Necolle Morgado-Vega, DO, is a physiatrist—a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R)—who focuses on providing nonsurgical solutions for problems with the muscles, joints, and nerves.
Dr. Morgado-Vega is the medical director of the Yale New Haven Hospital Rehabilitation and Wellness Center at the Milford campus of Bridgeport Hospital. The unit is for acute rehabilitation and accepts patients from throughout the Yale New Haven Health System and other hospitals.
She treats a broad range of conditions, from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries to neurological and orthopaedic issues. “I care and treat for patients who have suffered various injuries, including stroke, trauma, amputations, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and multiple sclerosis,” she explains. “I also treat post-op patients after spinal surgeries, joint replacements, and fractures.”
Dr. Morgado-Vega cares for young adult to elderly patients who have not recovered enough to go home from the hospital. “I supervise their physical, occupational, and speech therapy, manage their pain, and monitor their overall recovery,” she says.
With pain management, Dr. Morgado-Vega takes a conservative approach. “I don’t rely solely on medications,” she says. “I like to use conservative methods such as stretching, strengthening exercises, massage, relaxation and postural techniques before starting medication.”
The average length of stay in her unit is 14 days, sometimes 21 days for stroke patients. “Our goal is for patients to return home, as functionally independent as possible,” she says.
Much of her patient care involves providing support and encouragement. “I let patients know acute rehab is the beginning on their recovery, focusing on making them stronger and healthier,” she says. “I spend a lot of my time in patients’ rooms talking and listening to them and providing support. After an injury, disease, illness, sickness, or trauma, our goal is to improve their function and quality of life."