PM&R patients benefit from annual picnic

June 22, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Michigan Medicine News

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For one day, the Michigan Medicine Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation extended its inpatient treatment reach to the bridges, waterways, fields and facilities of Island Park in Ann Arbor.

The 8th annual inpatient rehabilitation picnic gave department faculty and staff a chance to interact with patients outside of the hospital in a world many of them did not have the chance to explore during their rehabilitation.

Tabitha Bohnsack, the inpatient rehabilitation admissions coordinator, said events like the picnic — which was held in early June — help to level the playing field between patients and health care providers.

She also said being outside breaks up the monotony of the hospital where patients can become too focused on their treatment.

“Coming together in a place that’s not the hospital, it’s very therapeutic,” Bohnsack said.

Many of the patients at the picnic were avid fans of the outdoors before finding themselves in the hospital — and hoped to get back to it when their treatment was done.

Stephen Frey, from Grand Blanc, Michigan, saw the picnic as a way to test his skills and see how he’d handle outdoor activities.

“We like to do picnics,” Frey said, while tossing a bean bag back-and-forth with his family. “It’s nice to have the sun beat on your face a little bit.”

His wife, Tamara, echoed her husband’s feelings: “Just knowing he can do this is so important,” she said.

Cam Simon, a 12-year old from Springport, Michigan, was at the picnic with his grandmother, Peggy Roop, and his PM&R physical therapist, Mandi Otis.

Roop said getting out of the hospital was extremely beneficial.

“Even though he’s working, he’s having fun,” she said.

Later that afternoon, Cam had the chance to go fishing.

On the other end of the bridge, Peyton Thomas was fishing from a wheelchair alongside her dad, Ryan, who was also in a wheelchair. Both were injured in the same car accident.

Joseph Hornyak, M.D. the medical director of pediatric acute inpatient rehabilitation, was trying to talk Peyton into putting her own worm on the hook. Peyton’s mother Ellexsix reinforced the social — as well as the therapeutic — benefits of being outside for her daughter.

“She’s doing things she hasn’t been able to do in the last 100 days,” she said.

For more information about the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, its pediatric and adult acute inpatient rehabilitation programs, and how to support programs like the annual picnic, visit the department website.

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