May 28, 2020
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TAMC’s Acute Rehab Unit holds emotional reunion for staff and patients

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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — National Rehabilitation Awareness Week was the week of September 18. On Wednesday, September 21, the staff at TAMC’s Acute Rehabilitation Unit held an emotional reunion with some former patients at the TAMC Conference Center in Presque Isle and it proved to be just what the doctor ordered.

Heather Caron, MSPT, manager of TAMC’s Acute Rehab Unit, and her staff provided a welcoming environment for patients who have become like part of the family.

“We work very closely with our patients and their families and we get very connected to them—their success is our success!” said Caron.

There was time set aside to socialize and reconnect with therapists, nursing staff, social workers, nutritionists, and others who may have played a hand in helping patients walk again, speak again, and sometimes simply live their lives again.

Caron said, “It was an opportunity for those in this profession to see that what they do makes a difference; that helping someone up out of a chair may not seem like much but when they finally are able to do it on their own, it changes their life.”

According to Daryl Boucher, director of patient care services, TAMC is committed to bringing County patients back home to heal. It is a key mission of the acute rehab unit. “We know fully the value of being surrounded by friends and family, particularly when facing a crisis. The staff here is committed to making this a family centered unit. We include friends and family in decisions, we have a liberal visitation policy, and we fully encourage families and friends to participate in the plan of care. Their involvement is critical to getting patients to function at the highest level possible,” said Boucher.

The reunion was also a chance for current and former patients to say thank you. Following an informative and sometimes humorous panel discussion consisting of therapists, social workers, and patients, the floor was opened up for comments.

The sharing portion was poignant and necessary as one by one patients told stories of how their lives were turned upside down, but TAMC’s Acute Rehab helped to put them back on track. Those taking part expressed appreciation for the chance to show their gratitude.

Tracy Bradley, a TAMC employee, is also a former patient. “For me it was such a wonderful experience to meet and share experiences with others who have been there,” said Bradley. “I was so thrilled also to be able to see all of the wonderful people who worked with and took care of me while in rehab, many of them are family to me now and I try to stop and see them as often as I can. Heather did a great job of getting us all together. I can’t wait for next year!”

“It was a chance to check in on these people’s lives and see how they’re doing. It was very well-received by both patients and our staff and I have no doubt that we’ll do this again in the future,” said Caron.

The primary goal of TAMC’s acute inpatient rehab team is to help people and their loved ones maximize their function and independence after a life changing event. Everyone recovers differently depending on their willingness to take an active role in their own therapy program. For information about TAMC’s Acute Rehab Unit, located on the campus of A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital in Presque Isle, please call 207-768-4432 or visit them online at TAMC.org.