A big move - LMH Health Therapy

Published on October 26, 2021

A big move - LMH Health Therapy Service

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Struck by tragedy twice, Doug and his family have much to be thankful for this year. After recovering from a spinal cord injury in 2015, Doug suffered a massive stroke on Thanksgiving 2019. Two years later, he's now able to walk and his speech is improving, thanks in part to the generous support of the Falling Forward Foundation.

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LMH Health has vacated the former South Campus building and with that change, the physical therapy team at that location has moved to 6th and Maine. Jaye Cole, the senior director of physical therapy and rehab said though the team has moved, they still offer all the same incredible services. The only major difference you may ask? Space!

“At our new location at 6th and Maine, we have doubled the amount of space that we had at the South Campus,” Cole said. “This not only allows us more space to move and treat our patients, but allows us a space to grow into and ultimately grow our adult and more specifically, our pediatric therapy department.”

The same great staff that you know and love have made the move with the clinic to their new location. At this time, the clinic does not plan to introduce any new equipment, processes or services. The focus will be on enjoying the new, larger space and focus on expansion plans for pediatric therapy.

“We are growing and that is extremely exciting,” Cole said. “We will continue to look forward to the growth and serving our community better and better each day.”

Growth for pediatric therapy

In addition to the larger space and easy access on the first floor, pediatric therapy has claimed its own, separate space at 6th and Maine. Although the department has only recently moved to their new location, they are already receiving positive feedback from parents and families about the new accommodations.

“Families with children have different needs than adult therapy patients,” said Laura Bennetts, LMH Health rehab manager. “Our space and reception area is much more kid-friendly than the clinical setting of a hospital, which can be stressful and scary for children.”

When visiting the clinic, Bennetts recommends that parents use the large parking space available on the northwest side, enter through the northwest door and walk to the pediatric therapy clinic in room 110.

As opposed to medical exam rooms, the pediatric therapy clinic has a combination of open space and classrooms, amenities like child-sized chairs, mats and colorful equipment, and tall windows to let in natural light.

“We really want the children to look forward to coming here,” said Bennetts.

Comprehensive care for pediatric patients

Besides its new, welcoming atmosphere, pediatric therapy at LMH Health stands out for its quality, comprehensive care. They offer all three forms of therapy – physical, occupational and speech – to patients aged anywhere from infants to young adults.

Each therapy type addresses a range of conditions and behaviors. For example, Caroline Hale, pediatric speech therapist for LMH Health, is equipped to address issues with feeding, such as sensory issues with food textures or difficulties swallowing or breastfeeding, to articulation conditions, which includes usage of words, volume and even social aspects like turn-taking.

Pediatric Patient at LMH Health Therapy Services“Early intervention is really important for addressing communication barriers,” said Hale. “What might seem like a behavioral issue, such as throwing a tantrum or refusing to eat, might actually be a response to not being able to communicate.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many children from being in school or starting school, meaning some children have had little to no opportunity to be in a group setting and socialize with others. This can make it even more challenging for them to adjust to communicating with peers.

As for physical therapy, LMH Health’s pediatric physical therapist, Karen Ely, has 28 years of experience in pediatrics and is the only outpatient pediatric PT in Lawrence. Ely sees patients with a variety of diagnoses from infants with tight neck muscles to patients recovering from surgery or experiencing pain or coordination issues and patients with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, or rare genetic disorders.

Ely truly values the personal relationships she develops with parents and patients. In some cases, she has worked with patients from their infancy to young adulthood.

“I love seeing the kids make progress,” said Ely. “Every goal they make and skill they achieve is something new to them, so it is really exciting. There is never dull moment.”

Ely especially enjoys involving parents in the patients’ treatments, such as suggesting exercises to work on at home with their child. That way, the parents feel like they are directly helping their child develop, and Ely always notices the patient’s improvement from doing their “homework.” If the patient is old enough, Ely will give them a sticker chart to keep track of their own progress so they too feel involved in their development.

Pediatric therapy’s mission

After receiving a referral from a doctor or school therapist, parents can bring their kids to the pediatric therapy clinic for treatment. The pediatric therapists utilize skill testing to observe and understand the root of certain behaviors. The therapists then work with the parents to create and prioritize measurable goals for the patient which lead to visible and tangible improvements.

“Our philosophy of care is to think functionally and holistically when observing and treating our patients. Our intention is to help our patients develop life skills by thinking about how their behaviors affect their actions and how we can address these behaviors to improve the overall quality of life for both the patients and their families,” said Bennetts.

Pediatric therapy at LMH Health provides a convenient, local option for families, allowing them to make shorter, repeated visits instead of long journeys to Kansas City or Topeka. Patients are able to receive multiple therapy services at once, saving parents numerous, long trips to the hospital.

“It feels good to know that we have no restrictions when it comes to seeing patients,” said Bennetts. “We really hope to become that local option for people to come to and receive life-changing care.”

Isabel Ashley is an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at LMH Health, which is a major sponsor of Lawrence Journal-World’s health section.

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