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  • Kessler Institute, NJ

    Hi - I'm just trying to get any feedback (good or bad) on Kessler Institute in New Jersey. Have a family member that is going to be going there and would like to know what folks think. My family member has a C6 injury and is an incomplete. She can move her arms and hands, but no finger movement. Nothing below the waist. I heard Kessler teaches you to live with your disability and doesn't try anything new such as FES, or the locomotive walker, neuroaccupuncture. Just wondering.

  • #2
    Kessler is , from what I read and heard a premier SCI facility, I didnt go there but did consult with one of the Dr's who specialises in spasticity. I dont belive there is a better sci rehab in the northeast, I know deff not in New Jersey.

    Good luck, it sounds like alot of progress has already been made, and knowing that your family member is incomplete, I'm sure much more recovery will be made.

    JimmyMack
    JimmyMack
    Member: New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Reasearch
    http://www.state.nj.us/health/spinalcord/index.shtml

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Lindasue
      Hi - I'm just trying to get any feedback (good or bad) on Kessler Institute in New Jersey.
      I don't think you can do any better than to go to one of the 14 Model SCI Rehabilitation Hospitals and if Kessler is close to the family I think that is important too. My son was there quite a few years ago and Kessler and the staff was very good for him. Since then it was purchased from The Kessler Foundation by Select Medical and is still one of the best. I can't speak to whether they are at the bleeding edge of rehab, but learning to live (and thrive) with a disability was and still is very important.
      Where is your family member located?
      Carl

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lindasue
        Hi - I'm just trying to get any feedback (good or bad) on Kessler Institute in New Jersey. Have a family member that is going to be going there and would like to know what folks think. My family member has a C6 injury and is an incomplete. She can move her arms and hands, but no finger movement. Nothing below the waist. I heard Kessler teaches you to live with your disability and doesn't try anything new such as FES, or the locomotive walker, neuroaccupuncture. Just wondering.
        Lindasue,

        While it is true that all rehabilitation centers teach people to live with their disabilities, it is not true that Kessler doesn't try anything new such as FES, locomotion, neuroacupuncture, and other things. For example, Kessler does have an active FES program. They were the first to get grants from the NIH to study acupuncture effects on spinal cord injury, but I don't think that there are any rehabilitation centers in the United States with a good acunpuncture program. They have an active locomotor, weight-supported ambulation programs.

        I have given lectures at Kessler and also visited the place many times. In my opinion, it is a great rehabilitation center. But, like all rehabilitation centers, it has a personality and a tradition. It is a bit paternalistic in that it pushes its families to do it the Kessler way and you have to fight hard to find your own way. By the way, most New York rehabilitation centers (particularly NYU) give you more rope and independence to develop your own programs but this may not be good for some families.

        The people at Kessler are very experienced and competent. They care and are quite good at what they do. In my opinion, they are open-minded about new approaches but at the same time very conservative in that they make sure everybody who goes through their center understands and carries out the basic ABC's of spinal cord injury care. If you want a place that is more aggressive about restoration of function, you might want to consider Johns Hopkins.

        It is good news about your family member that she is a C6 and has function down to her waist.

        Wise.

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        • #5
          Hopkins VS Kennedy Krieger Institute

          The people at Kessler are very experienced and competent. They care and are quite good at what they do. In my opinion, they are open-minded about new approaches but at the same time very conservative in that they make sure everybody who goes through their center understands and carries out the basic ABC's of spinal cord injury care. If you want a place that is more aggressive about restoration of function, you might want to consider Johns Hopkins.
          Wise~
          There is a difference between Johns Hopkins and Kennedy Krieger. Kennedy Krieger has an outstanding restorative rehab progra. Inpatient care is limited depending on the patients age.

          I was in Johns Hopkins a year ago on the neuro floor, the resident didn't know what AD was. It was the worse care I have ever received. The staff at KKI and JH are different as are the philosophy's.

          I do get my outpatient care at KKI and I love the staff, philosophy and care.

          Shepherd in Atlanta has started a pretty aggressive restorative therapy program. They use the RT 300 FES bikes as well as are part of the Christopher Reeve Foundations Neuro Recovery program.

          Shoot me a PM if you have specific questions.
          Every day I wake up is a good one

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          • #6
            Originally posted by cheesecake
            Wise~
            There is a difference between Johns Hopkins and Kennedy Krieger. Kennedy Krieger has an outstanding restorative rehab progra. Inpatient care is limited depending on the patients age.

            I was in Johns Hopkins a year ago on the neuro floor, the resident didn't know what AD was. It was the worse care I have ever received. The staff at KKI and JH are different as are the philosophy's.

            I do get my outpatient care at KKI and I love the staff, philosophy and care.

            Shepherd in Atlanta has started a pretty aggressive restorative therapy program. They use the RT 300 FES bikes as well as are part of the Christopher Reeve Foundations Neuro Recovery program.

            Shoot me a PM if you have specific questions.
            Sorry, I was referring to Kennedy Krieger which is part of Johns Hopkins.

            Wise

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            • #7
              I was at Kessler in East Orange, maybe West Orange is better, I don't know. I did better at a small place on Long Island, and on my own, after I was discharged from Kessler. I wasn't given much information, and I didn't quite know what really had happened to me. i started ther when I was coming out of a com, for 8 weeeks and very confused, why I couldn't walk, or what I had been through.
              I guess it's what you make of your recovery, I've done well, and to find this site, I have prospered greatly from it, alone. I'[ve done what was told to my family, and freind's, the impossible, and will do everything to continue to do so.
              Link the family memeber up to this site, and they will indoubtably be for ever grateful. There is alot of things that are thrown around, and spending money, rather than time, at this point does not seem to be worth it. Put the effort into agressive therapy, and push, to walk, and ambulate, it's surprising, sometimes, how a whole lot of effort, and never say never, can do for you.
              My injurys fill up a page, and I've done so well. You say the family memeber trained horses, this may give her the ability to wade through some of the things she will need to do what she wants to accomplish. Best of luck, and hard work. I've talked to people at Kennedy Kreieger, and tried to do some of the things they do, close to home, so far I'm doing good, given the resources I have to work with, look also at Research Istitute of Michigan, they also have a program I tried to duplicate, every injury is different, and so is every person, no one thing seems to work for all.
              Also, stairs, if possible do alot, they did for me, they had to, I live in a 2 story house, on a hill, here it's use or lose, they have been better for me than any thing I ever got in rehab, and that's from the people at my rehab, they claim I've already done my rehab befor I get there. Now knowing what I know, and do, they saved me some money, and told me to go to a gym, I know all the ropes, and can use it whenever, and it's closer to home.
              Anytime I have any questions all I have to do is call, or stop in, They have been great, and yet they only have limited amounts of equipment to work with. The local gym offers the same, and a little more, so far, so good

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              • #8
                I need to mention that there are basic differences between the goals of an acute rehabilitation program and a post-acute program.

                If you are newly injured, you need an acute program. This includes all the disciplines needed....physiatrists, rehabilitation nurses, PTs, OTs, speech pathologists, orthotics/prosthetics, social work, psychology, vocational rehabilitation, etc. An acute program should ideally be either a Model System SCI Center, a VA SCI Center, or a CARF accredited SCSC (Spinal Cord System of Care). These are all indicators of programs that meet the highest standards and have extensive experience with acute rehabilitation of persons with SCI. You will NOT find all of these disciplines in a post-acute program. An acute program's purpose is to prepare you for life in the community. That does not necessarily mean they don't use the most modern and innovating interventions, but the reality is that much of what they can do is driven by what insurance will cover...and for how long. With average LOS of 18 days for a para, and less than 5 weeks for tetraplegia allowed by the insurance companies, acute rehab centers are forced to focus on basic survival skills...bowel and bladder management, transfers, basic wheelchair skills, basic ADLs such as feeding yourself and dressing, etc. Education is a big component of good programs, to equip you for keeping healthy for the long run, and to help you get back into community life (vs. institutionalization).

                A post-acute program is generally designed to be used AFTER an acute rehab program. Generally they have exercise trainers, sometimes PTs, rarely OTs. I have not seen one that provides comprehensive rehabilitation nursing, physiatry, social work, psychology, vocational rehabilitation, etc. They expect that you already have learned how to manage your bowels and bladder, prevent pressure ulcers, manage your medications, and learned basic activities of daily living. Many if not most of these programs are not covered by insurance, and are quite expensive. If you have the private funds, you can continue with them for months or years. There is no utilization review or insurance company breathing down their necks telling them you have to be discharged because you are not making functional gains.

                Both programs have their place, but a post-acute program cannot replace an acute rehabilitation program.

                (KLD)
                The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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                • #9
                  Insurance is the Driving force

                  Everyone here can give you suggestions on the BEST rehab center but unfortunately, insurance will be the driving force. Where does she live, does she have private insurance, is there alternate funding, i.e. state trust fund, auto insurance, liability insurance (home owneres, etc. ) worker's comp, Veterans benefits, ec? Does the state she lives in have rehabilitation coverage for Medicaid? Some states don't. Has she applied to Social Security, is there Medicaid attached to that? Will the hospital accept her Medicaid?

                  There are so many factors that go into choosing a rehab center but insurance ot lack of funding ALWAYS plays a crucial roll. If your insurance is inadequate, or Medicaid pending, most facilities will not accept her as a patient. Where does she want to go to rehab at? Does she liv near Kessler and wil they accept her? These are key issues.

                  Often, families ask "What is the best" only to later be disappointed that they don't have coverage for the "best". My suggestion is to determine what insurance will fund, and then select from the"Best" of that bunch. An example would be someone who lives in FL and their only funding is the FL SCI Trust fund. They allow coverage at aprox 7 facilities. I would tell someone in FL to check outcomes and see which facility sees the most patients, then go from there. It isn't perfect or ideal, but it might be all the family has to work with so making a good choice is important.

                  In the event that you have the "Best" insurance available in the US" you can be more selective. Either way, use checklists to help you determine what type of care she wants and needs. Some folks are independnt and can go anywhere, others need to stay close to home, family and friends to do better.

                  I wish it was an easier process, it isn't. Much depends on insurance. Make a good choice, make it fast (too long in hospital can = complications) and make the most of rehabilitation.

                  I am sorry you had to find our community, but I am glad you found us. I wish you luck and success in this process.

                  Please keep us posted.
                  Every day I wake up is a good one

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                  • #10
                    Kessler is an excellent hospital from what I heard. I don't know much about their inpatient program b/c I went to Helen Hayes instead. That was an awesome hospital. It's located in West Havestraw, NY. The Pts and ot's were awesome. They taught you how to live with your disablity by teaching you how to cook, cath, wheelchair mobility, etc.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks so much for your information that really does help. She's been there a week now and everything you mention is correct. Also thanks for the tip on John Hopkins. I have read alot about them and really want her to go there after she leaves Kessler in 4 weeks.

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                      • #12
                        alhavel - thanks a bunch for your reply as well. We have her paperwork in for Push to Walk and are praying that she is accepted, because I'm sure once the news gets out there will be a waiting list to get into their program.

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                        • #13
                          Cheesecake - I'm glad I found the community because everyone has been so helpful and I try to read everyday so that I can be better help to her. Once she is able to use the computer I'm going to get her signed in as well so she can come on and ask her questions - it will be very healing for her. Stay strong!

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                          • #14
                            thank You Lindasue,

                            At this very moment I'm going outside to do my own "Push to Walk" dad has brought home yet another project for me, If I don't fall down from this one I'll kill him before the day is over. He, like me, never stops, it's my own fault for making the doorway bigger in my kitchen to the sun porch I guess. I told him I didn't need help, and I didn't. Stupid me, what is he going to do to me next ??? Good choice, John Hopkins, I tried to model what they were doing there close to home for me, as well as RIM, and, I guess it's worked. Who knew ??

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                            • #15
                              alhavel - Praise God for your dad. We to are going to get Tara into Push To Walk and try to set up everything possible at home so that we don't miss a beat. You and your dad have the same attitude as Tara - she said that she will walk again and she's going to keep trying. Praise God for positive people. God Bless you and keep striving!!!

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