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New Ulm Medical Center

Change remains in the air at rehabilitation institute

A host of new programs and expanded services have marked the year since the physical medicine department at the New Ulm Medical Center became the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - New Ulm.

Danielle Mueller, a physical therapist with Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - New Ulm, works with patient Brian Fischer at a recent appointment. The physical medicine department at New Ulm Medical Center became Sister Kenny a year ago. The change brought new opportunities, resources and programs to the staff and patients in the department.

More changes are in store for the months ahead, according to Deb Beatty, a physical therapist and the department manager.

"We already had a great staff that was offering excellent rehabilitation services to the community," Beatty said. "By becoming a Sister Kenny site, we were able to get access to the best programs, research and support for our staff and our patients," she added.

"New programs for 2011 may include expanding the existing cancer rehabilitation service, expanding pediatric services and developing new exercise programs for older adults," she said.

The Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute is part of the Allina Hospitals & Clinics system and is considered to be a leading provider of rehabilitation services in the upper Midwest. The institute is named after Sister Elizabeth Kenny, an Australian nurse whose contributions to the field of muscle rehabilitation helped establish the foundations of modern day physical therapy.

NUMC officials note that Sister Kenny's programs and services, including access to the most up-to-date physical rehabilitation practices, have allowed the hospital to offer the community the type of rehabilitation that would normally be available only at a large, regional medical center.

"Sister Kenny is anxious to support continuing education and research opportunities for our staff, which allows us to bring the latest evidence-based treatments to our patients," Beatty said. "It's a two-way street. We can share our innovations with the other Sister Kenny sites, and they can share theirs with us. Everyone wins."

As part of the institute's comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation program, several new programs that benefit the community have launched in the past year, including:

  • ImPACT, which checks for evidence of concussions in local student athletes. By early April, 706 baseline tests and 19 post-injury tests had been done.
  • PEP, a program aimed at preventing knee injuries among girls' varsity soccer and youth basketball teams.
  • RunSMART, an injury prevention program that has helped area runners get back on track after an injury and has helped others learn how to prevent running injuries.

When all the changes first began, Beatty recalled, the therapy staff was a little apprehensive about making the switch, but she said the transition proved to be much easier than they'd anticipated.

"Change is hard, but the leadership and support provided by Sister Kenny has made the transition a pleasure," she said. "Looking back over one year, I would not hesitate to make the change again."

For more information on the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - New Ulm, call 507-217-5173.

Source: Health Edition, spring 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Beatty, physical therapist, department manager, Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - New Ulm
First Published: 05/15/2011
Last Reviewed: 05/15/2011