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High-Tech Pool Enables Individualized Therapy in Watertown

Oct 21, 2020 07:00AM ● By Med Magazine

The zero entry therapy pool at Prairie Lakes Rehabilitation Services in Watertown is smaller than most people expect it to be. But Dot McAreavey, PT, MS, Director of Rehabilitation and Wound Care at Prairie Lakes, says what it lacks in size, it makes up for in sophistication.

"It has all sorts of bells and whistles that allow us to be very flexible and create highly individualized programs," says McAreavey whose department mantra is "movement is medicine.".

With warm water for support and buoyancy, specially trained aquatic therapists can tailor their sessions to account for virtually any physical limitation.  Thanks to a floor that adjusts from ground level to a depth of six feet and even a water-safe wheelchair, the pool can accommodate patients of any height, mobility, or level of comfort in the water. 

"The sky's the limit as to who this can be used for," says McAreavey. "Patients who have sprained their ankle and are having trouble getting back to a normal gait, patients who have had a total hip replacement, people with chronic conditions, even patients with just general weakness. Gravity can be a barrier. We can remove that barrier, help the person get stronger in the water, and then transition to land."

The pool's treadmill floor can help recovering patients regain strength and mobility without the pain of land exercise. Resistance jets and adjustable speeds allow for a gradual increase in workout intensity. Even breathing problems can be addressed with aquatic therapy, using the water's resistance to build chest strength. Cameras in the pool and monitors in the wall give patients real-time feedback as they work with their therapist. 

"We knew the water would help patients, but we underestimated how empowering it could be," says McAreavey. "When a patient who is unable to walk gets in the pool and can walk, they are motivated. They feel empowered. It gives them hope."

Certified aquatic therapists can help patients with the following conditions:

  • Arthritis

  • Arthroscopic surgery recovery

  • Autism

  • Balance disorders

  • Bursitis

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Chronic pain

  • Depression

  • Joint pain of unknown cause

  • Joint reconstruction surgery recovery

  • Joint replacement surgery recovery

  • Lower back pain

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Orthopedic injuries

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Pulmonary issues, poor activity tolerance

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Scoliosis

  • Stress

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Sprains and strains

  • Stroke

  • Tendonitis

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System Therapy Pool