Acute Rehab Reunion planned for Wednesday, September 20

Release Date: 09/08/2017

Alyssa Saucier of Caribou, a former patient in TAMC’s Acute Rehab unit, has regained her speech and mobility through therapy and now volunteers each week in the hospital’s rehabilitation therapy department.

Aroostook County  -  The staff in TAMC’s Acute Rehabilitation unit work closely with their patients over a more extended period of time than most inpatients, making them seem more like family.  Just as a family may plan a reunion to bring relations together for a chance to reconnect and celebrate, the rehabilitation staff at TAMC is planning just such a reunion to celebrate National Rehabilitation Awareness Week.  The Acute Rehab Reunion is planned for Wednesday, September 20.
“I love our reunion as much as I love when patients return to our unit to visit us,” says Heather Caron, manager of TAMC’s Rehabilitation Services. “It is a great feeling to see their success; this is a real ‘connect to purpose’ opportunity for us.  Our unit is a true team that is focused on our patients and their goals.  We have a saying, ‘Your progress is our passion.’ and I think that sums it up perfectly.” 
The reunion, which begins at 4:00 pm, will feature a rehab experience panel discussion and celebrations of accomplishments. 
One patient that will be a part of the celebration is Alyssa Saucier of Caribou.  Saucier had surgery to remove a tumor from her brain in January at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.  She was diagnosed with the pediatric tumor at age 17.  It grew to the size of a softball before it was removed.
“After everything I went through, I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want to deal with hospitals anymore,” recalls Saucier.  “When I found out that TAMC had an acute rehab unit so I could at least be closer to home, that made a big difference to me.  I was having trouble with my speech, and my balance was out of whack, so I really did need the intensive therapy possible in an inpatient unit.”
According to Saucier, she really liked the therapists at TAMC and she credits them for their role in her recovery.  She spent about two weeks in the Acute Rehab unit at the hospital. That experience has now led her to start volunteering in the rehabilitation department at TAMC. She helps out one day a week in the outpatient environment.  Not only does it allow her to help others, but it is helping to prepare her for the career she plans to pursue in healthcare.
“I really want to do this job, to do hands-on work with patients,” says Saucier.  She plans to become a CNA (certified nurse assistant) in the near future and perhaps to continue on to become a nurse. 
“It is evident that Alyssa is passionate about helping others.  I am impressed with her resiliency and her motivation to continue pursuing her goals of working in the medical field.  Her volunteer work is encouraging her to work on her personal goals as well as benefiting the patients.  It’s a win-win all around,” says Renee Guerrette, outpatient rehab care coordinator for physical therapy.   
Guerrette goes on to explain the role that therapists play for patients like Saucier.
“Support is key for patients who are going through something as tremendous as Alyssa and her family did.  Their lives were turned completely upside down.  Having a supportive team that can encourage, educate and celebrate is an essential part of recovery.  This support is also helpful after structured rehabilitation has concluded.”
The Acute Rehab Reunion will celebrate the success of patients like Saucier, as well as celebrate the work of the therapists who make such a difference in their lives as part of National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, the week of September 17 - 23. 
TAMC offers the only inpatient acute rehabilitation unit north of Bangor.  It offers intensive therapy in the hospital setting not just for patients who have received care at TAMC but also for patients who have been treated downstate or out of state at larger medical centers and who want to return to The County to recover close to home.
If you or a family member has been a patient on TAMC’s Acute Rehabilitation Unit and would like to learn more about this reunion, please contact Heather Caron at 768-4083.
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