BRMC Physical Rehabilitation Unit celebrates 20 years
Baptist Regional Medical Center's Physical Rehabilitation Department celebrated its 20th anniversary recently during a special community open house, and officials with the hospital promised to continue the program for many years to come.
BRMC started its Physical Rehabilitation Unit in 1992 where Oak Tree Hospital currently resides. It was moved eight years ago to its currently location.
Dayla Saylor, a Marketing Specialist for the rehab unit, said she started working there in 1999 and has been overwhelmed by the number of people whose lives have been improved because of the services it provides.
"We strive to work together with families to provide individualized plans of care for our patients so they can get better and perform those activities of daily living that they did before their accident, injury or illness," Saylor told the gathering of hospital officials, community leaders and others.
There was no shortage of testimony from those who have been helped by the unit.
Debbie Hibbard, a currently employee at BRMC, came to Baptist Physical Rehabilitation in 1992 as a result of a stroke. At the time she was only 30-years-old and had a four-year-old daughter - powerful motivation to get well and resume her daily life.
"I always think of it as the Lord spared my life, and the rehab gave me back my life," Hibbard said. "It really was a blessing in my life. They treated me like family."
At the time, Hibbard was studying at a community college in Harlan to be a Respiratory Therapist. She awoke one morning with what she thought was a bad sinus headache. Then she noticed her left hand was numb. She finally told her mother and was brought to Baptist Regional Medical Center, and then transferred to Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington where it was determined that birth control medication she was taking was the likely cause of the stroke. She had to have therapy on her left arm, leg, eye and mouth to help her speak.
Doctors initially wanted her to do physical therapy in Lexington, but she wanted to be closer to home. BRMC's Physical Rehabilitation unit was a great option.
One of the most powerful moments of the ceremony came when Lily Volunteer Fireman Brian Barker told his story of how a rare affliction caused him to be paralyzed from the neck down. He still has some trouble with balance, but through BRMC's rehab unit he has been able to almost fully recover.
"I had a hard time and everybody was really encouraging," Barker said.
Clearly emotional, Barker also paid tribute to his mother who has been with him during the entire rehab process.
"Not everyone is fortunate enough to have somebody like that," he said.
Toward the end of the ceremony, former BRMC employee Beulah Penn was honored for her commitment to the Rehab Unit. Vernon Taylor, Rehab Nursing Manager, credited Penn with essentially getting the unit off the ground to begin with.
Penn worked for BRMC for 16 years.
Refreshments and a tour of the facility were provided at the end of the official program.
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