NORTH CREEK - If you ask people where the nearest outpatient physical therapy facility is, chances are you will be directed toward Warrensburg or even Glens Falls.
But the staff of the Adirondack Tri-County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center's Outpatient Physical Therapy Facility would like to change that perception.
After 25 years of continuous service to the region, they remain one of the center's "best kept secrets," in spite of their success.
"We want to let people know that there is a clinic right in North Creek and they don't have to drive all the way down to Warrensburg or Glens Falls," said Mandy Savarie, physical therapist assistant (PTA). "We have a well-equipped facility right here in the North Country."
Patients from areas throughout the tri-county region, including distant points such as Blue Mountain Lake, Long Lake, and Speculator, regularly take advantage of the facility's extensive resources and expertly trained staff.
The facility is equipped to treat patients ranging from adolescents to seniors across a wide range of physical ailments.
Savarie has been a PTA in North Creek for the last two years and looks forward to helping expand the program.
Together with Diana Dymond-Burns, physical therapist (PT), and Karen Ash, PT, the trio occasionally relies on the expertise of the facility's two inpatient therapists, Sarah Dean, DPT, and Christy Yaddow, PTA.
"We care for people with many different diagnosis from arthritic diseases to sports or work injuries, back ailments, post-surgical rehabilitation, and much more," Savarie noted.
Patients can arrange a visit through their primary care physician just like any other referral process.
New patients receive an initial evaluation by a physical therapist who will work with the patient to create an extensive rehabilitation program. From there, a basic course of care will be established and followed. The PTA's are responsible for administering the program and making adjustments as required.
While the program has been successful, the outpatient staff looks forward to some gradual growth.
Future plans include an expansion into a larger facility, the addition of equipment, a larger staff and evening hours for the convenience of patients.
"We want to be able to offer more than we have," Savarie commented. "But necessity is the mother of invention and we have found unique ways to help people heal."
By expanding, the staff hopes to increase the quality of care for its diverse group of current and future patients.
"Our impression is that our services are not very well known in the surrounding communities," Savarie said. "We will have someone come in from Bakers Mills for instance and tell us that they had no idea we offered outpatient physical therapy.
"I think people just assume that they have to go to Glens Falls for these services," she continued. "We're right here next door, and we don't want people to think that they have to travel all that way for health care."
The typical patient will initially visit a physical therapist two or three times a week, which adds considerable travel expense to their overall cost of care.
Beyond the convenience of a local facility, the group also focuses on patient care as their primary motivator.
"It's a real home town feel here," Savarie said. "Very often we know the person coming in or we know someone in common. There's a family feel or camaraderie because we know the person we are treating or they know you."
With that in mind, Savarie also gains satisfaction from directly seeing their impact on the community.
"This can be a very satisfying role," she concluded. "We get to watch people walk out and thank us for helping them to feel better.
"We don't feel we are responsible for healing people but we do believe in helping to facilitate wellness," Savarie added.
For more information, contact ATCNRC at 251-2447. They are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.