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If you blink, you might miss this five-bed unit on the sixth floor of the WakeMed Raleigh Campus. Though the WakeMed Neuro Care Unit lacks in square footage, it is the only one of its kind in the region. It’s highly committed and collaborative team fills an important gap in the care continuum for a special population of patients.
The unit’s core team, including Wing Ng, MD, medical director; Susan Gates, PT; Laurie Leach, PhD, program director; Linda Bell, LCSW, case manager; Karen Wilhelm, PhD, neuropsychologist; Carolyn Gregg, OTR/L; Christine Fernandini, RN, manager; Rachel Bliss, SLP, and a dedicated team of nurses and nurse techs offers hope to patients and families who “fall through the cracks” and cannot get the type of care they need before moving onto to the next stage of the care continuum.
Because the unit’s beds are designated as acute care, patients can be more medically unstable than patients in the Rehab Hospital. Dr. Ng, who is a physiatrist and certified in brain injury medicine, and the care team provide medical and therapeutic services to prepare patients for discharge to the Rehab Hospital, home or to an appropriate care facility. Core team members Carolyn Gregg, OT, and Susan Gates, PT, as well as neuropsychologist Karen Wilhelm, PhD, have been with WakeMed’s Neuro Care program for 20 years.
Patient and family centered care is alive and well in the Neuro Care Unit, where family members help WakeMed caregivers determine if a patient’s emotions and behaviors are due to the brain injury or just typical of the patient’s usual functioning. In turn, the care team works with families to help them understand the “new normal” and their role in helping their loved one to be as independent as possible.
Neuro Care Occupational Therapist Carolyn Gregg says it best: "Neuro Care gives patients a coordinated medical and therapy program to encourage recovery, while families receive some much needed time, information, and skills to transition from crisis mode toward the next chapter.”
Wing Ng, MD, medical director of the WakeMed Neuro Care Unit, is one of the first approximately 300 physicians in the United States to receive subspecialty certification in brain injury medicine from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Ng is one of just three physicians in North Carolina to have this certification.
Karen Wilhelm, PhD, ABN, a clinical neuropsychologist with WakeMed, has been appointed to a two-year term as president of the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology. Dr. Wilhelm specializes in adult neuropsychology, with special interests in acquired brain injury, cerebrovascular accident and dementia.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610