Serious injuries and illnesses, such as car accidents, stroke or recovering
from surgery, can inhibit a person’s quality of life. Whether they
enjoy recreational sports and keeping up with the kids, or simply an independent
lifestyle, such activities can be painful, and even impossible, without
the proper treatment. The Outpatient Rehabilitation team at
Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus and
Senior Care Center-St. Marys stand ready to assist patients of all ages regain strength, mobility and
health, so patients can get back to what matters most: living.
“People may need physical therapy to restore balance and the ability
to walk, occupational therapy to improve the fine motor skills needed
to eat and dress, and speech therapy to regain their ability to speak
and swallow,” says Jeffrey A. Zawislak, MPT. “They get all
three therapies here, scheduled back-to-back, so they don’t have
to make additional appointments,” he adds.
In addition to being a physical therapist, Zawislak manages a nine-person
rehabilitation services team at the Health System’s Camden Campus
and a five-person Senior Care Center-St. Marys. “Between all the
therapists at the Camden Campus and Senior Care Center-St. Marys, we have
over 200 years of experience!” Zawislak says.
Because the Outpatient Rehabilitation Care Center is on the hospital campus,
“People may not realize we offer outpatient therapy as well as inpatient
therapy for hospitalized patients and residents at our Senior Care Centers.
We’re here for the entire community,” Zawislak says. The 4,000
square-foot Center has its own entrance, parking area and receptionist,
all which helps streamline referrals and patient care. “Plus, we
have a great relationship with the Health System doctors!”
Therapists work with everyone, from children overcoming a speech impediment
and athletes healing a sports injury to older patients recovering from
a total joint replacement or stroke. In addition the three main types
of rehabilitation therapies—physical, occupational and speech—the
Center also offers a wealth of specialized therapies not typically found
in a small community, including:
The ergonomics program helps rehabilitate work-related injuries through
physical therapy, but it doesn’t stop there. Equally important is
avoiding another injury, which is why the therapists review a patient’s
workplace ergonomics to confirm when it is safe for the patient to resume work.
The therapist helps people regain strength and dexterity after a fracture
or surgery in the hand, wrist or fingers. Even arthritis sufferers benefit
from this therapeutic intervention.
Surgical Preparedness Programs
Another service that sets the Center apart is its pre-operative program.
“We partner with our General Surgery Department to prepare patients
for surgery. Studies show that patients have better outcomes if they engage
in exercise, so we work with patients before and after surgery,”
Zawislak explains. This not only strengthens patients for surgery, it
familiarizes them with the physical therapy process before they embark
on recovery. “Each treatment plan is different and centers on that
particular patient. We provide one-on-one therapy.”
Patients scheduled for hip or knee replacement surgery can attend a total
joint class to prepare for surgery. Although some patients need a procedure,
Zawislak says his therapists “help a lot of people avoid surgery”
by strengthening joints and making lifestyle modifications.
Women’s Health Program
This outpatient therapeutic service addresses urinary incontinence, frequent
urination or an “overactive” bladder. Working individually
with a female therapist, many women affected by these common conditions
can avoid surgery.
Tools of the Trade
The Center houses an array of exercise and therapeutic equipment. Their
Biodex Unweighing System helps individuals return to walking after an
injury. “The patient is helped into a harness by a therapist and
assistant. The harness is suspended over a treadmill, allowing the patient
to exercise and work on their gait without stressing their joints, and
helps eliminates the patients fear of falling” describes Zawislak.
The Center’s 10-year partnership with the Diver’s Den, located
only three miles from the Camden Campus, also gives patients access to
weightless, aquatic physical therapy in an indoor heated saltwater pool.
Short- and Long-term Rehabilitation
Senior Care Center-St. Marys has its own team of physical, occupational, and speech therapists who collaborate with the Camden Campus staff. People struggling to regain
mobility, function and independence after a debilitating illness or injury
benefit from the extra level of oversight provided by Senior Care Center-St.
Marys staff and its onsite therapists. The combined approach of rehabilitative
and skilled nursing care is available for adults needing short-term support
or long-term daily living assistance.
After twenty years of restoring hope and healing for people struggling
to regain independence, Zawislak still enjoys the rewards of his profession.
The lives he touches may be, “all in a day’s work,”
but the services he and his team provide are invaluable to their community.