More patients staying in county

News editor

Rural health care has been facing a trend toward fewer inpatients and more outpatients, and St. Luke Hospital’s 2011 renovation and expansion was geared toward that fact.

One of the biggest changes was the expansion of physical therapy facilities, which now include private treatment rooms and a therapy pool.

“We knew there was an opportunity to grow physical therapy,” CEO Jeremy Armstrong said. “We have seen an increase in physical therapy volume.”

Physical therapist Sheryl Simmonds, who remembers how the department was before the expansion, hears from patients all the time about the new facilities.

“Almost every single day someone will say, ‘You sure are coming up in the world,’” or remark about the quality of the new facilities, Simmonds said.

It has led some patients who would have gone out of town for physical therapy to choose St. Luke for treatment. It has also brought patients from elsewhere. Simmonds said she has heard from doctors urging patients to make the trip to Marion for treatment because of the facilities, especially the therapy pool.

“A building doesn’t treat the patients,” Simmonds said. “But it sure does give us some tools.”

Other focuses of the 2011 project were improving convenience and privacy for patients in the laboratory and emergency room, Armstrong said.

 

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