Therapy Department Grows with Therapists’ Interests
During a recent site visit to one of our contracted hospital locations, I marveled at the transformation that had occurred in this rehab department over the past 18 years of our partnership. It was erupting with activity between patients and therapists. When I worked as the OT at this location 17 years ago, we thought we were rocking with four therapists and now they have 12 clinicians!
So how did it grow? It started with the initial group of therapists developing programs they were passionate about: sports acceleration and sport injury rehab, wound care, women’s health and osteoporosis. The therapists became so busy with these specialty programs, we started recruiting additional staff. We also were fortunate that some local students chose therapy as their career path and wanted to return to their hometown. These new staff started exploring new programs that inspired them, and the spiral of growth continued to escalate.
With the expansion of staff and programs, it became inevitable to require more space. The original department had one room with four areas separated by “privacy” curtains, fitness center across the hall in the hospital that doubled as the therapy gym, and therapists documenting notes in three “study carrel” desks built into the wall. My desk was an afterthought — more specifically it was an old door the maintenance department cut and nailed to the wall.
Now the department has moved into a modern, community wellness center across the street from the hospital. The new rehab dept boasts more than 7000 square feet including a gym with state-of-the-art equipment, six private treatment rooms, wound care treatment area, pediatrics room, ADL kitchen and a therapy pool with private locker rooms. The wellness center includes a full fitness area with a multitude of classes for aerobics, spinning, and yoga; full-sized basketball court, walking track, aquatic center with a lazy river, slides and swim lanes. (It was a special bonus of my site visit to this location to bring my kids along to enjoy the aquatic center and fitness center while I had meetings with the rehab staff.)
While so much of the physical space and location of the dept have changed in the past 18 years, some important features remain constant. For example, the original team of a rehab director, two other clinicians and one of the support staff are still in place. Their focus on quality patient care, innovative treatment techniques, and scholarly activity continues to produce positive patient outcomes and an excellent reputation. They are “locals”, fully integrated into the community and well known for their professional skills and their involvement throughout the community.
So I guess it’s true. The more things change, the more they stay the same.