According to Darren Bass, administrative director of rehabilitation and support services, ground for a 530-square-foot addition on the southeast side of the facility was broken last week. The entire project is expected to cost $300,000, including $75,000 for the HydroWorx therapy pool.
"Six years ago I started researching aquatic therapy as a new dimension to our rehab program," Bass said. "A lot of people want to exercise, but it hurts with joint, back and neck pain. Those who want to change struggle. They diet, but they can't do the exercise."
Research shows aquatic therapy can help many types of patient groups. Bass said adult orthopedic patients, particularly those with chronic back pain, joint replacements or after-spine surgery, who have difficulty bearing any weight, can start an exercise routine more quickly in the water.
There are also adult patients who want to exercise but cannot stand on a treadmill. Patients with weight issues, having difficulty exercising or even doing therapy, will find it much easier in water. Also, children who have difficulty walking straight or have issues with spastic muscle reactions will have greater success in the water.
There are also athletes seeking to get an edge on their performance. Bass said he hopes to offer the pool to members of the WaterThrashers swim team during the off-season, or make it available for those who simply want a different way to exercise.
Except for the athletes, the other groups will all require a physician's referral to use the pool and treadmill for physical therapy. Athletes will be able to use the pool and its resources for a cash fee.
The HydroWorx pool and treadmill is widely used by hospitals. Bass found many professional sports teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Fliers, representing three different sports, all made HydroWorx their choice. He visited several hospital facilities that use the HydroWorx system and liked what he saw.
"I have considerable back pain myself," Bass said. "When I was in the water, I ran pain free. I'm excited to use it."
The equipment offers a variable speed submerged treadmill with a video monitor to help patients adjust their stride. A jet system is available to provide resistance. HydroWorx offers a pool that has vertical walls, allowing up to four people in the pool at the same time, though Bass prefers to work with one or two at a time.
"The company has been around a long time. They're the best in the business," Bass said.
"The great thing is I can get people in here faster and they can progress to land-based exercise more quickly because they were able to start sooner," Bass continued. "The pool also has massage capability. You can use the jets to break scar tissue down so a patient can move. The implications are tremendous."
Temperatures in the pool will remain comfortably warm. Bass said patients will need to bring a swimsuit or can work out in gym clothes with their own water shoes.
Cox had previously approved the investment to add aquatic therapy. The economic downturn put the plans on hold. Bass said the change in economic conditions opened the door to construction at this time.
The aquatic wing will run most of the length of the east side of the Cox rehab building. There will be a separate ventilation system to confine the humidity and odor of a water-based operation to the addition.
"We're very excited to offer this new service," said Janell Patton, director of marketing and community relations for Cox Monett Hospital. "We will have open houses, especially for Monett High School coaches. Sports medicine is a tool that will help get their athletes back in the game. People have told us they want this therapy in Monett."
Previously patients have had to travel to Springfield to receive comparable therapy opportunities. Bass said he has four or five physicians call every week asking if aquatic therapy is available.
"We want to serve our clients the best we can right here," Bass said.
Bates and Associates is serving as architects on the project. Nabholz Client Services, of Springfield, is doing the construction. The pool will arrive on Dec. 17. The aquatic addition is expected to open in January 2013.
For more information, contact Cox Rehab and Sports Medicine at 417-236-2480.