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City of Spokane Valley, WA
Outpatient therapy the emphasis at new St. Luke’s site


News Editor



At first glance, the shelves, storage cabinets and cardboard boxes at the new St. Luke’s Outpatient Therapy Center in Spokane Valley seem to indicate the remnants of an unfinished move.

That is, until you talk with Diane Tapp, one of several physical therapists at the 2,400-square-foot site on Broadway Avenue between Argonne and Mullan roads.

St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute opened a new outpatient therapy center in Spokane Valley on Feb. 21. The 2,400-square-foot site is located between on Broadway Avenue between Argonne and Mullan. Photo by: Craig Howard

It turns out that every aspect of the terrain here – from the treadmill to the weights to the shelving – is connected to the venue’s goal of getting people back into a healthy routine. For those visitors who arrive with the aspiration of returning to work, a weighted cardboard box helps replicate a lifting task while an overhead structure provides a chance to work on reaching upward as an electrician might.

When it involves occupational therapy, Tapp said the mission “is about getting people back to work as soon as possible.”

“We’re trying to determine what would be safe to return to and just where they would be successful,” she said.

Sometimes, that may involve a change of jobs or scaling back on previous responsibilities through consultation with an assigned state vocational counselor. Tapp said the road back can include between four to seven hours a day of therapy.

“When people are not working, they get out of a routine and lose their sense of motivation,” Tapp said. “Studies have shown that the sooner people get back to work, the more successful they’ll be.”

The latest branch of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute officially opened on Feb. 21. Previously, an outpatient site was located just south of Valley Hospital and Medical Center. Tapp, who has worked as a physical therapist for the past 26 years, said the new venue has worked out well so far.

“It’s a really nice space with a lot of good light,” she said. “It’s also convenient for people to get to.”

In addition to patients addressing an agenda of occupational therapy, the site sees those who may be working their way back from a hip or knee replacement. The regimen of physical therapy also includes rehabilitation for sports injuries such as ACL surgery. A space that until recently housed an exercise equipment company now includes a handful of workout machines such as a treadmill and stationary bike.

Seniors who visit the venue learn about fall prevention by building strength and agility. The site can also address orthotics by casting for supportive devices like arch supports.

Types of treatment not available here – including neurological and psychological as well as speech therapy – can be outsourced to the St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center near downtown Spokane. The main location also includes a new resource called “Community” that features real-life applications such as retail settings and vehicles that help patients with the transition back from an injury.

Tapp said much of the approach – whether it involves helping an employee resume work or an athlete return to the court – centers around informed instruction.

“We’re trying to be objective and be a resource,” Tapp said. “Sometimes it’s just lack of education, involving something basic like poor posture. We’re giving them strategies to be successful.

TheSpokane Valley News Herald
is the City of Spokane Valley, Washington's official Newspaper. The City Council of the City of Spokane Valley, Washington named the Spokane Valley News Herald as the city's "official" newspaper. The designation means the Spokane Valley News Herald will publish the city's legal notices on a contract basis for one year.

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