All The Right Moves

Physical, Occupational Therapy Relocation Brings More Space, Opportunities

Physical Therapist Angela Williamson, far right, leads her patients through some basic motions during pool therapy at HealthSpring Fitness in the new VacaValley Wellness Center.

Physical Therapist Angela Williamson steps into the warm water of the therapy pool at HealthSpring Fitness and greets the two patients she’ll be working with. “OK, are you ready, ladies?” she asks brightly, as she positions herself between the two mid-pool. “We’re going to be doing some basics and I may add a little today but if anything makes you uncomfortable, let me know.”

Slowly, she directs the pair to walk sideways, forward, backward. Each time, she directs them on how to lift or position their legs—all to achieve the best stretch or water resistance.

For Vacaville resident Carol Marable, it’s part of a regular weekly routine since her hip replacement surgery. “Things just weren’t healing the way I wanted and so my doctor prescribed this for me and it really is a lot better,” the 70-year-old said.

She calls Angela her “little angel” and credits her with much of the improvement she has seen in her gait and hip movement. “I call her that because it helps me remember her name and because she really is wonderful,” Carol said. “She has me doing exercises and movements that, out of the water, I can’t really do and it has helped me so much.”

The weekly sessions used to be held at a fitness club across town. The program moved this summer, however, to the VacaValley Wellness Center. Medical offices make up the other half of the building that also houses HealthSpring Fitness Center. And the juxtaposition provides easy access to the fitness center’s therapy pool.

“It’s great,” Angela said of the new pool. “It’s warm and it’s indoors. We don’t have to cancel for bad weather. Also, there are specific times the pool is reserved for rehab. So we know the pool will be available to us and our patients.”

The pool’s shallow steps are perfect for rehab patients and the bars that line the edges help patients as they run through their exercises, she added.

Relocating the aquatic therapy to the HealthSpring pool is just one of many opportunities NorthBay Rehabilitation Manager Doug Hinton says he hopes to see grow in the future. He envisions programs that will allow more integration of physical and occupational therapy with the fitness center and its equipment.

In the meantime, staff and patients are happy in their new space which has double the number of exam rooms and provides a gym space that is 75 percent larger. “We like it,” Doug said. “It gives us more room to work with patients and accommodates future growth.”

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