members who are, whenever possible, involved and included in the counselling work.
Psychologists naturally work closely with the other team members, take part in educational activities, including joint professional conferences. Towards the end of rehabilitation process, more emphasis is placed on the psychological support needed for patient’s reintegration in his /her local community.
Changes in health status can affect family relationships, work ability and in general, the quality of life.
Most common difficulties which patients face are lack of support / assistance in activities of daily living (care, personal hygiene and household chores), architectonic barriers (e.g. stairs), provision of orthopedic aids, poor economic situation and social isolation.
The role of social worker is to help the patient and the family to adjust to the new life circumstances. Based on the interviews with the patient, family and other persons who are important for the recovery, social worker assesses the current needs of the patient and negotiates the treatment and intervention plan with the patient and / or family.
Speech therapist has the expertise in diagnostics and therapy of speech and language disorders, as well as in the augmentative communication.
Speech problems are not rare in stroke patients, in patients with head injuries, tumors, neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS etc.
Most common problem areas are:
- difficulties to find the adequate words and expressive speech, incorrect pronunciation, slurred speech, incoherent speech and absence of speech or communication;
- difficulties in understanding what others are saying;
- difficulties in reading, writing and calculation
- voice changes ( quiet voice, harsh voice…)
It is very important to start the speech therapy on time.
The first contact with the patient is used for the thorough evaluation and for drafting the treatment plan.
Speech therapy can last for a few weeks, months up to the few years. During the treatment it is necessary to establish a good contact with family members as family involvement certainly contributes to the speech recovery and the language abilities.
Team for the psychosocial and educational rehabilitation of children and youth
Team is devoted to the prevention, diagnostic and therapeutic work with children, families and local communities.
Psychologist on Dept. for children rehabilitation evaluates the psychomotor development, cognitive and neuropsychological abilities, social and emotional development and behavior in children who are referred for the habilitation treatment. Psychological assessment is used in the multidisciplinary evaluation of children with developmental delays, for the professional orientation and for the creation of individual, adapted educational and habilitation plans.
As for therapy, the psychologist works with both the child and the family. In the process of individual treatment the psychologist uses MarteMeo therapy as an effective method for enhancement of the natural communication with children who experience difficulties in establishing the good-enough interaction with others. Montessori therapy is aiming to develop cognition, social, emotional and, communication abilities. Since 2011, the Sensory Integration (SI) treatment is also available. The main goal of the SI treatment is to facilitate processing and organization of the sensory stimuli which further impacts on better organization of behavior, better self-control, development of initiative in interaction, more self-confidence etc.
The group work is used for development of creativity and socialization in children with delays in development. Parents can have the individual or group counselling. They are informed about processes of psychological development, upbringing, and education and habilitation treatment. The ultimate goal of all psychological interventions is improvement of the quality of life for children and their families.
Social worker on Dept. for children rehabilitation identifies problems and difficulties which can occur during the rehabilitation process, in family functioning but also those difficulties and obstacles which may emerge in wider social community. Treatment and counselling are done individually or in the group for the psycho-social support for parents / guardians. The aim is to create better conditions for inclusion and involvement of the child in all spheres of social life and to prevent social isolation of the child and family.
During counselling sessions, parents / guardians get information about their legal rights in fields of social & child welfare and health care. They also are informed about the formal procedure for disability assessment which is performed in centers for social work.
Speech therapist on Dept. for children rehabilitation works on prevention, diagnostics and treatment of speech and language difficulties.
Preventive work includes the evaluation of pre-lingual abilities of the baby / suckling and counselling work with families who have children at neurodevelopmental risk. Speech therapists are also involved in the work with children who experience difficulties in suckling, swallowing ad chewing. Parental counselling and training can have great influence on articulation, mimics and speech & hearing development in children. Various methods are used in diagnostics to assess the perception, understanding of verbal messages, articulation and mimic movements and possibilities for the expressive speech. Treatment is based on the individual assessment and its length may vary depending on the severity of condition. Children with extreme difficulties in verbal expression are trained in techniques of augmentative and alternative communication.
As the member of the psychosocial team, special teacher creates and participates in various activities which are aiming at socialization of children whose rehabilitation and education require longer hospital stay. Special teacher helps in adaptation to the hospital life and boost the motivation for rehabilitation. Also, she is planning and organizing pedagogical and educational work, helping children with school tasks. Free time activities and activities related to the social integration of children through organization of creative workshops, visits to various cultural events and public institutions are carefully planned. Special teacher also helps parents to accept and take an active part in playing with children, to understand the importance of play for the child’s’ entire development.