"PT is a helping profession..."

Tom Kaluzny walks through the halls of the new Rehabilitation Services office on the lower floor of Providence Mount Carmel Hospital. Doctors stop in to talk with receptionists and refer patients for physical therapy. It’s just another day on the job for hospital employees and not necessarily the scene of great drama, but the fact that the doctors are actually able to walk to the office and confer with employees in rehabilitation is no small feat. Until March of this year, Mount Carmel’s rehabilitation services were located in the basement of the Town Center Building in downtown Colville. “We were there for about 27 years,” says Kaluzny. “It wasn’t a bad space, but we were always separated from the main hospital, plus we had a small amount of treatment space for our patients. This way, it is much easier for us to treat patients and build that rapport with them and their doctors.” With currently over 200 patients using rehabilitation services, the move has been a long time coming. The new space is 5,000 square feet with six treatment rooms that cater to patients from infancy all the way to senior citizens. There are seven physical therapists, with one occupational therapist and one speech therapist. They treat everything from joint skeletal and muscle injuries to stroke victims and even autism. A Balance Master, only one of three in Eastern Washington, is on hand to provide a computerized evaluation for the patient on their points of balance and what they can improve on during therapy. A swing hangs in the children’s therapy room, donated by the Children’s Miracle Network, that assists in treatment of autistic children. A full kitchen is available to help those who have suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury get back on the road to recovery and independence by relearning how to take care of themselves. “We also have plans to set up a medical massage program and a bowel and bladder program,” says Kaluzny. “Of course, the goal with any patient is to get them as close to functioning how they normally did before they sustained an injury, had a stroke, etc.” Other long-term goals include a therapy swimming pool heated at 94 degrees so arthritic patients can utilize it as well. Currently, aquatic physical therapy sessions are held at Benny’s Colville Inn pool. An Open House for the Providence Mount Carmel Rehabilitation Services will be Thursday, April 19 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend. “We do what we do because we love being able to work with people,” says Kaluzny. “Physical therapy is a helping profession. We’re very glad to be here to do that.”