In early February, PeaceHealth Therapy and Wellness began offering care in the building once occupied by United Family Medicine. This move is an exciting and much appreciated one for many Sedro-Woolley patients.
Outpatient therapy services including physical, occupational, and speech therapies used to be conducted in one of the inpatient wings of PeaceHealth United General Medical Center, which will be converted to an inpatient rehabilitation unit.
“It was never really set up in the classic outpatient clinic style,” explains Michael Hampton, MPT, and director of rehabilitation services at PeaceHealth. “It didn’t have a very large gym. It had a lot of different rooms and was kind of chopped up.”
But now PeaceHealth therapists are able to offer these services in a newly remodeled space with more room and options. “It is a huge difference. It’s more user-friendly for the patients,” says Kenny Burke, MPT/ATP and manager of rehabilitation services for PeaceHealth.
Patients, who once had to navigate hospital hallways to find the clinic, now have a much easier time with the more open space. The new building also has parking right out front – helpful for all – and especially those recovering from injuries.
Therapists in this facility offer a full range of treatments including those for neurologic conditions, orthopedic injuries and post-operative orthopedic needs, lymphedema, vestibular rehabilitation, speech and swallow therapy, driver safety assessment and more.
Similar to the services already offered in Bellingham, the facility boasts what is called a “joint gym,” which is a model that allows clients to meet in a group setting to work on exercises with the help of a trained physical therapist and physical therapist assistant. This group dynamic can encourage a sense of community support as new patients see and interact with those further along the treatment path. They often bond together and offer encouragement toward success. “It’s been a really nice model for the post-op orthopedic patients,” Hampton says. Patients still see and spend treatment time with their primary physical therapist, as well.
A Whole-Care Plan to Recovery
One of the primary things that sets the PeaceHealth Therapy and Wellness apart is that it offers three modalities. “One of the advantages we have is having all three disciplines – physical, occupational, and speech therapy – under one roof,” Hampton says.
This allows therapists to take an interdisciplinary approach to the needs of their clients. People/Persons with neurologic conditions, stroke, multiple sclerosis or a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, in particular – may need a range of therapies from each of these primary modalities. With willing therapists who work together, these needs can be integrated into a whole-care plan. This important idea makes a measurable difference in the lives of patients.
For example, Hampton tells of a patient that had come in after a stroke. The patient entered care using a wheelchair, with right-side weakness, no functional use of their right hand, and was nonverbal.
“A fairly dense, significant stroke,” Hampton explains. “But they worked, over the course of nine months, with all three disciplines.” By the time the patient left therapy, they were again speaking in full sentences and using only a cane to walk. The patient had also regained use of their right hand for “Activities of Daily Living” as the therapists call them, such as brushing teeth and hair, and fastening clothing.
Since these therapists are PeaceHealth employees, they often see patients in the hospital after surgery or injury and can then continue care once patients transfer to outpatient, allowing for that all-important continuity. They work with the physicians, so communication is fast and clear. “We don’t do therapy in isolation,” says Burke. “Because we are multi-disciplinary and because we have such close proximity with those that refer to us, we’re not doing therapy in a silo.”
Extending Care Beyond Their Doors
PeaceHealth Therapy and Wellness care extends beyond their own doors.
“We’re really supportive of what’s happening at PeaceHealth United General Medical Center, as well as what’s happening in the community,” says Burke.
The name itself is a clue to these dual complimentary facets. “Therapy,” Burke adds, is meant to “support existing hospital programs” such as the inpatient rehab program that’s moving down in July, the swing bed program, the oncology program, the orthopedic program, and the neurology clinic.
On the wellness side are programs like the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program, which sends female therapists into schools to teach and encourage women entering STEM fields. In fact, they recently were invited to participate in the program at Skagit Valley College which included 400 school aged women who are taking part in the STEM program.
Also included in wellness programs are health fairs and other community-minded efforts to bring good health encouragement and education out of the clinic and into our community.
Because they are a part of the PeaceHealth network of care, PeaceHealth Therapy and Wellness accepts all forms of insurance, including Medicaid. “We take patients regardless of their ability to pay and regardless of insurance,” adds Hampton.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the clinic at 360-856-7242 or visit the PeaceHealth Therapy and Wellness website.
PeaceHealth Therapy and Wellness
2061 Hospital Dr., Sedro-Woolley