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      New physical therapy clinic at VA, one of many improvements

      Vernon Haglund has been using the new satellite physical therapy clinic almost every day since his surgery. â??I had a broken leg; 14 breaks,â?? said Haglund. â??I feel the physical therapy is the thing that keeps me going.â??

      This new clinic is only one of a number of expansions of services the VA Medical Center is creating. â??In physical therapy, we had a lot of â??no-showsâ?? and one of the primary reasons for that was because they were having to be transported from the first floor Community Living Center, all the way up to the fifth floor, in patient elevators,â?? said Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitative Services, Jim Zeigler.

      This dilemma is what prompted the VA to open up a clinic on the same floor as the Community Living Center, which, for many of these patients, is just down the hall. â??Since we've started having the satellite clinic down on the first floor, we've seen a tremendous improvement with patients complying with their physical therapy,â?? said nurse practitioner, Robert Peterson. â??There was a lot of planning to this,â?? said physical therapist, Josh Early.â?? We had to figure out where we had the space for this, what kind of equipment was needed. It gave us a good opportunity to get all new up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment for our patients.â??

      And it's not just in physical therapy that there's been improvement; the audiology wing is seeing enhanced services, too. Consistent walk-in hours at their clinic have been added, freeing up patients from having to set up a scheduled appointment. Improved services in occupational therapy and speech pathology were other factors in the overall expansion.

      The staff said they're always working on ways to improve the care of their veterans. â??Being able to provide care to people who have protected our country and to make them happy is really why we're here,â?? Zeigler said. â??Believe me, I never liked working out before I got here, and now, I see thereâ??s a purpose,â?? Haglund said.