Causes of the Disease and How We are Helping
There are a number of reasons patients may develop complications from Lyme disease – untreated or undertreated infection, autoimmunity, and inflammation. If the disease is unrecognized in the early stages patients can develop late infection from Lyme. There are many strains of the Lyme bacterium and our current tests are inadequate, making diagnosis rely on clinical symptoms. The current 2 tiered diagnostic tests fail to catch early Lyme disease consistently. In a recent study by the experts at CDC, the current test failed to test positive in patients with early Lyme disease who had a confirmed erythema migrans rash, missing 69% of the individuals tested.
The current 2 tiered Lyme test also does not detect other species of tick borne Borrelia infection that are present in the US such as Borrelia miyamotoi, Borrelia lonestari, and Borrelia hermsii. Due to the current inadequacies of testing, patients are likely to develop symptoms of late Lyme Disease and injuries to multiple organ systems.
There are several theories on why patients remain ill. Some of the proposed mechanisms are persistent infection, where the spirochete might survive current antibiotic regimens and remain in the system, continuing to irritate the immune system. Other studies illuminate autoimmune dysregulation after an infection and research ongoing inflammation.
The Dean Center nurtures relationships with referring providers to help arrive at the most appropriate care plan and plan a compassionate and comprehensive, evidence based and patient centered care.
Approach to Care: What You Can Expect
As a patient of the Dean Center Tick Borne Illness Clinic you can expect to be evaluated by a dedicated clinician who specializes in developing treatment and rehabilitation plans for patients with chronic symptoms from Lyme and other tick borne illnesses. Many patients will receive a thorough clinical evaluation and health history, followed by therapeutic, supportive care and case management. Treatment possibilities include physical therapy, aquatic therapy, nutrition, behavioral health, pain management, restorative yoga, and others.
Clinic Location and Contact
The Dean Center outpatient clinic is located at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown. To make an appointment, please call 617.952.6220.
In addition to behavioral health counseling, the Dean Center offers several types of group support to assist patients in coping with the emotional challenges and stress of chronic illness. Guided by a mental health counselor with expertise in tick-related illness, the Dean Center offers the following at no charge:
- Bi-weekly patient support group
- Coping with tick-borne illness class
- Support and education for loved ones and caregivers
- A patient-guided Buddy system
- Ongoing seminars and support on mind/body medicine and pain relief
For inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dean Center is initiating novel research studies to further study and improve the rehabilitation of patients with Lyme disease and related tick borne illness. Research projects and collaborations are currently focused on pain, cognitive deficits, and the establishment of a longitudinal data set of Lyme Disease patients. Find out more about our ongoing research studies.
Case Management involves the coordination of care and identification of resources available in the community to address and meet the specific needs of each individual patient. Case managers serve as a patient advocate by directing effective communication between the patient and appropriate team members. They also assist with insurance issues and concerns, and coordinate home health services if appropriate.
The Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness has a dedicated case manager on its team who provides the following services, among others:
- Directs patients to Lyme literate providers and treatment centers that incorporate integrative/holistic approaches in conjunction with traditional medical management in the patient's geographical area
- Shares information on support and advocacy groups
- Provides resources and information regarding financial support and assistance
- Connects patients to nutritional services
Spaulding’s Outpatient Therapy Centers and the Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness physicians and clinicians provide expert rehabilitation care for patients with chronic illness and disability related to Lyme Disease, other tick born illnesses, and related tick borne co-infections.
Our clinicians use the latest treatments and technologies to help patients achieve their highest level of strength, endurance and function. Services include:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech-Language Therapy
- Use of Neuro-rehabilitation technologies
- Neuromodulation modalities for rehabilitation of cognitive function
- Functional activity training
- Aquatic Therapy
- Brace and orthotic clinics
- Custom anti-spasticity and prefabricated hand splinting
- Evaluation for equipment needs
- Safety assessments
- Case management services
- Mental Health Counseling services
- Collaboration with other specialties for appropriate timely referrals if needed