San Diego Health - Fall 2021

“This new, innovative center provides patients with world-class, comprehensive rehabilitation services right here in San Diego.”


“When I was lying in bed in intensive care, and I had all kinds of tubes going in and I was on a ventilator, there was a good chance that's the way I was going to be the rest of my life,” Freeman says. “With the help of these people and a lot of other great people, I'm doing much, much better and I'm very grateful for that. I’m very optimistic about a better future.” e Scripps Encinitas Rehabilitation Center team also uses a driving simulator that measures sensory, cognitive and motor responses to evaluate a patient’s ability to return to the road, and a comprehensive driver assessment program that can include on-road experience in a dual-control vehicle. ere’s also a full-scale kitchen and studio apartment where patients can practice basic tasks like cooking, dressing, and getting in and out of bed. Neurologic injuries oen go beyond just motor impairment, for example the inability to move one’s hand, says Dr. Sahagian. Some may not be able to understand where their hand is in relation to the rest of their body, or they may not even be aware of their arm even though it's still attached. “Many times, patients who have these neurologic injuries need to be retrained in these activities of daily living so that they're safe,” he says. “Ultimately, the goal is for people to be independent.” Following rehabilitation, patients have access to a wide range of classes designed to help them maintain functional gains achieved during therapy. Many are provided through partnerships with Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Scripps Shiley Sports and Fitness Center. Philanthropy is at the core of healing innovation at the Scripps Encinitas Rehabilitation Center. It was made possible by the LaVerne and Blaine Briggs Rehabilitation Program, which was established by the couple in 2004 to benet Scripps’ rehabilitation services. “We’re grateful for their support,” says Dr. Sahagian. “People like LaVerne and Blaine Briggs, through their philanthropy, are helping the whole community.”

Patient Mike Freeman knows just how vital advanced technology is to rehabilitation. A fall in early 2020 le him with a fractured vertebra in his neck and paralyzed him from the shoulders down. Aer 40 days in intensive care and six months working with spinal injury experts out of state, he began to regain some motion. Upon his return to Encinitas, he started occupational and physical therapy, part of which involved using a mounted harness and a robotic exoskeleton to help with walking, balance and weight shiing. “It takes steps and helps with getting into a normal rhythmwalking,” he says. “And because you can walk anywhere, it's kind of an adventure.” With the help of his dedicated therapists, Freeman also works his arms and legs on specialized bicycles and does sit-ups, stretches and mat work. He has progressed to the point where he can walk while supporting his own weight, though he still needs help with posture and balance. He has also regained another crucial ability—feeding himself.

To learn more about Scripps Encinitas Rehabilitation Center, visit SDScrippsRehab .


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