This article originally appeared in the journal ADVANCE for Directors in Rehabilitation.
Choosing aquatic therapy programs isn't always easy, and therapists are often limited by the pools in their facilities. Having a versatile aquatic therapy pool can help solve your problem as more patients use this modality.
At our facility, we use the Endless Pool, which offers flexible treatment approaches for a wide range of aquatic therapy programs.
Therapists can work gently with patients with severe osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and reflex sympathetic dystrophy during one part of the day, and then work more rigorously with high level orthopedic patients at a different time.
The pool, manufactured by Endless Pools, Aston, Pa., offers therapists a versatile tool to rehab patients.
With severe patients, such as those with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, treatment begins seated on the bench inside the pool. Made of stainless steel, the bench is the appropriate height for patients to perform light range-of-motion exercises for all four extremities.
Eventually, the patient can move into the deep water for light activities, such as walking, non-weight-bearing kicking and balance activities. As patients progress in their aquatic therapy, we add devices such as swim noodles and foam weights to enhance strength.
The Endless Pool makes it easy to add low level (100 to 300 psi) current for light resistance. Patients start and end each session of aquatic therapy sitting for 5 to 10 minutes in front of the air jets for massage and pain-control effects.
Another feature of the aquatic therapy pool is the adjustable, graded current speed. Patients can exercise with resistance from 0 to 1,500 psi for all activities, while simultaneously increasing the speed of their exercises. This feature is ideal for aggressive, high-level orthopedic patients who need added resistance with increased speed of exercise.
In addition, the multiple features of the Endless Pool have been especially helpful for people with reflex sympathetic dystrophy because we can incorporate desensitization activities and massage soft tissue with air jets and light current.
The water pressure against the extremity helps reduce swelling; range of motion exercises in non-weight-bearing and partial weight bearing increase joint mobility.
The flexibility of the Endless Pool has made aquatic therapy more functional for all our patients. From air jets to customized water depth, Endless Pools help patients and therapists meet their goals in a one-combo solution.