The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium hosted an open house Friday afternoon, inviting Juneau residents to explore its new expanded physical rehabilitation clinic in the Mendenhall Valley at the old Armory Log Cabin on Crest Street. It originally opened at the end of October and replaced the old facility previously located in the basement portion of the Ethel Lund Medical Center.
The facility offers physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology for both adults and children, and offers a number of other expanded services such as dry needling, massage therapy and pre/postnatal care as well.
According to Bill Spivey, Director of rehab services for SEARHC consortiums across Southeast Alaska, the facility was purchased around three months ago and converted into the space during that period. That involved dismounting multiple taxidermy animals mounted across the walls and posts of the building from the previous business at the location, Juneau Mercantile, and Armory.
The facility is an expansion from SEARHC’s previous facility and it offers a gym nearly double the size, includes three more treatment rooms and a separate pediatric facility within the upstairs space.
According to Kathleen Hansen, the rehabilitation services manager and an occupational therapist at the facility, wait times for an appointment often took up to a month at the previous facility, however, since opening the period has been cut in half to around two weeks.
Spivey said although the new facility was able to welcome three new staff members who have contributed to the increase in availability at the facility, he noted that there is an overall increased need for physical rehabilitation services happening across Southeast Alaska in recent years, which has made providing quick and accessible care to patients more of a challenge.
Spivey attributed the spike in patients’ increased service needs to the aging population in Southeast Alaska, along with more recognition for pediatric services and the overall shortage of physical rehabilitation providers happening nationwide.
SEARHC is open to increasing the number of providers at the facility, according to Hansen and Spivey, but they said it can often take around four months from when a person is hired to when they begin the job, and it could be a bit of time before more staffing is offered.
Hansen and Spivey said they are excited to provide more services to Juneau residents, and encouraged residents to reach out with any questions about the facility or what services it offers.
“Our services are open to all members of the community and we’re here to meet their needs,” Hansen said.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at email@example.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.