BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena Rehabilitation Center is a division of Mena Regional Health System that dedicates itself to helping people get past the hurdles of recovery and back to their lives, work, and family. It’s a continuum of care facility for inpatient and outpatient clients and is based on individual needs of the patient with the help of a very caring staff.
The facility houses 12 beds and the equipment to rehabilitate patients with a vast variety of needs. Beth Rosenthal supervises the therapy team and explained that specially trained nurses provide occupational, physical, and speech therapy. “When a patient comes here, they are required a minimum of three hours of therapy a day,” said Rosenthal. Some patients only require one type of therapy, but others require all three types of therapy and the staff works together to make sure the patient is getting all they need.
Patients that come into Mena Rehabilitation come from a variety of medical backgrounds and are often referred to the clinic by hospitals and doctors. There are also patients that are referred by their families and home health aides. Whether the patient is having difficulty recovering from an injury or surgery, has chronic pain, balance issues, or problems walking, or a variety of other ailments, Mena Rehabilitation has the staff to help the patient become as independent as possible. Parkinson’s disease, amputations, rheumatoid arthritis, and other illnesses can also lead to needs for therapy.
When a patient is coming in from a home base, Care Coordinator Leslie McCoy makes a house call, free of charge, to evaluate the patient’s needs. Once the evaluation is complete, a plan is made and they become an inpatient at the rehab center. “Also, once a patient is here and has gotten better, we make another house call to evaluate the home and suggest any modifications necessary, such as, whether they need a walker, or a ramp for a wheelchair, help getting in and out of the bathroom, etc.,” said Jennifer Rowland, Occupational Therapist at the center.
Rowland assists patients with upper body strength, fine motor skills, and self-care that covers everything from learning to cook again to doing laundry. Hailey Feldhaus is the speech therapist and is also certified in voicing, swallowing, cognition, and was recently certified in brain function. “You don’t realize how important speech and swallowing are until you can’t do it. Especially swallowing, it’s an important part of living. I like making patients better than they were before they got here,” said Feldhaus.
Encouragement is an important part of the healing process in a rehabilitative atmosphere. Rosenthal also explained the encouragement that is given from the entire team. “Everyone is always encouraging each other and the patients to do more and get better,” she said.
Nelson said, “Our patients aren’t in their best health when they come to us. There’s a fine line between being sick and needing help and being too sick to be here. Our team does a great job with the patients. One patient recently said, ‘This doesn’t feel like a hospital,’ and that’s what we strive for, a comfortable place for our patients to get well.”