Meeting Patient Needs
Children’s Hospital of Richmond’s Therapy Centers help children like Diego by offering pediatric outpatient services closer to their homes. The hospital currently operates three community therapy centers in Fredericksburg, Midlothian and Richmond’s West End and will open a fourth center in Petersburg in the fall of 2008. In addition, therapy services also are available at the Brook Road Hospital in Richmond’s Northside. To accommodate working parents and children with school schedules, the Brook Road Hospital and each community Therapy Center offer some early morning and evening hours.
The West and South Therapy Centers serve patients five days a week and continue to see increases in demand for services. The South Therapy Center has experienced a 76 percent increase in patient visits in the last five years while the West Therapy Center, which has seen an 83 percent increase in patient visits in five years, is adding 1,450 square feet of space for new treatment rooms and an enlarged waiting room. The renovation is expected to be complete in the fall of 2008.
All locations offer physical, occupational and speech therapy. The South Therapy Center also provides child psychology services, while Fredericksburg offers physician appointments from VCU specialists in neurology, neurosurgery and cardiology. When the Petersburg location opens, it will serve patients from Colonial Heights, Fort Lee, Petersburg, Hopewell and Prince George County and will offer physical, occupational and speech therapy three days a week. As demand increases, so will the Center’s hours.
“The Tri-Cities is an extreme area of need with limited medical and pediatric therapy services,” said Sallie. “The Petersburg Therapy Center will allow patients to receive much more convenient and closer to home services and will serve patients who haven’t been able to travel to the hospital’s other locations.”
Making the Trip
For Natalia, who drives to the Brook Road Hospital twice a year for appointments with Eugenio Monasterio, MD, FAAPMR, being able to drive to Fredericksburg for Diego’s weekly therapy “makes a big difference.” She said she sees “good progress from one week to the next” and appreciates the encouragement that Ryan provides to Diego and herself.
“When Diego was born,” said Natalia, “I wondered how I could care for him. I didn’t want him to feel different. Ryan would always reassure me.”
Diego looks forward to seeing Ryan each week for 60 minutes of what Ryan calls “play with a purpose.” Because Diego loves balls, Ryan incorporates kicking a soccer ball or walking the bases during a t-ball game into the session.
“I have games on his level,” explained Ryan, “so he has fun and doesn’t know it’s therapy.”
To enhance Diego’s new-found walking abilities, Ryan has added activities that include running, jumping, balancing and walking on uneven surfaces into the weekly routine.
“Without the Fredericksburg Therapy Center,” Ryan said, “Diego’s family would be driving into Washington, D.C. or all the way to Richmond for therapy.”
Natalia, who is expecting her second child in September, enjoys the friendly, family-oriented atmosphere of Fredericksburg’s Therapy Center. And Diego likes it so much, Natalia said she has a hard time getting him to leave.
“I’m really thankful there’s a place like this for kids,” said Natalia. “It’s nice to be able to relate to other parents who are going through the same kinds of things that I’m going through.”
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