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September 9, 2009 > New Outpatient Rehabilitation Center Offers Expanded Services

New Outpatient Rehabilitation Center Offers Expanded Services

The Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center recently moved to a new facility located close to Washington Hospital at 39141 Civic Center Drive, Suite 120, in Fremont. The spacious, 5500 square-foot facility was designed specifically to meet the needs of patients undergoing outpatient orthopedic physical therapy and/or occupational therapy. In addition, the facility provides a wider array of services offered through the new Legacy Strength Training Program.

"At its former location, the Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center averaged about 950 patient visits per month," says Senior Director of Ambulatory Care Services Michael Engle. "With this beautiful new facility, we now have a greater capacity to serve more people, providing patients with the most up-to-date therapeutic services to help them to regain physical functions that have been lost through injury or surgery."

New Strength Training Program

"We added the Legacy Strength Training Program as an ideal adjunct to our physical therapy and occupational therapy services," Engle notes. "The program is designed to help clients build up their body strength after completing regular physical therapy. In some cases, physicians also may recommend this type of program to build a patient's strength prior to surgery."

Unlike the center's physical and occupational services, the Legacy Strength Training Program does not require a physician referral. Clients work one-on-one with an experienced athletic trainer to build body strength through low-weight, high-intensity exercises.

Clients in the Legacy Strength Training Program generally come to the center two or three times a week for workouts lasting approximately 30 minutes. Fees range between $40 to $45 per visit, depending on how many sessions the client requests. The center is working on being able to receive health insurance reimbursement for patients who would benefit clinically from strength training services.

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Physical therapy patients at the center follow an individualized treatment plan under the supervision of certified physical therapists and physical therapy assistants.

"We treat patients with back, arm, leg, knee and neck problems, as well as people with work-related injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress injuries and fractures," says Lead Physical Therapist Sharmi Mukherjee. "We also work with patients after surgeries for hip and knee replacements or back surgery. We use the latest equipment - including electrical stimulation and ultrasound - and proven therapy techniques such as Pilates-based exercises."

Mukherjee notes that the physical therapy staff at the center is encouraged to take continuing education courses to keep up with the latest techniques. "Some of us recently completed training in the proper taping techniques for sports injuries and following surgery, which we have been practicing with a lot of success," she explains. "Studies show that proper taping can help promote faster healing.

"Our goal is to get patients back to their former condition prior to injury or surgery as soon as possible," Mukherjee adds. "We also instruct patients in how to continue their rehabilitation after physical therapy with a home exercise program. The new strength training program is ideal for many patients who have reached their physical therapy goals but still need to continue exercising to build their strength from head to toe, not just in specific areas. Some clients can really benefit from supervised strength training. It helps encourage them to push themselves without risking re-injury."

Occupational Therapy - Hand Therapy

The occupational therapists at Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center help patients recover their ability to perform the tasks of everyday living, such as dressing and feeding themselves, with a special emphasis on hand therapy.

"We often have hand patients work with the center's occupational therapists - and sometimes physical therapists - before considering surgery," says Dr. Prasad Kilaru, a hand and plastic surgeon and medical director of the Outpatient Wound Care Clinic at Washington Hospital. "In some cases, the patient may be able to delay surgery or avoid it altogether."

Most of the occupational hand therapy is post-operative, however. One aspect of post-operative treatment is to create customized splints to immobilize the hand and/or wrist until it heals sufficiently to begin therapy. "There are not many occupational therapists in the area who are experienced in splinting," Kilaru says. "Our therapists have specialized training and expertise, though, and they take precise measurements and create specialized splints according to the physician's orders.

"Many doctors and therapists don't recognize how intricate the movements of the hand are," he continues. "If there are a dozen things you can do to help restore hand function, most physical therapists might know four of them. Our occupational therapists would know all of the nuances of issues that can arise."

Kilaru notes that specific hand therapy treatments would depend on the injury or problem being treated. "One aspect of therapy might be nerve desensitization to alleviate pain," he explains. "Therapy also might entail 'work-hardening' techniques to re-train the hand to perform the work it used to do."

For more information about services offered at the Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center - including the new Legacy Strength Training Program, call (510) 794-9672.

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