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Lack of Accessible Physical Therapy? Not When It's Free!

Posted by Brian Spence on Oct 28, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Physical Therapy, Allied Health, Healthcare StaffingPhysical trauma, injury or surgery will often result in a diminished capacity to move. Rehabilitation after such events is imperative to maximum recovery. Stroke victims need intensive therapy to regain function. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to have adequate physical therapy sessions.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association: A lack of accessible physical therapy providers for medically underserved adults may impede access to those individuals most in need of services.

The Rutgers University School of Health Professions(SHP) is making an effort to address these needs. They are making it possible for people without financial resources to get the therapy they need...for free.

Students pursuing a doctorate at SHP are volunteering in a program to provide PT services to the community pro bono. Supervised by faculty from the Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences, these students see patients who would otherwise do without the physical therapy they need. Every Tuesday, people come to the Community Participation PT clinic to improve mobility, strength and coordination to help them negotiate the physical world. People like Ulises Mantilla, who suffered a stroke at only twenty-one.

Brain surgeries and medications caused complications that included partial paralysis of the right side of his body. Mantilla credits the free clinic at Rutgers for his recovery, "That's when my life began to change." He felt comfortable with the student therapists, who encouraged him to voice his concerns and didn't rush him. "They helped me understand what my body can do in spite of how I feel." His balance has improved and he no longer uses a cane.

Clinic director Sue Paparella-Pitzel says some of their patients suffer from mental illness or homelessness. “They are comfortable here because there is no judgment, no payments, no questions about living arrangements.” Mantilla is now at Rutgers studying neurobiology so that he can, "help improve the quality of life for others who suffer neurological trauma as I did.”

Positions in Physical Therapy and other Allied Health fields are waiting. For help in matching your talents to the right job, contact us.


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