Brooks Rehabilitation to Open Specialized Aphasia Center

Patient Experience

May 26, 2015

Brooks Rehabilitation is excited to announce that they have purchased a 10,000 square foot building to create Northeast Florida’s first dedicated center for the treatment of aphasia.

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to speak and understand others, but does not affect intelligence. It occurs in about two million Americans and is more common than Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. However, most people have never heard of it. The most common cause of aphasia is stroke (about 25-40% of stroke survivors acquire aphasia), but it can also result from head injury, brain tumor or other neurological causes. Those affected often suffer devastating lifelong consequences.

“Our therapists proposed the creation of the Aphasia Center based on unmet needs they were seeing in their patients. There are no comprehensive treatment facilities in northeast Florida or Georgia that can provide the intensive care and community-based learning that the 1 in 250 people living with aphasia need,” said Michael Spigel, President & COO of Brooks Rehabilitation. “This Center will continue care beyond traditional speech therapy, by combining both an intensive and community-based program for individuals with aphasia,” he continued.

In their rehabilitation hospital alone, Brooks treats over 700 patients who have survived a stroke each year, 300 of those with aphasia. After traditional therapies, a few patients seek services out-of-state for intensive aphasia treatment programs but most patients receive no additional therapies and thereby may never achieve their fullest potential.

When it opens, the Aphasia Center will offer a community-based recovery program that will focus on the development and enhancement of communication skills in a group-based environment. The program will be offered 3-4 days per week, 5 hours per day. In 2016, the Center will offer a more intensive, specialized speech-language therapy program that will provide both individual and small group therapy for 5 hours per day, 4 days per week.

This announcement comes at an appropriate time, during both national Better Speech & Hearing Month and Stroke Awareness Month. Rhonda Hand’s significant other, Travis Rhodes, suffered an ischemic stroke in 2007 and is affected by aphasia. “While he continues to improve every day, we know that more frequent, longer sessions make a difference in his ability to communicate more effectively.  Having the Brooks Aphasia Center this close to our home will greatly improve our quality of life,” said Rhonda. “Tarvin is eager and dedicated to getting better and has much to contribute to the conversations around us. We have such deep respect and admiration for the therapists who envisioned this Center, and are grateful to have access to the quality and expertise they bring to this part of the Southeast,” she continued.

Construction on the building located at 2700 University Blvd. W., Building 2, Jacksonville, FL 32217 will begin in late summer. The Center is projected to open in the fourth quarter of 2015. For more information on the Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center, please click here.

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