By RAYCHEL HARVEY-JONES
7:17 AM AKST, January 19, 2013
Driving means independence for many people, especially those who are recovering from a stroke or major surgery.
The West View Rehabilitation Center in Williamsport is teaching its patients to get back into the car and, hopefully, back on the road.
And the center is doing that in the shape of a sporty, eye-catching car called "The Spot," which stands for Speech Physical Occupational Therapy.
Tim Berry, administrator and regional director for the Williamsport Retirement Village, said The Spot is seen as a rehab device in helping patients to learn how to get in and out of a car safely after a stroke or major surgery.
"We looked around the county — and beyond — to see what other organizations were doing to improve the rehabilitation of people in regards to functionality in getting people to return home from both long- and short-term care," Berry said. "In particular, getting people back into a car and helping them regain confidence and independence."
Berry said many rehabilitation facilities use a car that has been cut down the center and is attached to a wall.
"We thought beyond this to create a more realistic environment in bringing an actual car to the rehab facility in Williamsport," he said. "The car is located outside and is a fully functioning vehicle."
The Spot can be an important tool for those in physical therapy.
"Many people in the rehab program have weight-bearing issues, therefore we wanted the experience of getting back into a car to be both realistic but also fun," said Natasha Reeder, director of rehabilitation and therapy manager. "We want rehab to be successful and although is it often of a serious nature, our patients love the car."
The car arrived in May of 2012. The car has not been altered internally to cater for the rehabilitation program, but it allows the rehab team to teach people how to enter and exit a vehicle safely, even how to store walking aids correctly such as walkers and wheelchairs.
By teaching patients the safe way to get in and out of a vehicle, Reeder said it helps patients in their recovery.
"Fear of falling after a hip surgery, or any type of fear in rehabilitation, can delay progress," she said. "This car is used for people who have suffered a stroke or had a hip or knee replacement, hip fractures, even rotator cuff surgeries. It helps to gain confidence in a fun but safe way."
Berry said he sees The Spot as a great addition to the facility.
"We like to think that despite being located in a small community, we are forward thinking and always looking for the latest innovative ways to help our patients," he said.
By Raychel Harvey-Jones
The Spot, which stands for Speech Physical Occupational Therapy, is used as a rehabilitation device at West View Rehabilitation Center for patients who have had major surgery or a stroke.
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