New Aquatic Physical Therapy Program Offered by HackensackUMC Receives Rave Reviews from Patient

September 22, 2014 11:11 AM
Kenneth Oliver, of Rutherford, who had surgery to reattach the tendon to his knee, is taking part in the aquatic physical therapy program at the Debra Simon Center for Integrated Medicine at HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellnessas part of his recovery.

On a cold day in January, the unthinkable happened to Kenneth Oliver.  The 71-year-old stepped out his front door onto the front stoop of his Rutherford home and slipped on ice. He fell down five stairs, which resulted in a quadriceps tendon tear in his left leg. As part of his pre-operation evaluation, Kenneth was found to have significant cardiac disease which required open heart surgery.  After that procedure was complete, Kenneth had surgery to reattach the tendon to his knee in April.

“I was in a soft cast for six weeks after the operation,” said Kenneth.  “When it was time to remove the cast, I had no strength in my left leg and I could barely bend it.”

Kenneth needed physical therapy to regain the full use of his leg.  His doctor, Yair Kissin, M.D., attending orthopedic surgeon at HackensackUMC, suggested a new therapy program being offered at HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness Powered by the Giants in Maywood to help optimize his recovery.  In June, Kenneth began the aquatic physical therapy program.  After only four weeks, going to aquatic therapy two times a week, Kenneth says his progress has been nothing short of amazing.

“In just one month I am 80 percent back already,” said Kenneth. “My mobility has improved tremendously, as I can walk upstairs and drive. I really feel aquatic physical therapy has helped me to recover faster.  The warm, saltwater really helps loosen up the muscles and being in the pool is so much easier on the body and I feel less strain while I am doing the exercises.  It has helped me tremendously.  The pool is just fabulous.”

“Despite Kenneth’s knee surgery being delayed because of his cardiac condition, his physical therapy is going really well and he progressed ahead of schedule in both range of motion and strength,” said Yair Kissin, M.D.   “Both he and I are very pleased with his recovery and I think that aquatic physical therapy has been instrumental in his amazing progress. He could not stop talking about it at his last visit.”

The aquatic physical therapy program, part of the Debra Simon Center for Integrated Medicine at HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness, began June 2 and is one of only a handful of such programs in North Jersey.  The program utilizes two salt water pools:   the lap pool - which is kept at 82 degrees and is 25 yards in length with eight lanes, and the aquatic pool - which is kept at 92 degrees and measures        15 feet x 20 feet.

Aquatic physical therapy is available Monday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Currently, there are three physical therapists providing aquatic therapy. They are: Ellen Ryan, PT, therapy supervisor; Marina Vaccaro, PT, senior physical therapist; and Christina Polga, PT, who recently joined the HackensackUMC team with prior extensive aquatic therapy experience.  

“The water allows Kenneth to perform exercises with increased ease and decreased pain, therefore increasing his strength and range of motion,” said Ellen Ryan, PT, therapy supervisor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at HackensackUMC. “Kenneth feels that participating in the aquatic physical therapy program has made his progress quicker than expected since he can do a lot more exercises in the water without strain.”

Kenneth will continue with the aquatic physical therapy for several more weeks until his leg is fully healed. He says he looks forward to each and every session. “I would recommend the aquatic physical therapy program at HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness to anyone. In fact, I am the one telling others that they too should get into the pool in order to heal faster.”

Aquatic physical therapy is beneficial for a wide range of orthopedic conditions including back surgeries and surgeries involving the shoulder or lower extremity. It is also helpful for people who have systemic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, for whom exercising in the warm water and utilizing the buoyancy is helpful. Patients with neurological conditions can also benefit from aquatic therapy, including those in the beginning to moderate stages of ALS.

HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness Powered by the Giants is located at 87 Route 17 North in Maywood, NJ. For more information on the Aquatic Physical Therapy program, please call 551-996-2512.

Caption:  Kenneth Oliver, of Rutherford, who had surgery to reattach the tendon to his knee, is taking part in the aquatic physical therapy program at the Debra Simon Center for Integrated Medicine at HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellnessas part of his recovery.  Ellen Ryan, PT, therapy supervisor at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at HackensackUMC works with Kenneth on various exercises in the pool to help him strengthen his leg.

About Hackensack University Medical Center

HackensackUMC, a nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,250 beds, nearly 10,000 employees and 2,700 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospital rankings for 2014-15. It is one of the top 30 hospitals in the nation by receiving 11 national specialty rankings, including a national ranking for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Neurology and Neurosurgery in the 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals. The children’s hospital is housed with the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital in the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center, and was included on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is among Healthgrades® America’s Best 100 Hospitals in five different areas, is one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ for eight years in a row, and received the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 12 years in a row. The medical center has also been named a Leapfrog Top Hospital, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament and the NY/NJ Super Bowl XLV111 Host Committee. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit:  




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