Innovative Approaches to Patient Rehabilitation with MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital


Because each body is different, each rehabilitation is different.


It can happen at any time and in any place. One minute things are normal… and the next minute something happens which completely and unexpectedly changes your trajectory. Whether from a stroke, car accident, fall or other injury or illness, life can become quite fragile. However, we can prove just how resilient we really are through such challenging times, especially when we have services available through such a comprehensive facility as MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital (MARH).

By definition, rehabilitation is defined as the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after illness or injury. Rehabilitation is the process of helping someone who has suffered an illness or injury restore lost skills to regain maximum self-sufficiency. For example, after someone suffers a stroke, rehabilitation efforts may help that person to walk and speak clearly again. Rehabilitation is the process of helping patients achieve the highest level of function, independence and quality of life as possible. Rehabilitation does not, however, reverse or undo the damage caused by disease or trauma but rather helps restore the individual to optimal health, functioning and overall well-being

Rehabilitation medicine is designed to meet each patient’s specific needs. Therefore, each program is different. General treatment components for rehabilitation programs may include treating the basic disease and preventing complications; treating a disability and improving function; providing adaptive tools and altering the environment; as well as teaching the patient and family how to adapt to any lifestyle changes.

The success of rehabilitation depends on a variety of variables which include the nature and severity of the disease, disorder, or injury; the type and degree of any resulting impairments or disabilities; the overall health of the patient; and the support of family, much of which can be achieved through either outpatient or inpatient services.

“Our hospital has both in and outpatient services,” noted Dr. Cielo Navato-Dehning, Medical Director and Spinal Cord Injury Specialist at MARH. “We work with injuries such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, amputee and spinal cord injuries and Parkinson’s disease.”

MARH offers The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ rehabilitation for these patients. By combining speech, occupational and physical therapy, patients can work with a team of certified therapists to reach their unique goals. MARH’s functional approach to therapy includes daily activities such as grooming, dressing, cooking, leisure activities and more.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is one form of rehabilitation. This involves the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders. This may include cognitive, speech, and even swallowing therapy. The therapists at MARH are certified in all modalities. Speech therapy is often needed after injury or illness, such as stroke or brain injury.

“We have specialists in all areas of rehabilitation, and they can do miracles with those specialties,” emphasized Dr. Dehning.

Occupational Therapy

This type of therapy helps patients who have physical sensory cognitive issues. Occupational therapy can help them regain independence in all areas of their lives. Occupational therapy focuses on developing fine motor skills, improving eye-hand coordination, mastering activities of daily life such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing teeth and self-feeding. Sometimes it requires the use of special equipment such as wheelchairs, splints, dressing devices, bathing equipment and even communication aids.

“We take a look at the patient’s occupation, for example, and have a goal for them,” said Dr. Dehning. “In some cases, Workmen’s Compensation may be involved. Occupational therapy also looks at any ergonomic changes that can be made to the worksite so the patient can be accommodated.”

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a type of care design to mitigate pain and restore function and movement. A physical therapist works with patients through the restorative and preventative stages of recovery.

To that end, MARH remains significantly strong in their use of technologies and helping patients.

“We have added an exoskeleton walking device – EKSO – which helps with stroke and spinal cord injury patients to walk again,” noted Dr. Dehning. “It’s kind of like an Iron Man suit and is basically a godsend to help people walk again.”

Additional Therapies

Multiple Sclerosis, Brain Injury and Parkinson’s Rehabilitation

While there is no cure for MS, related therapy can help patients manage their symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.

“We have a multiple sclerosis therapist who manages patients with this disease,” indicated Dr. Dehning. “The therapists at MARH are specialists at what they do, and they can do miracles.”

Through brain injury rehabilitation, patients are designed the care plan based on their individual needs and goals. The focus is to restore physical cognitive and behavioral function.

Through the Parkinson’s disease program, patients are given the opportunity to improve strength, dexterity, flexibility, balance, voice and swallowing, incorporating physical, occupational, and speech therapies.

After a life-changing illness or injury, MARH is fully committed to helping patients regain their independence and experience life-changing results. left to right: Cherie Suther, M.D., Sushma Lueder, M.D., Cielo Navato-Dehning, M.D. and Nick Navato, D.O.

“We are now Joint Commission Disease-Specific Care certified for Parkinson’s rehabilitation,” said Dr. Dehning. “This program went through specific improvement projects with teams keeping up with standards and deciding on where to improve, keeping data to show such progress as a means of program improvement.”

Other forms of rehabilitation include water therapy, myofascial therapy, bariatric therapy and care from certified edema and lymphedema specialists.

“We also have services related to physicians, nephrologists, infectious disease doctors, rheumatology, and internal medicine, as well as a dialysis center,” stated Dr. Dehning. “Using a comprehensive and team approach allows MARH to stay ahead of the competition, especially with our strong outpatient program. Our inpatient rehabilitation hospital also uses an interdisciplinary team approach that includes physical, speech and occupational therapists, rehabilitation physicians, rehabilitation nurses, case managers, dietitians and more, combined with our advanced technology and expertise, to help patients achieve their goals.”

By applying these rehabilitative approaches, patients can aspire to realize superior outcomes.

5701 West 110th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66211

913.491.2400     |