Rim residents in need of pool work in their physical therapy now have easier access to the healing powers of water at Payson Physical Therapy.
Since June, PPT has had a very specialized lift system serving clients needing pool therapy.
The system was brought to PPT through the efforts of one of its clients, Allan LaMagna.
Seven years ago LaMagna, a Pine resident, was diagnosed with a Muscular Dystrophy disease, polymyocitus, a progressive weakening of the muscles. At the time he had an audio-visual business in the Valley and was building a home in Pine.
He sold the business, finished his home in Pine and became a Rim country resident.
"Things became harder and harder. My doctor advised me to get into pool exercises about the same time the Roundup had an article on PPT's pool (Jan. 2001)," he said.
With a background in engineering and mechanical design, he helped design the steps for the pool, but as his disease progressed, he could no longer use the stairs.
LaMagna researched mechanical lifts and talked to PPT's Scott Nossek about it, even arranging to have him and the other therapists see a video about the system.
"We put it in the week Scott was off," LaMagna said.
"What a treat to see it," Nossek added.
LaMagna said the day after it was installed, a lady came into PPT really needing pool therapy and a lift to make it accessible.
He said that was the main purpose of his efforts for PPT, to make the pool more accessible to more people.
"The pool is just a blessing. People come in and you see on their faces they'd like to get in it. So, now more can. The staff here are very compassionate with people. Without them I would have probably been in worse condition," LaMagna said.
Nossek said the biggest benefit the new lift provides is the ease with which the clients can get in and out of the pool.
"It is primarily for adult patients with paralysis or weakness in the lower half of their bodies, and some elderly with arthritic spines or hips," Nossek said.
With the addition of the lift, he expects to see more use of the pool.
"It helps us stand out as one of the physical therapy providers here. Not even too many in the Valley have this capability," Nossek said.
As for LaMagna, "Allan has been such an inspiration and good friend to all of us. He was instrumental in getting us this lift," Nossek said.
PPT had been considering another kind of lift, one which was semi-manual and anchored to the floor. Nossek said it would have worked, but it would have taken up much more space than the fully mechanical, ceiling mounted lift they have in place.
The life is called a "HandiMove" and it is manufactured by SureHands, which worked closely with PPT and LaMagna, even providing some discounts on the purchase.
For more information about the lift and all the services offered by PPT, call 474-0429.