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Aquatic Center Reopens - December 2002

The Rehabilitation Center for Children and Adults recently celebrated the re-opening of the newly renovated indoor heated therapeutic pool. Following the Board of Governor's meeting in December, a bubble-machine highlighted the ribbon cutting ceremony that was similar to the first dedication thirty-six years ago. Founded in 1940, the Rehabilitation Center has continued with the same mission dedicated to improve peoples' physical function, communication and independence. Licensed staff provides professional physical, occupational and speech therapy, and the pool has been an important adjunct to meeting treatment goals.

In 1966, then Board President Mrs. Page (Frances) Hufty recalls that Mrs. Samuel (Goldie) Paley presented a gift to construct a building west of the existing site on Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach. The Rovensky family donated the land and a federal grant helped make the Paley gift even more significant. This created the 3-story Samuel Paley Pavilion including a large therapeutic pool, preschool classroom, speech-language pathology clinic and medical director treatment areas.

Executive Director Pam Henderson shares, "I remember so many physical therapists providing excellent care in the pool during the 1970's and '80's." Then the utilization of the facility dramatically changed in the 1990's when therapeutic recreation specialists initiated several of the current aquatic wellness programs. After so many years, the pool's timeworn piping and seasoned structure required updating to the newest equipment. Many devoted friends again gathered in support of this major renovation. A bequest from the estate of Dorothy Munn made the project a reality. Connie Purcell volunteered her leadership, which resulted in an aesthetically pleasing design. The teal color scheme was chosen to complement the unique wall sculpture commissioned by Andree Lindow. Architect Hap Lewis and General Contractor Greg Lewis, with a long history of family support, planned and completed the functionally modernized aquatic center. Current Board President Brad Greer is pleased that this upgraded facility will enhance the Rehabilitation Center's patient care.

The pool's improvements and new safety conveniences continue the Center's primary focus on rehabilitation. Physical Therapy Director Ellen O'Bannon explains that the water is heated close to body temperature to help improve circulation, flexibility and range of motion. In addition to the railed steps, a lift is provided for safe, easy and dignified pool entry. Pool exercise may be recommended for people with walking, balance or motion problems. Medical Advisory Council Chairman Dr. John Whelton states that patients with arthritis report reduced pain and increased movement. People feel comfortable and secure with the gradual slope that reaches a maximum depth of four feet. With a grant from the Quantum Foundation, Water Safety Instructor Dawn Favia provides aquatic programs for children with special needs. Geographically convenient for Palm Beach residents and businesses, the Rehabilitation Center educates people that, as consumers, they may choose where they go for therapy. If aquatic therapy might be beneficial, patients may ask their physician for a referral. The Rehabilitation Center for Children and Adults encourages anyone to come by for a first-hand look at the new aquatic center. They'll even provide the towels! For more information, call 655-7266.


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