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Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital offers new, free monthly class, starting July 25, for stroke survivors and their families

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's in-house Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU) will provide a new, free community service by offering a monthly class to teach stroke survivors, their families and other caregivers how they can prepare for rehabilitation in and outside the hospital. This 90-minute orientation also is open to all community members, including those whose loved ones may be in the care of other hospitals.

ARU's intensive program of multi-disciplinary rehabilitation services (including speech, occupational and physical therapy) is unique to Sonoma County and the region, and serves survivors of stroke, traumatic injury and other conditions that may cause temporary or permanent impairment. Patients and their families experience rehabilitation under the expert supervision of in-house therapists while patients are still hospitalized and in the care of a multi-disciplinary clinical team. That team coaches them in preparing for and adjusting to ongoing recovery outside the hospital.

By offering this class, titled "What to Expect When You or a Loved One is Recovering from Stroke," the ARU nursing team and fellow clinical leaders who supervise care of stroke patients seek to:

1) Enable patients, their family members and the community to understand how Acute Rehabilitation services benefit them, as part of the continuum of their care.

2) Prepare stroke patients, their loved ones and caregivers early on, for a smoother recovery once patients have transitioned back to their homes.

3) Give patients, family members and other caregivers a head start in some of the training needed to help patients resume and maintain their daily living routines (hygiene, mobility, etc).

"Rehabilitation works best when stroke survivors, their families and health care providers work together as a team," said Alina Matei, RN, an ARU nurse and Stroke Orientation program leader. "Within three days of a patient's discharge to home, they'll receive additional counseling from us about post-hospitalization routines – including nutrition, prevention or management of diabetes, and blood pressure monitoring. We aim to begin earlier in patients' recovery to start educating them, so when they return home they don't feel overwhelmed."

Stroke Program Clinical Coordinator Christo Brockway, RN, MS, HCA, will join Alina Matei in presenting the class on July 25. They will teach attendees about stroke prevention and treatment, recognizing stroke symptoms, and patient/family/caregiver support. Whether a stroke survivor or family member has received support at Santa Rosa Memorial or through any other hospital, all are welcome at this free orientation. Optional tours of Memorial's Acute Rehabilitation Unit will be offered in conjunction with the class.

The first orientation session will take place Wednesday, July 25, 7-8:30 p.m. at Santa Rosa Memorial's conference room B, just off the main hospital lobby. For more details and to RSVP, contact Alina Matei, RN, at Alina.Matei@stjoe.orgor (707) 228-7778.

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