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Hospital therapy program to move upstairs, in-house


Brian O'Connor

Traveling physical therapists Janell Hayes, left, Edward Flamand, and Mindy Sherwood will face the challenge of building a physical therapy department from the ground up. The Medical Center plans to transition from contractor-provided services to a hospital-owned department the weekend of Nov. 15 and 16.

Clients of the Wrangell Medical Center's physical therapy program may notice a change in coordination with their physicians, as well as a change in their surroundings.

Physical therapy is moving from services provided by a contractor to a fully integrated department of the hospital, complete with a newly renovated activity and treatment space. Doctors and officials plan the transition for the weekend of Nov. 15 and 16, with contract services finishing out appointments on Nov. 14, and new appointments with the hospital-owned service starting the following Monday. The hospital's three contracted traveling physical therapists will undertake the challenge of building a hospital department from the ground up.

One of the three, Edward Flamand, said he enjoys the challenge.

"We're able to not so much make the facility work for us, but we're starting out from scratch," he said. "We're rethinking every piece of documentation we do from a patient and therapist standpoint. Rather than trying to use a form that's been passed along for many years, we're able to put in what's currently important to have in that document."

Some communication issues and the therapy gym's location in the medical center's basement will be better handled by the relocation and integration, Flamand added.

Submitted Illustration

A Computer-Assisted Drawing of the Wrangell Medical Center's new physical therapy location, which will move in to replace the former site of the Tideline Clinic on the hospital's first floor.

"It's not just the facility," he said. "It's the documentation process and the whole mindset, really."

Therapist Mindy Sherwood agreed.

"I don't know if some of the communication was as frequent as it will be now that we're right next door and part of the hospital," she said. "The doctors should be pretty seamless."

The facilities construction will entail renovating the former site of the Tideline Clinic on the first floor. Dust and spare lumber crowds the floor, as a series of narrow hallways becomes an open, inviting space full of physical therapy equipment. The setting will retain three private treatment rooms, but will include a new practice staircase and faux-hardwood floors.

Patients worried about the continuation of their appointments – though all three therapists stress they intend to maintain the level of service throughout the change, without interruption – can call 874-7168 for more information.


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