By Sue Moore
Bronson Vicksburg’s therapy unit is still operating on the old hospital site on Boulevard St., said Gayle Kokmeyer, manager. “We are eager to serve a population that needs to reduce continued pain and achieve a higher everyday functioning.”
This facility still gets a lot of use, she said, pointing out that physical, occupational, and speech therapies are all offered in the west wing of the former hospital. “There are lots of private treatment areas along with a two gyms, a long hallway for ambulation treatment and an outside area which is helpful for working on balance issues in a real setting.”
“We also have a home program that is very important for continued treatment with exercises to do at home. The goal is to feel better, gain strength and motion through a plan of care that our therapists agree upon with the patient’s doctor. It’s a collaboration so a person can own their own health,” Kokmeyer said.
“The patient may have their own goals and the therapist their goals. Sometimes we have to weed out what is not wrong with the patient. It’s interactive, so every person involved follows the plan. Bronson gives the patient a team of people to help make these decisions and then they follow that plan of care for the rest of a person’s visits. There are no aides or technicians, only therapists or assistant therapists who spend 45 minutes to an hour in a one-on-one session for each visit. There are no group settings so the patient gets our full attention,” Kokmeyer said.
Therapy is really based upon what’s wrong, what’s the next step, particularly following the acute care hospital setting. Every patient has a choice about where to receive their rehab work, she said. Sometimes it’s a matter of convenience as Bronson offers rehab in three counties: Kalamazoo, Calhoun, and VanBuren. Vicksburg is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with Kokmeyer overseeing all area sites.
“I love working with our clinicians because they have such a thirst for knowledge. They are always researching the next treatment. In fact, we are now able to offer the McKenzie technique for manual therapy that is called ‘LSVT – Big’ for Parkinson’s and ‘LSVT – Loud’ for speech treatment,” she said.
Although an occupational therapist herself, Kokmeyer said she has a passion for all therapy as she sees the rewards. “It gives a person the ability to do what they couldn’t do before. Their attitude toward therapy plays a huge part in getting well and I love to see that happen.”