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Hospital expands its rehab unit
10.21 hospital rehab 1
Hospital authority Chairman Stephen Mobley, Effingham Hospital Administrator Norma Jean Morgan and rehab unit director Z.T. Howard cut the ribbon to nearly double the space of the hospital’s rehabilitation unit Friday. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

She called it the “chamber of pain,” but Ruth Lee readily showed the full range of motion she had on her left arm, thanks to Effingham Hospital’s physical therapy unit.

The hospital unveiled an expansion of its rehabilitation unit, nearly doubling it in size, Friday morning.

“The hospital authority had a chance to grow its physical therapy unit and go with a new company,” Effingham Hospital Administrator Norma Jean Morgan said. “And our citizens have a place to go without having to leave the county for physical therapy.”

The rehab unit also includes occupational therapy and speech therapy. For some older patients, since the unit also works with the residents of the Effingham Care Center, that includes getting patients to learn to walk again and even lessons on swallowing.

“It used to take two people to get me in and out of bed,” Willene Kessler said.

Now, she’s walking 530 feet by herself.

Hospital rehabilitation director Z.T. Howard said the extra space allows his staff to see more patients and get more results.

“It was well-needed space,” he said of the area that once belonged to the hospital’s human resources department.

“We were literally on top of each other.”

Before, therapy and rehab staff were treating patients in their rooms without being able to bring in the right equipment. They can bring the patients to the upper and lower body machines, resistance belts, weights and specialized tables for treatment.

The rehab department’s motto is “bringing you back to good health one step at a time.”

Morgan said the expansion of the rehab services is another example of how the hospital is continuing to grow.

“This is our fifth opportunity this year to show we are turning things around,” she said.

Said hospital authority Chairman Stephen Mobley: “It’s a growing community and with it comes new services.”

Morgan said the hospital authority’s recently-adopted strategic plan calls for the recruitment of three primary care physicians in the coming year.

“Keep your eye on the horizon,” Mobley said. “There’s a lot more coming.”