KDMC unveils renovated therapy center

Published 7:04 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

She has arthritis. She has diabetes. Her knee is weak and oftenin pain.

But Brookhaven’s Jimmie Ballard has been fighting against herailments at King’s Daughters Medical Center’s therapy clinic since1996, even before the hospital owned the business. With the help oftherapists, medicine and an aquatic exercise class that meets atleast three times each week, the 72-year-old believes she’s addedyears to her life.

“It’s helped me keep my blood-sugar under control, and I’m ableto exercise and do more in the pool than I can even think aboutstanding here,” said Ballard. “I’ll keep coming here as long as I’mphysically able.”

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Not only is Ballard physically able to make it to therapy, nowthe therapy clinic is more physically able to serve her – andhundreds more – after a $1 million renovation that expanded theclinic to 9,000 square feet and upgraded every service within.Complete with bigger and nicer spaces and new equipment, themodernized therapy clinic was unveiled to the public Thursday in anopen house.

“This is top notch, one of the best facilities I’ve seen,” saidLisa Rhodes, a therapist at Country Brook Living Center who touredthe big facility.

KDMC Director of Therapy Services Christi Mills built and ranthe original, private therapy center in 1993 and has been thehospital’s therapy director since it purchased the business in1998. The number of patients using the service has grown to around100 per day – so much the original center was no longer adequate toserve them all, she said.

“We see all ages, from pediatrics to senior adults,” Mills said.”We have referrals from all over the state. Even when people go seetheir doctors in Jackson or Hattiesburg, they come home to undergotherapy.”

Mills said the therapy center offers physical, occupational andspeech therapy and provides a host of treatments, for conditionsincluding sports injuries, orthopedic problems, neurologicalimpairments and children with developmental disabilities. Theclinic also serves the therapy needs of the hospital’spatients.

To accomplish this, the center uses tools like a warm,salt-water therapy pool, an underwater treadmill called theAquaCiser and a variety of pain modalities, including electricalstimulation, ultrasound and traction machines. It also houses a gym- where the fitness center was once located – that utilizedisotonic and isocentric exercise equipment.

KDMC Chief Executive Officer Alvin Hoover said the hospital’stherapy service has been solid and fits the needs of thecommunity.

“We think this will be helpful for us to one day establish afull-time orthopedic service in Lincoln County,” he said.

Now that the renovation of the therapy center is complete, thehospital administration is focusing on three more upgrade projects.Preparations to move the Quick Care clinic near Wal-Mart onBrookway Boulevard began two weeks ago, and renovations on theformer Human Performance Center – which KDMC purchased and uses tohouse the fitness center – begins Friday.

In one month, the hospital laboratory will move into temporarybuildings to allow for the full renovation of that department.