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Southern DHB Assessment Treatment & Rehabilitation Services (AT&R) - Southland

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    AT&R Inpatient Services

    Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation inpatient services are provided in a 30 bed ward with a physiotherapy gym and occupational therapy facilities.

    AT&R Outpatient Services

    Medical outpatient clinics are held three days a week and Stroke clinics are held on a monthly basis.

    AT&R Community Services

    Provides a community based assessment, treatment and rehabilitation service to patients in their homes and in community settings.

    AT&R Staff Include

    Geriatricians are specialist doctors who are trained in the conditions that commonly affect older people as well as how the aging body’s needs change with respect to all illnesses.

    Physiotherapists are experts in movement and function.  They review what you need to assist with walking and provide equipment if needed as well as exercises aimed to improve movement, pain, weakness or balance.  They usually see you at home or in the gym depending on your needs.
     
    Occupational Therapists are experts in function.  They look at what you do during the day and what might help to achieve things you are struggling with.  They usually see you in your home environment to look at how you manage.
     
    Speech Therapists are experts in problems with speech and communication.  They are also experts in swallowing.
     
    Dietitians are experts in nutrition and can give advice about diets to gain or lose weight as well as diets that help with certain illnesses.
     
    Needs Assessors are experts in arranging support for you.  They organise funding for help in the home or going to a rest home.  They are able to advise you on what sort of help you may qualify for or benefit from.
     
    Social Workers provide support for you and your family.  They are able to provide counselling to get through difficult times as well as advice about your rights as a patient.
     
    Nurses in this team are specially trained in conditions affecting older people and may be involved in your follow up to provide practical advice at home and provide feedback to your specialist or GP.
    Procedures

    Memory Problems

    There are several types of memory problems people can have.   If you are referred because of memory concerns it is very helpful to bring along a family member.  It is also very important to bring all of your medications with you as these can often affect memory.  A full medical examination will be done and you will be asked some questions to test your memory and concentration as well as mood.  You are likely to have blood tests looking for some causes of memory loss and depending on your history you may be referred for a CT scan of your brain.  This is a computerised X-ray, which involves you lying down for about 15 minutes while a machine passes over you. 

    Dementia

    This is a condition of gradual loss of memory and other functions of awareness or thinking such as concentration over time.  There are several types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, which is due to the same sort of illnesses that cause stroke. 

    Falls

    These are not a natural part of aging.  There are many reasons why people fall over and a review of your medical problems and medications may well reveal some reasons for falling that can be fixed.  If you have lots of falls, seeing a specialist as well as the physiotherapist and occupational therapist can reduce your chances of falling again.  You will be asked about the circumstances surrounding your falls and it is helpful if family or friends who witnessed your falls come into the clinic with you.  You will have an examination looking at your general health as well as strength, balance, vision and memory.  An occupational therapist may come to your home to look into any changes that can be made to improve safety.  For more information on falls prevention the ACC website has information on www.acc.co.nz/injury-prevention/safe-at-home/

    Strokes

    A stroke is where the blood supply to an area of the brain is interrupted causing damage to brain cells.  This happens either with a clot in the blood vessel or the blood vessel bursting.  The effects of a stroke depend on where in the brain, and how big, the interruption to blood flow is.  Most people who have had a stroke are admitted to hospital.  If the stroke has had significant physical effects you may be admitted to our rehabilitation unit aimed at increasing your independence, preventing complications from stroke and preventing further strokes.  For more information on stroke a very useful website is the New Zealand Stroke Foundation site www.stroke.org.nz

    Urinary Incontinence

    Urinary incontinence or a loss of bladder control is the involuntary passage of urine. There are many causes and types of incontinence, and many treatment options. Treatments range from simple exercises to surgery. Women are affected by urinary incontinence more often than men.

    Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens your bones. Osteoporosis is not painful but it makes your bones more prone to breaking (fracture).  Women are more likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis and as you get older you are more likely to have it. TestsOsteoporosis can be diagnosed by measuring bone mineral density (BMD).  This test involves taking x-rays or a computer tomography (CT) scan of the bones in your spine, wrist, arm or leg.  You may be asked to have a blood test to look for reasons why you might have osteoporosis. TreatmentThere is no cure for osteoporosis, but there are treatments that can improve bone strength and reduce your chances of breaking a bone.  If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis you may be prescribed several medications to improve your bone strength.  You will have follow-up either with your GP or specialist to make sure that the medication suits you.  You will be given some more detailed reading about things you can do to help manage your osteoporosis and about the type of medication you are on.