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Speake and Dunbar receive Oncology Rehabilitation Certification

Speake and Dunbar receive Oncology Rehabilitation Certification

There are currently 12 million cancer survivors in the United States, and in West Plains, over 400 new patients began treatment at Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) Cancer Treatment Center in 2015. The need for comprehensive care for patients with cancer has become profoundly important. OMC has responded to this need by offering a comprehensive Oncology Rehabilitation Program.

The OMC Oncology Rehabilitation Program is focused on providing rehabilitative programs for patients with all types of cancer diagnoses and in all phases of treatment. The goal of the program is to help the cancer patient obtain maximal physical, social, psychological, and vocational functioning. The program involves restoring health and wellness to patients living through cancer, and living after cancer. The program focuses on decreasing side effects of chemotherapy and radiation and maximizing patients’ level of function as they progress through and recover from treatment.

An Oncology exercise program is available to help the patient work on core issues of decreased aerobic activity, decreased muscle strength, fatigue, and impaired physical functioning. Even for patients being treated on a palliative basis, oncology rehab programs nation-wide have improved Quality of Life survey scores by as much as 64%.

Two physical therapists from OMC Rehabilitation Services have recently been certified in Oncology Rehabilitation. Theresa Speake PT,CLT has been a therapist at OMC for 25 years. She received her BS in Biology at Truman State in 1988, and her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy in 1990 at the University of Missouri. She has been a certified Lymphedema Therapist since 2000, and received her Oncology Rehabilitation Certification in February 2015.

Julie Dunbar MSPT,CLT has been at OMC for 13 years. A graduate from the University of Central Arkansas in 1995, she received her lymphedema certification in 2006, and Oncology Rehabilitation Specialty in May of 2015.

OMC Rehabilitation Services employs four therapists who are certified in the management of lymphedema, however the goal is to prevent lymphedema from occurring. Seeing a patient prior to a cancer surgery allows the patient to be educated about the early warning signs of lymphedema. Also, post-surgery appointments educate the patient in self-management techniques to remove excess fluid from the area to prevent lymphedema, and appropriate exercises to regain range of motion.

In addition, OMC Rehabilitation Services has Speech Language Pathologists trained in Myofascial Release, specifically for the patients with cancers of the head and neck, to assist in improving their ability to swallow or changes in voice quality due to surgery and/or radiation.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact OMC Rehabilitation Services at 417-257-5959.

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