Rehabilitation care includes a wide range of services that help you restore, retain, or improve skills and functionality that have been lost or impaired due to an illness or injury. These services may include physical, speech and/or occupational therapy, pulmonary or cardiac rehab, acupuncture, and pediatric rehab, available either while in the hospital or as an outpatient.
We caught up with Annalies De Wolf, Director of Rehabilitation Services at WhidbeyHealth to learn more about the breadth of Rehab services available at WhidbeyHealth and her vision for the future.
Q. Can you tell us about the types of Rehab services available?
A. We offer a full range of rehabilitation programs to help patients improve or restore their functionality, mobility, and participation in everyday life following an illness or injury. Services available include cardiac and pulmonary rehab, pain management, acupuncture, neurological, orthopedic and sports rehab, as well as balance and fall prevention, the treatment of dizziness and vertigo and pediatric rehab.
Q. How have rehab services evolved over the past few years?
A. The science behind rehabilitation services continues to grow allowing our therapists to focus on and integrate treatment approaches which have a proven record of being effective and making a significant difference in the patient’s outcomes.
Our therapists are well rounded, and many have focused training on specific areas like manual, neuro, or pediatric therapies, enabling them to provide a high level of care. We also support their ongoing education so they can stay current and deliver the best and most up to date treatment approaches available.
Q. How are the Rehab services at WhidbeyHealth different from other providers?
A. In the Rehab field, most providers will have multiple patients scheduled with a single therapist, in a staggered-start format. At WhidbeyHealth we provide a single, dedicated therapist for each patient’s entire 45-minute session — focused 100 percent on their needs.
Q: Why is 1-on-1 care so much more valuable?
A: With shared provider sessions, you only have the attention of the therapist for part of your session. With our model, you have a full 45 minutes of one-on-one interaction with your therapist, working on your specific needs, measuring your progress, answering all of your questions and guiding you to your personal goals.
Q: What are some of the challenges in delivering rehab services?
A: COVID-19 played a big factor; the biggest challenge over the past 18 months and for our immediate future are the continuous and ongoing changes and accommodations needed to provide care in a safe and timely manner. Our professional teams have been champions of change and as a result we have been able to provide ongoing high-quality services in spite of the pandemic. Throughout all this we were also able to make significant improvements in service delivery by building a new pediatric therapy clinic and new cardiac and pulmonary rehab gym.
Q As you look ahead, what are you most excited about?
A: I’m excited about the ongoing expansion of our Pediatric Therapy and Rehab program, facilities, and staff. There is such a dire need and we’re focused on meeting that need. We’re adding therapists with specific skills and expertise in pediatrics which will help us decrease the wait time to get into programs and maximize the impact we can have on our patients and the community.
We’re also looking forward to expanding our community and education outreach services for chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s, stroke, and fall-prevention programs. All of this has been on hold since the pandemic.
Whether you’re recovering from an illness or injury, working to regain your ability to do everyday activities, or dealing with communication or speech challenges, a customized rehab program can help you meet your goals right here on Whidbey.
Even if your physician or surgeon is off-island, you can still arrange to have your rehabilitation services provided close to home, at WhidbeyHealth.
Learn more at whidbeyhealth.org/outpatient/rehab.