Mercy opens physical therapy office in Shell Knob

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hospital leases space in Central Crossing Senior Center addition

Mercy Hospital has contracted with the Shell Knob Senior Center in order to provide physical therapy services for area seniors.

"We signed a contract with Mercy for a rehabilitation center in our new addition," said Jerry Arnold, chief operating officer for the senior center.

For the last year, the center has been working on a 7,000-square-foot expansion which includes nine rooms, one of which is a 1,300-square-foot room to be leased by Mercy to provide physical therapy services.

An open house and dedication will be held July 1, which will simultaneously celebrate the completion of the center, and the clinic expects its first patients on July 8.

"With all the activities we were doing we basically ran out of room," Arnold said. "We do over 20 activities there. We had people in our storeroom playing cards."

The idea for the physical therapy clinic was actually initiated several years ago by Dr. Daniel Sherwood, a family practice physician at Mercy Clinic.

"He saw the need to have patient services for citizens in that community," said Doug Stroemel, administrator for Mercy Hospital in Cassville and Aurora. "He brought the project forward. We've been talking about it for a long time. It's our goal to bring the services to the community," he said.

Stroemel said Mercy was excited for the opportunity, but did their homework before jumping in.

"We did a needs assessment and seemed to feel there was a need for this in the community, and we're excited about it," Stroemel said.

The clinic will be offering outreach therapy services, starting with physical therapy as its first service. Dr. Nick Whelan, doctor of physical therapy, will be providing services on Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"We hope the program will grow, and if so, we will expand days and coverage," Stroemel said. "Our first patients will be seen July 8. We're going to start with the presence of one therapist one day per week. We have responded to a need, and have found there are a high number of folks in that area who have a need for physical therapy."

Pediatric physical therapy services will be offered, too, but Stroemel believed the majority of services would be utilized by the senior community due to the unique challenges they face.

Transportation to the closest medical clinic has been a challenge for Shell Knob area senior citizens who need physical therapy.

"Most don't think about having to drive to Cassville or Aurora for therapy, and there are a lot of elderly folks that live by themselves in that area who can't drive even if they have a car," Stroemel said. "There are folks who've had total knee replacements, shoulder or hip surgery and need therapy but don't have gas money, or a friend to take them.

"So, if they're not doing the therapy, you won't have the outcome you need. That's the reason we wanted to reach out, to bring our services closer to home, which has always been one of our goals."

With most physical therapy services prescribed an average of three times per week, Stroemel felt that even if seniors must go to Cassville or Aurora for some appointments, the clinic would be available one of those days so they would not have to travel as much. He also said an added benefit while receiving their therapy is they could get a meal and socialization at the center.

The 1,300-square-foot physical therapy room will have a private exam room and all of the standard physical therapy equipment needed to perform services.

"It's a beautiful facility, they've added on to the senior center and we'll have medical equipment, treatment tables, pulleys, weights and exercise equipment including treadmills and exercise bikes."

For more information about physical therapy services at the center, the open house and dedication, or any of the activities at the center, people may call 417-858-6952.

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