Hydrotherapy: Fun in the Pool to Meet Goals

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Earlier this year, collaboration between Children’s Therapy Services, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Children’s Treatment Network and Royal Victoria Regional Heath Centre (RVH) provided a partnership that resulted in a very successful pilot of pool therapy (hydrotherapy) offered to CTN families that are receiving preschool physiotherapy in Simcoe County.

Hydrotherapy is a FUN way for children to work on a large variety of activities that move them towards meeting their mobility goals.  Working with both the support of the water and its resistance, the children work physically harder and can do it longer without tiring.  Pool activities are also great for developing core stability and the continuous sensory input that the water provides helps with body awareness.

The weekly block of time was secured in the RVH rehabilitation pool for preschool physiotherapist, Andrea Clelland and Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physiotherapy Assistant, Patricia Ervin of Children’s Therapy Services, to work with the children.  Prior to the opportunity, CTN clients drove to Southlake Regional Health Centre (SRHC) in Newmarket to access this service.  Sarah Bellman-Brown, physiotherapist at SRHC was very helpful with providing ideas for pool activities and equipment needed to get the program started.

Children participating in the program with high tone have tolerated their stretches more comfortably and have increased ease of movement due to relaxation of their muscles in the warm water.  It has also been observed that those who are working on goals of independent standing and stepping have been helped along by the distraction and buoyancy of the water.  One child has benefitted from the use of the pool as part of a post-operative exercise regime suggested by the Shriners Hospital in Montreal.

 I was very skeptical on potential benefits of pools therapy due to my daughters age, and inability to swim (she was simply a baby floater). However, we had great success with our therapists at physiotherapy, and would try anything for my girl.

- Steve, CTN Parent, shares his thoughts on the program

Due to the success of the pilot that started in the spring, the pool therapy program has continued, providing blocks of weekly sessions for 6 preschool children.  Referrals to this program for CTN families can be made by your child’s preschool physiotherapy team. 

Article submitted by Andrea Clelland, Physiotherapist, Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital.