“Westborough is not a traditional hospital setting; there’s a really different vibe here. If you have to go to rehabilitation, this is the place to be.”
-Leah Carlin, Director of Rehabilitation Services @ Whittier Health Network’s Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital-Westborough
Centrally located in the Worcester area and serving communities across New England, Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital-Westborough is a dynamic Whittier Health Network facility that works with a diverse array of people. With an age range from 16 to over 100, these patients are recovering from strokes, elective surgery complications, limb amputations, neurological injuries, or traumatic or other life-changing events. Throughout the rehabilitation process, Whittier’s therapists ensure their patients can restore the skills, confidence, and independence that people need to return to a satisfying life as quickly as possible.
Unusual to the area, the hospital offers five different levels of care for recovering patients:
- Long-Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH) for medically complex rehabilitation
- Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF)
- Transitional Care Unit (TCU) for sub-acute care
- Outpatient rehabilitation services for both pediatric and adult patients
- Home Health Care
The Westborough team offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech/communication therapy across all these areas. The team maintains consistent communication with all departments to ensure the best treatment plan for each patient is implemented. Their collaborative approach to individual recovery is genuinely unique to Whittier Health Network. Other highlights at Westborough include the hospital’s back and spine program, part of a research-driven initiative with physicians from New England Baptist Hospital that strives to help patients reduce back pain without surgery. Westborough is also certified in LSVT BIG, an intensive treatment to help people with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions. This treatment assists with walking, balance, and other activities of daily living and LSVT LOUD, which trains people with Parkinson’s to use their voice at a more normal loudness level while speaking at home, work, or in the community.
“What’s great is that all five levels of care are under one roof,” Leah says. “It’s a continuum of care from admission to formal discharge, and there’s communication across all departments, so there’s rarely a delay in services. You’re not waiting to go to the next step of recovery in a new place here.”
Leah Carlin has been a part of the Whittier Health Network since 2012. Leah obtained her Master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, and became a board-registered and certified occupational therapist in 2006. Responsible for both inpatient and outpatient services at Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital-Westborough, she manages the daily operations of the physical, occupational, and communication therapy departments.
One significant way that Westborough stands out, in Leah’s opinion: “We spend a lot of time getting to know the patient here,” she says emphatically. “We want to know what they were doing before their life-changing event. That helps us get creative to help them get back home, living as independently as possible. The reward is that we get to see dramatic gains in a short time. So, many patients go from not doing much physically to living independently, safe, and happy.”
“Some people have their whole life ahead of them,” Leah explains. “For others, it’s their last chance to get home one more time or do what they want. Being with us, it’s one of the shortest pieces of their recovery, this limited time that we work with them, but it’s the most important part. We work hard to maximize every day they have with us.”
“It’s challenging, but it’s so, so rewarding.”