Rehab Pool Success – Q&A with War Memorial Hospital

War Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center in Sault Ste. Marie, MI uses a multidisciplinary approach designed to alleviate pain, restore function and improve mobility through individualized rehabilitative programs. They installed their SwimEx 1000 T rehab pool in 2008 when building a new state-of-the-art facility.

Physical therapist Nikki Brown ATC/PTA spoke to us in 2018 about how they maximize their rehab pool for successful outcomes and a positive ROI.

Q: Why did you get a rehab pool?

A: At the time we were using the local hotel pool. Based on the growing need we saw for this service, we knew we could run a therapy pool for 8-10 hours a day. The therapy pool also gives our patients who may not be able to tolerate land-based therapy and exercise an opportunity to improve mobility without gravity hindering their movement.

Q: What conditions do you treat?

A: We are a full-service outpatient clinic and treat clients of every age. The most common conditions we treat in the water are joint replacement, various post-surgical patients, and back pain. We also see patients for strokes, fibromyalgia, shoulder pain, and neck rehabilitation.

Q: How many aquatic therapy clinicians do you have on staff?

A: We have two full time clinicians. We see patients every 15 to 30 minutes from 8am-5:30pm. Each of us treats an average of 10 patients each day, accommodating 20-25 patients/day in our rehab pool.

Q: Why did you choose SwimEx?

A: Our top three reasons for choosing the SwimEx 1000 T were the different floor depths, the current, and the ability to get more versatility from a small pool than we would from a regular sized pool.

rehab pool war memorial hospital

Q: What are the benefits of different floor depths?

A: We treat a lot of diagnoses. The variable depths give us the flexibility to offer different exercises for each of our patient’s specific treatment goals. We can achieve non-weight bearing exercises in the deep wells and use the shallow area in the same session.

Q: How do you use the water current?

A: The current lets us accurately measure outcomes. It has 99 different speeds. At each speed the resistance remains constant from one session to the next. This means we can measure progress as we increase the resistance in order to record a patient’s progress. This is extremely important for insurance reimbursement.

When a patient begins, we can choose to utilize the current or not use it right away. We can program the current based on the individual’s ability and tolerance. Another great benefit is that a patient can see their own progress. This is a great motivator that helps them continue their treatment.

Q: Are you experiencing a positive ROI?

A: Since we installed the SwimEx rehab pool, our hydrotherapy practice has been non-stop. We live in a small community of about 20,000 people and patients come from all over, some drive up to 30 miles for pool time. Our initial goal was for the pool to pay our monthly lease. The pool paid for lease and quickly paid for itself. The return on investment for us has been significant.

Q: What do patients say?

A: We have so many success stories. One of our regular back patients loves it so much he’s hoping to get a SwimEx for his home to maintain his back health. One of my favorite stories is about a patient who has muscular dystrophy. When she uses the pool, she says it’s her “normal time”.

I always tell people that when you’re in the pool, you’re only limited by your imagination.

~ Authored by Liz Lecomte

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