Fall River Health Services Brings Specialized Physical Therapy to Hot Springs, South Dakota

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. – While rural towns like Hot Springs, SD are often lacking in specialty offerings, Fall River Health Services is creating a new standard of care. Among the many specialties offered at the hospital, physical therapy stands out as a service that people of all ages can benefit from. They offer both inpatient and outpatient services, working with babies as well as the elderly folks in the attached nursing home.

The physical therapy team offers specialized services for kids who fall into the “birth to three” category. As Lisa Thompson, MPT, notes, “Basically, they’re not making their gross motor milestones as a kiddo. They have me come out and do an evaluation and based on that evaluation of gross motor function, we work on skills needed to perfect their found deficits. Maybe it’s that they’re not rolling when they should or crawling when they should, then I go in and I work with them on that.”

Thompson says that the same can be said for older kids – if they’re struggling “gross motorly,” having difficulty traveling throughout their school environment or participating in school activities, the physical therapy team can help. In all cases, the physical therapy team works with the child to take steps toward meeting those important gross motor skills so they can participate in school and lead a more normal life.

Inpatient services focus more on returning the patient to their prior level of function, as Ashean Bacon, PT, notes. “We see different patients at the hospital, which we call Swing Bed. Like orthopedic, musculoskeletal problems, those patients who have injuries.” Patients range from age 60, all the way up to 103.

For Bacon, the residents of the nursing home bring her just as much joy as she brings them. “I came from the Philippines and I’m all by myself here. So whenever I see a patient, I treat them as my parents. That’s why I love working at the nursing home. Before I worked here, I came from a big city in Illinois. And there, people seem like they don’t care about what you do. They just come to the therapy for the treatment. Here, since it is a retirement community. Most of our patients are elderly. So once you work with them, they let you enter their world, they share personal things with you. And actually, for me, that’s a big deal, because I’m not only working as a physical therapist, but I feel like I’m working also with my parents whenever I work with the elderly.”

While the physical therapy team spends a lot of time working with these two groups, they help people with all types of physical therapy issues – from athletes to orthopedic. For Thompson, bringing physical therapy, and especially sports medicine, to a rural town is a particular passion. “So I was an athletic trainer before I went back to PT school. I wanted to be more involved in the rehab portion of injuries, not just the prevention. I went to school at University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, and their philosophy for their students is that they wanted them to go back into the rural health setting. So I grew up in southwest North Dakota, like 22 miles from the nearest town. And we didn’t have a therapist in the area then. So when I went to school, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to come back into a rural setting to offer PT services, see a little bit of everything, and work with a little bit of a diverse population. So that’s why seeing the kiddos all the way up to like a hundred- and three-year-olds, that’s awesome. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for athletes, though. So sports medicine is kind of my passion per se, along with treating the elderly folks, too, because that really is our biggest clientele.”

For both, offering specialty services in a rural setting is incredibly important. Bacon remarks that they’re able to help people of all ages with all types of medical conditions – a service that most people in rural areas have to drive a far distance to receive.

To schedule an appointment with the physical therapy team or to find out more information about the services offered at Fall River Health Services, call 605.745.8910 or visit their website at https://www.frhssd.org/.

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