Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department offers comprehensive. multidisciplinary treatment for patients, with the aim of achieving the highest level of autonomy, functional capacity and quality of life, using therapeutic measures and technical support aimed at correcting or minimising the disability diagnosed.
Ours is a transversal department, meaning we collaborate with many other medical and surgical departments at the Hospital. Our ability to provide support in all healthcare areas guarantees coordinated care for patients throughout their stay. We are a reference centre in Catalonia for various highly complex processes (spinal cord injury, acquired brain damage, spina bifida, burns) and we also engage in teaching and research.
At the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, we collaborate directly with various other medical and surgical departments at the hospital and share multidisciplinary patient care units. We are involved in virtually all units that deal with rare illnesses.
At our Department, in addition to doctors specialising in physical medicine and rehabilitation, we also have physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, auxiliary technicians in nursing care, monitors and administrative staff. Teamwork is the defining feature of our specialty. Our multidisciplinary rehabilitation team also includes specialised nursing staff, an orthopaedic technician and a social health worker.
Our cross-cutting department consists of two main areas of care, community and tertiary: we assist patients in our catchment area but also those from elsewhere who need highly specialised care. We work in an acute hospital where increasingly complex cases are handled, and we aim to adapt to ensure hospital stays are as short as possible.
At the Neurorehabilitation Day Hospital, patients who have a neurological disability and need comprehensive rehabilitation treatment can receive it in a single place, and, if they do not require nursing care, they can sleep at home.
Our Department works in three main areas: Osteoarticular, Neurorehabilitation and Specific Pathologies.
Portfolio of services
- Spina bifida, congenital malformations that affect the spine, and Rett's syndrome in adults, and disorders of the nervous system that cause problems in the development of children.
- Osteoarticular rehabilitation (traumatology, orthopaedics and vertebral deformities)
- Vertebral Pain and Deformities Unit
Officially accredited as a CSUR centre of reference (Reference centres, departments and units), the Spinal Cord Injury Unit is a reference centre in Catalonia and the rest of Spain for the treatment of people who have suffered spinal cord injuries. We offer comprehensive care in cases of acute and subacute spinal cord injuries. We offer physiotherapy, occupational therapy, sphincter re-education, infiltration treatment with botulinum toxin, risk assessment of injuries caused by a blow or by diseases, assessment of support for sitting independently.
Neurological rehabilitation. We offer comprehensive, intensive care, where required, to patients with strokes, cranial traumatism or acquired brain damage in general. We offer treatments involving physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, swallowing disorders and neuropsychology. At the Day Hospital, we provide neurorehabilitation (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, swallowing disorders and neurorehabilitation). We apply rehabilitation techniques using virtual reality, and offer infiltration treatments using botulinum toxin.
- Child rehabilitation. We treat patients with neurological pathologies (caused before, during or after delivery), medical or traumatic pathologies, muscular pathologies, tumoural or orthopaedic pathologies, and multilevel surgery. We offer multidisciplinary care with neonatology, neuropaediatrics, neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, nutrition and neuropsychology. We have physiotherapy, occupational therapy and neuropedagogy, and we apply infiltration treatments with botulinum toxin. We have a Marfan Syndrome Unit.
- Cardiorespiratory rehabilitation (in adults and children). We offer respiratory rehabilitation with a special emphasis on the programme for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), lung transplants, cardiac rehabilitation for acute coronary syndrome, heart failure and physical activity programmes for moderate heart failure in collaboration with the Office of the Councillor for Health from Barcelona City Council and the Hospital's Cardiology Department.
- Pelvic floor. Care for mixed and urgent urinary incontinence, both in men and women, and individual treatment with instrumental techniques and exercises.
- Phoniatrics, speech therapy and swallowing disorders. This is the only unit of its kind in the public health system in Catalonia that covers all pathologies of language, voice, speech and hearing, as well as swallowing disorders. We perform early detection of childhood hearing loss in high-risk infants with the collaboration of the Otolaryngology Department (ENT) and the Neurophysiology - Evoked Potentials Department for children. Checks and monitoring of children with hearing loss, prescription of hearing aids, relationship with CREDA and participation in the rehabilitation programme for cochlear implants, to stimulate the auditory nerve, with the Otolaryngology Department (ENT). We use videolaryngostroboscopy and instrumental analysis of the voice.
- Burn rehabilitation. We offer comprehensive care to burns patients in close collaboration with the Burns Unit, part of the Plastic and Repair Surgery, as well as for transplant patients. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
- Rehabilitation of amputees. We provide care for amputees, of both upper and lower limbs, with the most appropriate, functional prostheses, and offer training in how to use them, both for children and adults.
- Rehabilitation in breast and lymphoedema pathologies. We provide comprehensive care for oncological patients, both during and after surgery to see how patients recover. We offer physiotherapy with techniques involving pressotherapy, manual lymphatic drainage, multi-layer compression, individual and group kinesiotherapy, Nordic walking and open group follow-up. We treat lymphoedemas, which are disorders of sensitivity, both in the upper limb and in the lower limb.
- Rehabilitation of facial paralysis. We offer care for peripheral facial paralysis of various causes from the acute phase, with physiotherapy and botulinum toxin infiltration techniques, where appropriate.
- Haemophilia rehabilitation unit. We offer specific care for patients with haemophilia or coagulopathy with multidisciplinary checks. We place special emphasis on prevention and/or treatment of joint conditions with haemophilia arthropathy.
- Rehabilitation of balance disorders. We apply specific physiotherapy treatment techniques, both individually and in groups.
- Unit for Assessment Tests Using Instruments. Functional respiratory tests, effort tests, isokinetic exercise analysis, gait study and vestibular tests (for balance disorders).
Vall d’Hebron is a pioneering centre in caring for patients with rehabilitation needs. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, now run by Dr. Ampar Cuxart, has become a point of reference, but at the beginning it was very different, as one of its first heads, Dr. Joan Plaja, recalls.
The former head of the Thoracic Surgery Department, Dr. Mercè Canela, recently retired, recalls the important evolution of the Department to become a leader in Spain and a lung transplant pioneer. A task made possible thanks to collaboration with professionals from other departments, an added value in the personal and team environment.
Rosalia Moure arrived at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in 1967. She spent her entire working life in the linen and laundry department of the Hospital. Rosalia Moure has witnessed the Hospital’s big transformations, from dictatorship to democracy and from analogue to digital systems.
Dr. Josep Sánchez de Toledo Codina, head of the Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Department, tells us about a Department that has laid the foundations for the specialism in Spain. He also remembers the evolution of transplants from haematopoietic stem cells and progenitors, from the beginning, buying the material at a shop in Barcelona city centre, to the more than 1,200 transplants that have now been performed.
Dr. Francesc Bosch, Head of the Haematology Department, talks about the complexity of the Department, which has turned Vall d’Hebron into a reference centre in haematology thanks to its commitment to transplants and the use of new treatments. The Clinical Trials Unit helps a lot, giving access to treatments for complex patients.
The Master's Degree in Biomedical and Translational Research is an official programme created to train researchers with the requisite combination of scientific knowledge and skills to contribute to the future success of biomedical research.
Fermín Fernández Álvarez, Porter Coordinator, explains the importance of the role these professionals play in the hospital. After 36 years at Vall d’Hebron, Fermín is a real master of the ways things are done. He says that a porter has to combine humility, discretion and safety with a single goal: that patients receive human and friendly treatment.
The constant search for excellence is part of Hospital Vall d’Hebron’s nature. The biggest hospital in Catalonia and the leader in many fields, headed since February 2015 by Dr. Vicenç Martínez Ibáñez, who has a close personal and professional relationship with the Hospital. Dr. Martínez Ibáñez says that if Vall d’Hebron did not exist, it would need to be invented. The current director trained at the hospital, where he was one of the protagonists of an historic moment: the first paediatric liver transplant in Spain. Now, he is committed to continuing this legacy and, always putting the patient first, achieving excellence across all staff.