Good staff and quality equipment increase outcomes

Keith McCrate
Keith McCrate

At Presbyterian Village North in Dallas, TX, we offer services in assisted living, skilled nursing, certified Alzheimer and dementia care, hospice and palliative care, and inpatient and outpatient rehab. As a not-for-profit organization, we offer Five Star-rated continuing care in the Dallas Metroplex to individuals of all faiths. As a company, we're focused on delivering care in the right way — concentrating our efforts on what's important to each individual with whom we come in contact.  We invest in the future to meet the demands of a rapidly changing healthcare system.

Recently, a patient who had been involved in a terrible car accident came to our skilled nursing facility. In the accident, she suffered bi-lateral fractures all along her tibia, fibula and distal femur. Her right hand and left shoulder were crushed, requiring shoulder replacement and hand reconstruction surgery.

The original intent when she came to our skilled nursing facility was to stabilize her enough to rehab elsewhere. But in less than 90 days, this patient—an active senior—improved from strictly non weight-bearing bed exercises to walking on land with minimal assistance. How was this possible?

Two things:  quality equipment and quality staff.  

Quality Equipment

Several years ago, we invested in a HydroWorx 3500 Series therapy pool with underwater treadmill, resistance jets and video monitoring system. We wanted a product with a great reputation that could provide our patients with the best possible outcomes. As a physical therapist and administrator, I've seen this pool work wonders for many of our residents and patients through the years. As a staff, we wondered if water could help this patient. We felt that the hydrostatic pressure, warmth of the water, buoyancy and resistance would combine to enhance her stamina, muscle strength and flexibility.

As she began to stabilize in bed, we requested from the surgeons that we be allowed to get her in the water. They consented. We were aggressive with treatment and she rapidly progressed — sitting, balancing and slide-board transferring in the water. Soon we were cleared to try toe-touch weight bearing, then walking heal-to-toe on the underwater treadmill. We saw remarkable progress from that point on. The varying depths of the pool floor allowed natural progression. Seeing her face light up the first couple steps in the water was amazing. As she watched through the video monitor her feet touching the ground, moving forward in a normal gait — that was the breakdown moment for her. Within 60 days of getting in the water she was able to discharge, using just the assistance of a walker.

A traditional land-based treatment program realistically would have taken four to five months for this patient to progress to this point. Because of the buoyancy water provided for her upper extremities and the natural gate the treadmill allowed, we were able to work the legs correctly, regardless of the shoulder and wrist weight bearing limitations. This was a key to her rapid success.

Within our market in Dallas, there are many exceptional rehab centers with very prominent names. We feel that offering the best in hydrotherapy care gives our skilled nursing and rehab facilities the complete package to compete with other high-profile facilities and the ability to provide our residents with the best, most advanced rehabilitation and preventative care programs.

Quality Staff

We try our best to provide exceptional care and services by maintain a long-tenured staff that creates unique and innovative programs to improve the lives of all they serve. Nothing great happens in the water without a well-trained staff, truly interested in leading residents and patients to the best health possible. 

Hydrotherapy is just one of many treatment modalities, so exceptional outcomes take place when our staff uses their combined skill and experience to identify patients who will truly benefit from the water. When we talk with people who have aquatic programs that have failed, it's almost always because their staff is not trained sufficiently in hydrotherapy.  Because of this, they haven't seen its incredible benefits. 

At PVN, we have spent — and continue to spend — a considerable amount of resources training our staff, helping them incorporate hydrotherapy's best practices and most recent technology. Research studies, webinars featuring new methods of treatment, networking, and newsletters provided through HydroWorx and other sources help us advance our knowledge and expertise within the field of aquatic therapy and serve our patients most effectively.

Our goal is to enrich the lives of those we serve through extending exceptional care and services in a faith-based culture. Through our quality investments of equipment and personnel, we hope to empower many more individuals to live their lives to the fullest.

Keith McCrate, PT, serves as the Director of Rehab for Presbyterian Village North and has served the geriatric population in Dallas, TX for over 12 years. He oversees a multi-disciplinary team of over 45 licensed therapist incorporating the latest evidence based practices and technologies in to senior rehabilitation and wellness.

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