Picture the play-land of your dreams – swings, slides, bicycles, climbers, games and every toy imaginable. The world of pediatric physical therapy is all play … play with a plan.
Now, envision adults who need therapy. Look around their therapy gym. It resembles your home with a fitness center. You’ll probably see a kitchen with exercise equipment nearby. It’s all work … with a plan. The world of physical therapy from an adult’s perspective versus a child’s looks markedly different.
As an adult, for example, you enter the therapy gym for a session. You are recovering from a shoulder injury. The therapist will conduct a series of exercises to improve your range of motion and strengthen your shoulder. The session is demanding, challenging and exhausting, but you know it’s worth the hard work because your goal is a complete return of full shoulder function.
Now, walk into a pediatric physical therapy clinic like the one Hurley Medical Center operates on Linden Road in Flint. You may see a child jumping on a small trampoline or riding a tricycle, another child stacking blocks or bouncing on an oversized ball, or a one-year old trying to reach for a toy on a shelf. You hear lots of laughter and see plenty of smiles from the kids as well as their parents who are active participants in “play” time.
The method of delivering treatment is quite different, yet both groups of patients are working to achieve a similar goal — to improve their quality of life.
Hurley Family Rehabilitation Center on Linden Road in Flint provides outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy for children as well as adults. Each patient population has its own “playground” of resources.
“We need a lot of ‘real estate’ to provide physical therapy services for children,” explains Cathy Metz, service line director of Hurley Medical Center’s therapy clinics. “We need space for kids to ride bikes, play on swings, jump on a ball or climb a wall. This is a very specialized population with very specialized needs and challenges.
THE WORLD OF PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY IS ALL PLAY … WITH A PLAN.
ADULT PHYSICAL THERAPY IS ALL WORK … WITH A PLAN.
“We see kids who have a brain tumor and have lost mobility, children on the autism spectrum, those born with a congenital disorder, babies with cerebral palsy, young adults with muscular dystrophy and so many other children with disorders and diseases,” Metz describes. “We work with a wide range of medical conditions and ages -from infants to young adults, helping them reach their maximum potential as they transition through life.
“And we are always looking for creative ways to make therapy fun. The younger kids think mom or dad are taking them somewhere to play, unlike adults who know therapy is going to be hard work.
“When one milestone is met in pediatric physical therapy, we set another goal, and then another one. In most cases, the care is long-term. In adults, therapy generally is brief and intense with an end date,” Metz points out. “The purpose of treatment for adults is to restore normal function and a return to activities of daily living. We have two completely different worlds of therapy under one roof.”
Hurley has been providing pediatric physical, occupational and speech therapy for more than 30 years. Hurley Family Rehabilitation Center (one of six outpatient therapy centers in Genesee County) is located at 1085 S. Linden Road, Suite 100 in Flint. To reach the center, call 810-262-2000.