MANCHESTER — Now available at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Northshire Campus is a physical therapy service three days a week from Holly McKenzie, who is the primary physical therapy team leader for the hospital.
Whether distance or the ability to travel to Bennington was the reason for demand in the area, McKenzie said there is a large population that needs physical therapy in the northshire.
McKenzie has been with SVMC for eight years. She started in acute care and then became the physical therapy team leader. She oversees all other physical therapists, in which there are four with two physical therapy assistants.
The team leader received her doctorate in physical therapy from Utica College and is currently the primary physical therapist at the northshire location with no plans to expand or add another.
The most common cases McKenzie treats regard orthopedics, shoulder issues, sports related injuries and those in pediatrics.
"I see a wide variety," she said. "Probably two to three teens, but mostly middle aged to older patients."
Physical therapists are "licensed health care professionals" who assist patients with reducing pain or by improving and restoring mobility without the modification of surgery, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Other practices include outpatient clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing or extended care facilities, homes, research centers, schools, hospices, workplaces and fitness centers.
If an appointment can't be made at the northern location, McKenzie said her team can still see patients at the Bennington location.
"I'm pleased with the startup of the program," she said. "For the first two months we had to expand, but it's exciting and rewarding."
Currently, McKenzie works two and a half days at both locations, so appointments can be made at the northshire location for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
"I do have people booking out and scheduled for the next two weeks," she said.
Despite past qualifications of physical therapists only receiving a bachelor's degree to practice, McKenzie said that now a doctorate is necessary with a total of six or more years of schooling.
She explained that most practices can provide direct access instead of working under a referral from a doctor, but folks can come without one, with the understanding of paying themselves. SVMC physical therapy allows both procedures, but it also varies on a patient's insurance coverage.
McKenzie grew up in Pawlet, but now lives in Granville, N.Y., making the Manchester addition a more convenient commute for her.
For more information visit svhealthcare.org.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.