The afternoon brought us to two different places. The first was North Memorial Medical Center. It is one of four Level 1 Trauma centers in the state. The others are HCMC, Regions and Mayo. The second visit was to the Courage Center.
At North Memorial we visited several areas of the hospital. They have an extensive medical library and showed us the access to several medical databases. We visited the Trauma Program and Injury Prevention Program. We had a quick tour of the Emergency Room area and then a visit to their Joint Replacement Center. It was interesting to see the various programs in the hospital. The one that I found fairly interesting was the Joint Replacement Center. They have started a program that has increased the results and reduced the length of stay for the vast majority of patients. What is the secret? Education and communication! There is a pre-op education class about what to expect, all in an effort to reduce the unknown. There is also education for the patient’s family. Three to four months later, patients are invited to return for a follow-up breakfast. Here is where the hospital gets feedback about what went well, what didn’t, etc. And they also have group physical therapy that occurs in the center. As a result, patients have very positive remarks regarding this program.
The Injury Prevention program also sounded interesting. There are several programs that were mentioned: child passenger safety, water safety, a life jacket program on Lake Minnetonka, button battery safety, pedestrian safety, and NW Safe Kids Coalition. There are also efforts to pass social host laws. They are fairly new and aim to prevent adults from hosting parties for underage kids using various substances.
The Courage Center was a very quick visit. We were able to see their driver program. They determine whether someone can drive. There are vehicles that are outfitted with various gadgets and adaptations for handicapped people to drive. It’s amazing how this can be done. They also will teach people how to drive as well as do the assessments. Ultimately it is the doctor’s responsibility to inform the state about a persons inability to drive. The Courage Center informs the doctor of their assessment.
The shop services was quite unique. They build things to help individuals with specific needs. There was a woman who lost the use of her hand after a stroke. She loved to knit. The shop services came up with a contraption that has allowed her to knit using one hand. Many of the requests that they have are one-of-a-kind types of apparatuses.
The thing that makes Courage Center different is its continuum of care. They have transitional rehabilitation services, therapy services, independent living programs, and work and learning programs. There are a huge number of volunteers. The man who spoke with us at the end was one of their volunteers. He was someone who had once needed the services of the Courage Center. He had a brain tumor that was removed and in the process, his brain wasn’t communicating with his body about how to walk. There is a warm pool at the Courage Center that is kept at 92 degrees. Brad used this pool to learn to walk again. That pool alone gets 70,000 uses per year.
You’ve got to watch this. Our homework for going to the Courage Center was to watch this video. The Courage Center is all about helping people with disabilities live as normal and independent as they wish.