Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

New era for rehab in Echuca

Echuca Regional Health opened its first rehabilitation unit last week with the first patients moving in on Thursday and Friday.

RHIANNON HORRELL August 26, 2014 2:00am

Patient Betty Burgess with Nicole Koch and Bryony Younghusband

Echuca Regional Health opened its first rehabilitation unit last week with the first patients moving in on Thursday and Friday.

Before the unit was commissioned, local patients were forced to Bendigo, Shepparton or a metropolitan hospital for the support work they needed.

The sparkling new facility has 16 beds, a mobility garden with different surfaces, fully-equipped gym and a kitchen for patients to practise cooking.

Rehab nurse unit manager Denise Gowty said 11 patients had already moved in.

‘‘It’s very exciting. We’ve also got a really innovative new IT system in place,’’ she said.

She said this included patient flow technology and bedside computers which allow doctors to access a range of patient information.

‘‘We’ve got a new specialist geriatrician on board too,’’ she said.

Allied Health leader Misty Howard said a special program around lifestyle and leisure was in the pipeline.

Ms Howard said the new unit — which has employed about 16 new staff — included physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech pathologists, dieticians and allied health assistants.

‘‘It’s a real team-based approach. It’s taking things to the next level and the objective is achieving good outcomes for clients,’’ she said.

And there was no stopping the praise from Barham resident and knee replacement patient Betty Burgess, one of the first patients to try out the unit.

‘‘It’s fabulous — I can’t speak highly enough of it,’’ she said.

‘‘Everybody has treated me so well. People don’t always appreciate the good things that happen.’’

‘‘The staff, the attention, the nursing, the doctors — I couldn’t ask for more. Every little whim is catered for.

‘‘I feel a lot better. There’s a lot of country people who have to go miles to get any attention.

‘‘This service (in Echuca) is great.’’

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