The Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Physical Therapy Department has seen some changes this year. The retirement of Mary Lou Wright after 43 years shifted former assistant manager Emily King into the lead role in April 2018.
By June, Jessica Judware joined the PT team to fill the assistant director position. That solidified the four-person group that guides inpatients and outpatients through physical therapy evaluations and treatments. Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) Sherry Stevens and Administrative Assistant Ronalyn Kassel work side by side with King and Judware to work with patients to build their strength, dexterity, balance and in some cases, speed.
Physical therapy patients are a varied bunch. Some make one visit to PT, others are seen for a much longer time period. Regardless of the ailment or injury, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital’s Physical Therapy Department is prepared to handle strains, pains, recoveries from surgeries and illness, balance issues and more.
“Many patients and providers don’t realize that vestibular therapy is within a physical therapist’s scope of practice,” said King. “That means we can work with patients to abate dizziness, sometimes in just one or two treatments.”
At the Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home, another team of four works as part of an interdisciplinary team to coordinate an effective rehabilitation program. This program, unlike others in the region, offers services seven days a week. The goal for JBR: help patients and residents achieve their goals and return safely to the community.
“Our team provides a bridge from hospital to home,” said Troy Flanagan, director. “We play a very important role in restoring function, maintaining function and preventing declines to allow client to be able to function at a maximum practicable level, which carries over to improving quality of life.”
Physical Therapists at JBR include Flanagan, Assistant Director Mary Kate Bockhahn, Nancy Stang and Danielle Krotz.
“It is rewarding to see the smile on patients’ faces when they meet their goals and return home or do something they never thought they could do again,” Flanagan continued. “We have an impact on their life.”
October is National Physical Therapy Month, recognizing the important role that PT plays in relieving pain, increasing mobility and improving quality of life. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a quickly growing field, with about 240,000 PT positions in the United States. We are fortunate to have eight of them here at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home.