A New Addition to UW Health's Neuro Rehabilitation
When Kristin Caldera, MD, did her physical medicine and rehabilitation rotation in medical school, she saw her future. The mechanics of the body, especially the neuromuscular systems, intrigued her. After further study, she saw opportunities to help large groups of patients with neurological issues who needed special attention and decided to focus her practice on improving functionality for them.
Dr. Caldera brings a unique big-picture approach to patients with stroke, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, adult cerebral palsy, spina bifida, ALS and movement disorders. Coordinating various treatment plan elements is an essential part of her work.
"My work goes beyond physical therapy to encompass all elements that are part including medical, behavioral and psychological needs, as well as navigation of the care system itself," says Dr. Caldera. Her philosophy is that earlier and more comprehensive intervention can make a big difference for many patients.
Her process is to personalize their care with an in-depth evaluation of each individual and bringing in other disciplines such as physical and occupational therapy, psychiatry, speech and swallow therapy, neurology, neurosurgery and others as needed. Treatments for spasticity include rehabilitation programs, medications, botulinum toxin injections and intrathecal baclofen. Neurogenic bowel and bladder patients are also evaluated and treated.
Dr. Caldera addresses bracing and equipment needs such as orthotics and wheelchairs as essential parts of making life easier and improving function of these patients and making their lives easier. She works closely with primary care physicians as part of their overall care team to help those with chronic disabilities who need long-term care plans.
According to her, "I really enjoy working with these patients and taking this challenging journey with them. My key message is that in an overwhelming healthcare system, I would like to be an advocate and help them live their best life."