CENTRAL ILLINOIS INSTITUTE of BALANCE Celebrating 10 Years of Keeping Clients Steady
September 02, 2017
By Leta Gail Doerr
For Poonam McAllister, owner and physical therapist, the decision to open Central Illinois Institute of Balance, “CIIB,” over a decade ago was an easy one. Experienced in musculoskeletal injuries, neurologic and developmental diagnosis, balance, and mobility — Poonam’s mission and vision for CIIB embodies her core beliefs and objective — to improve the life of every patient she and her team serves.
CIIB provides balance rehabilitation treatment for people with peripheral neuropathy, stroke recovery, multiple sclerosis, brain injuries, amputation, and other orthopedic and neurological conditions. Physical therapy for inner ear disorders, migraines, and vestibular neuritis (a disorder that affects the nerve that sends balance and head position information from the inner ear to the brain) is also provided. “Chronic pain and serious diseases can impact a person’s physical health and mental wellbeing. I wanted to open a practice to focus on the whole person. Research indicates that we have better patient outcomes when we tailor the treatment plan to the needs of the client — there’s no cookbook here!”
Since opening their doors in 2007, CIIB has grown from its humble beginnings in the lower-level of a sublet practice on Bloomington’s east side, to a thriving business with a home office located at 211 Landmark Drive in Normal and a satellite office located inside Bloomington Primary Care at 9 Heartland Drive. “We started at patient zero, and two staff members — myself and an audiologist,” shares Poonam.
Today, CIIB is home to five core staff members, and a total of 10 to 12 part-time employees including physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapists, and exercise / fitness instructors for weekend and client load coverage.
As a visitor to CIIB, I was immediately welcomed by the sound of floating laughter coming from the end of the patient hallway. As Poonam escorted her last patient of the day to the front entrance, the time was already well past the 5:00 hour. Poonam provided a gentle nod in my direction, while her clients seemed to want to mingle and continue the friendly conversation each party appeared to enjoy. As patient after patient exited the building, it struck me that I have never witnessed such a warm farewell inside a medical practice.
Once seated inside Poonam’s office, I asked her to share what she considered to be CIIB’s greatest accomplishment over the past ten years. She smiled and responded, “I think you just witnessed it. We see patients of all ages, from infants to 90 plus years old — and we have a personal connection with each of them. This is the core foundation of our practice — to improve the quality of life by providing comprehensive, excellent and holistic care to patients needing physical therapy and audiology services.”
Admission to the treatment programs offered at CIIB requires a physician’s referral. Once established as a patient, CIIB enlists their impressive toolkit for patient assessment by following the gold standard of diagnostic testing for patients suffering from dizziness or balance problems. They then leverage their state-of-the-art equipment to determine therapy protocols.
A recent addition to the programming at CIIB includes group classes for discharged patients. “We discovered that many of our patients want to continue under our care, even though they are technically ready to graduate into home care. In response, we started a Parkinson’s group, and offer balance and strengthening sessions to further meet the needs of those clients.” The wellness programs keep clients moving by focusing on strengthening, stretching, core stabilization, and cardiovascular activity.
Poonam shares that in the next decade she and her staff endeavor to retain focus on the core offerings of the practice — balance rehabilitation, vestibular (inner ear disorders) rehabilitation, orthopedic rehab, pain management, and wellness. “We are on the top referral list for many local physicians. Our mission will be to focus on long-term strategies by keeping current with new and emerging technology, staff development, and preserving our core values of treating the whole person:
Mind. Body. Balance.”
For more information on any type of balance or dizzines problem, you may contact Poonam McAllister at Central Illinois Institute of Balance, 309-663-4900, www.di zyil.com. Their office is located at 211 Landmark Dr., Suite E-3 in Normal, IL.
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