By Roxanne Squires
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is bringing much needed comprehensive physical therapy treatment to the Woodbridge area as the healthcare facility introduces its new Sentara Therapy Center.
Standing as the first-of-its-kind therapy center in Northern Virginia; the new comprehensive rehabilitation center offers neurological rehabilitation, handles orthopedic injuries and conditions, spine therapy, occupational therapy, pre- and post-surgical rehab, balance therapy, manual physical therapy, plus Sentara’s S.A.F.E. Program geared toward fall prevention and education, all in an outpatient setting.
The overall goal of Sentara Therapy Center is to serve the rehabilitation needs of patients, their physicians and the community with comprehensive and quality care through personalized attention and our licensed, specially trained, dedicated staff.
“The Woodbridge area has experienced a lack of accessibility to comprehensive outpatient neurological rehabilitation. Often, survivors of stroke and other acquired brain injuries are required to travel long distances to find highly specialized physical, occupational and speech therapy services to best recover function and improve their quality of life,” said Sarah Sidar, MS, OTR/L, Team Coordinator, Sentara Therapy Center. “Due to this lack of accessibility, they unfortunately often go without. Finding outpatient therapy clinics who accept a variety of insurance for reimbursement has been a local challenge as well, and Sentara is here to provide those comprehensive services while accepting most insurance plans offered in Northern Virginia.”
The design of the center embraces an open gym concept as the team worked to create an environment that allows the therapist to improve their patient’s dynamic function.
Sidar explained that the space incudes open areas that allow their patients and therapists to work together on a variety of activities to improve balance, strength, and coordination.
The center also houses several private treatment rooms that allow for different treatment options: physical and occupational therapists who may want to work on manual therapies to improve joint function or reduce pain, or speech therapists who may need a quiet space to work on voice and language activities.
The Sentara team also offers treatment modalities such as e-stim and ultrasound to benefit patients.
The center utilizes lower impact exercise equipment, such as nu-step and upper body ergometer, in addition to equipment like exercise cable columns and the treadmill, to accommodate the needs of patients at any level of functioning, whether they are highly mobile or find it very difficult to get up and move around.
The therapy programs also incorporate the use of tablet and computer based apps and websites, in addition to using online materials for exercise prescription.
“This allows our patients to carry over their therapeutic activities in the home and community. And most importantly, we have physical, occupational, and speech therapists who are highly skilled in assessing the needs of their patients and using the equipment to its’ fullest efficacy,” said Sidar.
The center has installed a two-way safety door to the bathroom for emergencies and state-of-the-art rehabilitation equipment throughout the facility; including electric hi-lo tables, ultrasound and electric stimulation units, treadmills with special speed control, and plentiful balance equipment.
“We created an open reception area which improves engagement with our patients and to optimally organize our rehabilitation equipment in the gym to provide ease of movement. This takes planning electrical solutions like our pull down extension cords,” said Alan Wilson, Sentara Healthcare, VP, Rehab Services, Rehab Services Administration.
One unique aspect of Sentara Therapy Centers is the patients’ ability to access online resources to carry-over their therapy programs at home.
The online tool, Medbridge, allows patients to log onto their program at home, and not only access their exercise program, but watch videos of those activities being done correctly. The occupational therapist is also trained in the use of Saebo products to aid in the recovery of function after neurological injuries that impact arm and hand function, and has incorporated this into practice.
Construction of the Sentara Therapy Center began May 24, 2018 with substantial completion on Aug. 17, 2018. Innovative Architecture & Interiors served as the architect while Scott Long served as the general contractor.
A ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the new center took place on Jan. 16, 2019.