Clearwater Valley Hospital has been participating in a swing bed program for years now, but it just got better! What is swing bed? Swing bed is a Medicare program that allows patients who are not ready to go home after an acute hospital stay to transition to a rehabilitation status.

In some circumstances, when a patient is no longer acutely ill, but they are not ready to go home, they will transition to a skilled nursing facility for further rehabilitation. This means picking a skilled nursing facility, moving in, and living there while the patient works with a rehabilitation team. This is a great option for some patients.

At Clearwater Valley Hospital, our patients have the option of staying with us and not moving for their rehabilitation if they are not ready to go home. The benefits of this “in-hospital” program are that the patient will have 24 hours nursing with physician on staff.

A daily visit from the hospitalist physician as well as in house lab, radiology, and other monitoring as needed. Patients have already established rapport with staff and their therapist and get to work on getting stronger and independent while staying in or near their home town.

Therapists have a knack of being creative and performing therapy with the tools that we have accessible to us. Because space has historically been a limiting factor, we have used the patient’s room, the hallways, and a small amount of tools to help our patients reach their goals.

Our job is to enable our patients to reach their goals and this can be done more efficiently and effectively using equipment and technology in most cases. We did not have a therapy gym in our little hospital until now.

My name is Kristy Skowlund. I am an Occupational Therapist and have worked at Clearwater Valley Hospital full time for threeyears now. An Occupational Therapist (also called an OT) is an important member of the rehabilitation team, charged with helping individuals get back to doing their activities of daily living (getting dressed, showering, brushing their teeth, etc. ) as well as housework, shopping, medication management, financial management, driving, work, and helping people get back to leisure and social activities.

Along with Physical and Speech therapy, we can treat the “whole person”. We are very lucky to have a full therapy team at Clearwater Valley Hospital so that our patients get the treatment that they need within our walls.

I learned about the Elk’s Community Rehabilitation Grant from my manager, Chris Roach. We felt that the overarching goals of this initiative aligned perfectly with our therapy goals. In October of 2019, we were awarded the $10,000 grant to update our previous solarium space into an inpatient therapy gym.

The Idaho Elks Community Rehabilitation Grant is a competitive grant that is given to organizations who have the goal to, “help communities address unmet physical rehabilitation needs to optimize the functional independence of their citizens”.

If I have learned one thing about living in Idaho, it is that Idahoans are independent and need to be functional to live in this beautiful and rugged environment.

Our aging population is thriving because they continue to garden, chop wood, hike their property, work with livestock, and take full advantage of this outdoor playground in which we live.

Our residents want to return home after a hospital stay and as their hometown medical team we are here to work one-on-one with our patients to help them reach those goals.

While healing at home, patients are able to participate in their daily tasks such as housekeeping, laundry, cooking, and gardening. Developing routines that keep us moving provide a higher level of self-efficacy and quality of life.

Residents of Orofino have worked their whole lives to have the ranches, homes, and properties of their dreams, and they want to return home to heal. As a therapist, I am here to help people reach their goals and get them back to doing the activities they love!

Thanks to the funding from the Elks Community Rehabilitation Grant, in cooperation with Clearwater Valley Hospital, our communities can benefit from a 500 square foot dynamic therapy space with exercise equipment and state of the art technology to give our patients the best rehabilitation opportunity possible. In addition to renovations, we also purchased two pieces of exercise equipment; a NuStep and a SciFit to work on endurance and range of motion.

We also purchased a smart TV with therapy apps, Nintendo Wii balance and fitness program, and Flint rehab’s music glove for stroke rehabilitation. These new tools, combined with our existing therapy tools, afford us the opportunity to provide therapy to our patients that is on par with what is offered in big cities.

Clearwater Valley Hospital’s mission is to promote “Healthy Families, Fulfilled Lives”. We are now better equipped to help you heal close to home, and get you back to living that happy, healthy and fulfilled life sooner!

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