A Great Bend native is the new Therapy Services manager at Cherry Village Benevolence, where she is working with colleagues to find the best ways to improve the residents’ quality of life.
Kim Rockhold, a 1982 Great Bend High School graduate, recently joined the in-house therapy team at the long- and short-term-care facility, 1401 Cherry Lane. Cherry Village is a non-profit entity.
Rockhold is a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). Her team includes physical, occupational and speech/language therapists.
In addition to seeing patients for regular, doctor-ordered treatment regimens, the therapists collaborate with the nursing staff on day-to-day issues.
“For example, we can combine our skills with those of the nurses and aides to help transfer a resident from a bed to a chair,” Rockhold explained. “Sometimes residents are apprehensive and this teamwork makes them more comfortable.”
Residents seek therapy for a variety of reasons, which include rehabilitation after a stroke, knee or hip replacements, or other injuries and illnesses.
“We can help when someone is being released from the hospital after any type of illness or injury,” Rockhold commented. “In some cases, the patient isn’t ready to go home just yet. We can bridge that gap.
“Our physical and occupational therapies will improve strength, coordination and balance, while our speech therapist can help with cognitive and swallowing issues,” she added. “This can often be accomplished in a fairly short amount of time to enhance quality of life.”
Residents are sometimes resistant to therapy, Rockhold acknowledged. “They might even think it’s a bit silly and a waste of time. For instance, they might ask why they have to toss a ball. We explain that it’s good for balance, strength and eye-hand coordination.
“And then they start to see improvement and are encouraged,” she continued. “They learn that being stronger means more independence and the ability to perform daily tasks such as getting dressed on their own.”
Cherry Village therapists evaluate each new resident to learn about their condition. “Maybe they don’t have a good range of shoulder motion or they fall for no apparent reason,” Rockhold said. “We don’t want the situation to get worse.”
When a resident is strong enough to be released, the staff performs in-home evaluations. They take note of: steps; floor coverings; shower and bath layout; lighting; and access to laundry facilities.
“We might suggest a railing be installed or an area rug be removed,” Rockhold explained. “We might also mention grab bars or a shower chair. These are only suggestions; we don’t make actual changes.”
Rockhold also noted that Therapy Services offers a large, comfortable area for treatment. It has more than 1,500 square feet and houses up-to-date equipment.
Rockhold graduated from the Occupational Therapy Program at Barton Community College in 1998 and has been a COTA ever since at several facilities in central Kansas.
A local family has managed Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, since it opened in 1978. It is a non-profit facility.