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Merit Health Wesley Rehabilitation Services Specialized Care to Rebuild Lives

  February 03, 2019

Anyone who has needed rehabilitation from illness or injury knows that these obstacles can take a toll, not only physically, but emotionally.

When you need therapy of any kind, you not only need a great program, but you also need a therapist who is dedicated to your support and your success. With more than 50 experienced staff members whose specialty certifications run the gamut, Merit Health Wesley’s Rehabilitation Services department is rebuilding lives, one specialized service at a time. And, they have the patient success stories to prove it.

When all three of her children required therapy, Jennifer Mulder, of Sumrall, found the help they each needed at Merit Health Wesley in Hattiesburg.

“My oldest son, Luke, began speech therapy at the age of three and continued for 2½ years,” Mulder said. “My daughter, Sadie, began taking speech at the age of two due to a mild speech delay. My youngest son, Everett, took occupational therapy and physical therapy for weakened muscles in his neck and stomach from age nine months to 15 months. He now takes speech therapy for a mild speech delay.”

As a military family that moves from duty station to duty station, Mulder was concerned about finding help for her children, but when the family relocated to Hattiesburg in August 2014, she said she felt blessed to find Merit Health Wesley’s outpatient Rehabilitation Services.

“I had never had to seek speech or physical therapy before and was nervous about how it would all go,” Mulder said. “They have eased every concern I have had about my children’s needs. They keep me up to date on my children’s plan of care and what progresses they make. My children are not shy at all anymore because their speech has shown such improvement, and, as a mother, my child’s confidence to be the best they can be is very important.”

Attorney Will Graves also found help at Merit Health Wesley after he was paralyzed from the chest down in an automobile accident at the age of 16.

“My therapy experience definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Graves. “It helped me physically to stay in shape and to continually practice training for different life skills that I would need to be successful. However, I think the most beneficial thing was how the therapists and staff befriended me and supported me. Their presence through my therapy experience definitely made it unique and beneficial.”

Rehabilitation Services offers an extensive variety of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy services, as well as many specialized programs that are unique in the Pine Belt.

Occupational therapy helps patients with temporary or permanent loss of function regain their independence and quality of life.

Occupational therapists help patients improve their ability to perform daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing, using a computer, and running errands.

Physical therapy helps patients regain mobility, strength, flexibility, and endurance following a broken bone, muscle injury, or surgery. Rehabilitation specialists customize plans that incorporate the unique goals and abilities of each person.

Speech therapy helps patients with a variety of conditions that affect oral motor skills, swallowing, speech, and language abilities. Speech therapists work with neurologists; ear, nose, and throat doctors; and other specialists to evaluate patients and treat conditions.

All patients are treated by a licensed therapist for the entirety of their care, and continuum of care is available throughout the patient’s life cycle. The Merit Health Wesley staff is dedicated to helping people rebuild their lives after illness and injury, and they believe recovery encompasses mind and body.

In 2018, Merit Health Wesley became the only hospital in Mississippi and one of only 26 hospitals nationwide to be Gold Certified for Excellence in Person-Centered Care by Planetree International. This certification recognizes Merit Health Wesley’s achievement and innovation in the delivery of a patient experience that goes beyond the norm in today’s healthcare environment, incorporating all aspects of a patient’s care to enhance their healing process.

“We’re proud to be able to offer a different kind of experience to our patients,” said Michelle Thompson, MPT, Co-Director of the department. “We invest in their physical, emotional, and spiritual victories and enjoy being able to cheer them on in all areas of their lives.”

“My children have grown leaps and bounds with their abilities, and I consider their therapists to be friends,” Jennifer Mulder said. “They truly have my children’s best interests at heart and always exceed my expectations.”

Specialty services: Specialized therapy includes a variety of treatments, from aquatic therapy in a heated pool to address pain, balance, and strength; hand therapy for injuries to the hand, forearm, and elbow; modified barium swallow (a moving X-ray of the swallow to determine a patient’s complications); swallowing therapy, which uses a specialized neuromuscular electrical stimulation system for the treatment of debilitating effects of oropharyngeal dysphagia; and Work Well Rehab, which helps patients return to work while containing the employer’s cost.
  • Certified hand therapy
  • Work conditioning and FCEs
  • Vital stim therapy for dysphagia
  • Modified barium swallows for infant to geriatric patients
Pediatric Rehab is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program designed to meet the needs of children from birth to age 21. Therapists use age-appropriate toys, activities, and therapeutic play to make therapy fun. Care is provided by pediatric board-certified therapists, sensory integration certified therapists, and NDT-certified therapists. Outpatient follow–up therapy for babies who have previously been patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is also offered.

Cupping is an alternative form of therapy in which suction is created on the skin to allow for separation of tissue adherence while pulling toxins to surface tissues. Blood then travels to new layers of tissues to jumpstart the healing process. Cupping helps with chronic pain, decreased range of motion, scar healing, and delayed-onset muscle soreness recovery. Carpal tunnel syndrome, ITB syndrome, chronic neck/back pain, and knee osteoarthritis are commonly treated with cupping.

Dry needling is a form of manual therapy in which a solid, fine filament needle is inserted into skin and muscles to promote healing. It works like deep tissue massage. It is used for patients with acute and chronic pain who are unable to get relief from less aggressive forms of therapeutic intervention. It is often used to treat those suffering from arthritis, migraine and tension headaches, whiplash, rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, scapular pain, neck pain, TMJ, ITB Syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis.

LSVT BIG and LOUD are two programs specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions. LSVT LOUD is a speech treatment that trains them to use their voice at a more normal loudness level while speaking. It can also help with articulation, intonation, and facial expression. LSVT BIG trains patients to use their bodies more normally for small motor tasks such as buttoning a shirt or large motor tasks such as maintaining balance while walking.

Orthopedic services for orthopedic injuries and surgeries:
  • Running analysis   
  • Treatment of tendonitis
  • Treatment of joint pain   
  • Back surgery rehabilitation
  • Dry needling   
  • Cupping    
  • Hand therapy   
  • Joint replacement surgery rehabilitation
Merit Health Wesley Rehabilitation Services is located on the second floor of Tower A on the campus of Merit Health Wesley.
A physician referral is required, and they accept all insurances. For more information, call 601-268-5015.

Occupational therapy services:
  • Activities of daily living
  • Adaptive equipment training and education
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Certified hand therapy/splinting
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Functional capacity evaluations
  • Neurological rehab
  • Pediatric therapy
  • Therapeutic exercise programs
  • Work conditioning
  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation
Physical therapy services:
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Mobility training
  • Pediatric therapy
  • Postural training
  • Pain relief techniques
  • Self-care education
  • Therapeutic exercise programs
  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation
Speech therapy services:
  • Articulation therapy
  • Augmentative communication
  • Aural rehabilitation
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Comprehensive evaluations
  • Language therapy
  • Modified barium swallows
  • Oral motor/facial strengthening
  • Pediatric language/speech development
  • Pediatric swallowing/feeding
  • Speaking valves
  • Speech therapy
  • Swallowing rehabilitation
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February 03, 2019
Categories:  Feature
Keywords:  Feature Story


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