New UAB Medicine stroke rehab clinic offers unique one-stop shopping

New UAB Medicine stroke rehab clinic offers unique one-stop shopping

StrokeJoomlaXiaohua Zhou, M.D., and Chen Lin, M.D.The new UAB Medicine Stroke Recovery Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham will provide a unique opportunity for those recovering from a stroke to wrap the entire outpatient experience into one package. The multidisciplinary clinic offers the combined expertise of stroke neurologists with rehabilitation physicians and therapists so patients can have all their medical and rehabilitation needs met at one time in one place. The combination clinic is one of only a very few across the country and the only one of its type in the Southeast.

“Alabama is in the heart of the stroke belt, the region throughout the Southeast with the highest incidence of stroke in the nation,” said Chen Lin, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine. “Only a fraction of stroke survivors receive any rehabilitation after leaving the hospital. The Stroke Recovery Clinic encompasses the two medical disciplines most involved with treating stroke: the Department of Neurology and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.”

Patients referred to the clinic by their physician or by self-referral would typically be about two to three months post-stroke, when the acute injury is subsiding and the patient’s recovery has progressed to a point when rehabilitation can begin to be effective. 

“This clinic is designed to help the stroke patient transition from the acute inpatient injury setting to outpatient rehabilitation and begin their return to a normal life,” said Xiaohua Zhou, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “The clinic will be focused on improving quality of care and outcomes after stroke.”

Besides Lin and Zhou, the clinic will offer a full array of rehabilitation specialists, including speech, occupational and physical therapists. The clinic will also offer neuropsychology and social work services. This allows patients one convenient opportunity to be evaluated by multiple services all in one visit.

“There will also be opportunities to participate in research projects that will be looking for ways to enhance recovery after stroke,” Lin said. “This will range from UAB-specific studies to multicenter clinical trials. The goal of our research is to improve the function of patients after stroke and develop ways to determine how patients would benefit from new therapeutics.”

The Stroke Recovery Clinic, housed in the UAB Spain Rehabilitation Center, began seeing patients Jan. 24. Those interested in clinic appointments can call the Spain Rehabilitation Center access number at 205-934-4179.