A Heritage of Loving Service: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Tucson
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Heritage: The Story of St. Mary's Hospital, 1880-1980
By Leo G. Bryne and Sister Alberta Cammack, C.S.J

Chapter III Contemporary St. Mary's
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

When Dr. Stuart Holtzman became the Medical Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 1971, he set about assembling the expertise needed for an effective and integrated group which would continually upgrade and improve the program. Rehabilitation patients were brought together and placed under special nursing care that coordinated activities with treatment and therapy goals. The unit was small, and more rehabilitation beds were planned for the new wing where added space would bring together services formerly distributed throughout the hospital and new equipment would provide expanded services.

Today an enlarged Occupational Therapy Department provides space for a kitchen set-up, a room for basic woodworking and ceramic equipment, and a large central area for exercise and activities. New exercise equipment in Physical Therapy, geared for instant feedback, challenges the patient to reach pre-set goals. The Speech Therapy section contains an audio room for hearing evaluation tests which are offered along with the evaluation and treatment of speech disorders. Besides treatment and office rooms, there is also a special waiting area for children who come as outpatients.

Therapists, counselors, and the nursing staff coordinate efforts that will lead to rehabilitation. Exercises to regain strength and coordination are carried out, together with activities which encourage self-care and coping abilities. In exercises in the simple tasks of daily living, the slightest progress is greeted with enthusiastic praise, with different members of the staff being alerted to changes which might show improvement or deterioration.

A group approach is used for planning and treatment. Once a week, staffing conferences on each patient set realistic goals: as an elderly, aphasic, stroke patient struggles to regain cognitive abilities and speech patterns; and a young man, who has lost his legs, exercises on a mat, building up strength he will need before he can attempt to walk with artificial legs and crutches.

Today, with the expansion and resources made possible by the new wing, St. Mary's Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department has been able to meet the national standards of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities with its requirements for staffing, services and physical facilities. It is also being recognized locally for its expertise and its ability to offer the latest in rehabilitation care.

Continue with Chapter III: Contemporary St. Mary's Respiratory Therapy



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