Kettering Health starting physical therapy residency program at NeuroRehab and Balance Center

May 20—The Kettering Health NeuroRehab and Balance Center is bringing the first neurologic physical therapy residency program to the Dayton region, tentatively scheduled to start this summer.

"There is a great need for neurologic physical therapy among patients living in rural areas who are currently facing lengthy travel times," said Erika Rollyson, a neurologic clinical specialist at Kettering Health.

The residency program will train neurologic physical therapists as part of an ongoing effort to expand neurological physical therapy into rural areas by increasing the number of physical therapists equipped to provide this specialty care.

"The goal is to have more highly skilled and highly trained neurologic physical therapists to better meet the needs of the community," Rollyson said.

Neurologic physical therapy helps patients with neurologic and vestibular disorders improve muscle control, strength, walking, coordination, dizziness, functional mobility and balance, according to the NeuroRehab and Balance Center.

The grant was awarded by the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy, one of the fastest growing sections of the American Physical Therapy Association, which is utilizing physical therapy to optimize movement and wellbeing for those at risk for or impacted by neurologic conditions.

"This funding from the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy has assisted us in putting a program in place that will not only usher in a new wave of advanced care providers but will also help us meet a community need," Rollyson said.

Kettering Health's NeuroRehab and Balance Center sees patients who have had strokes or conditions like Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, concussions, spinal cord injuries and ALS, Rollyson said.

"Over half of our referrals are for the elderly population," Rollyson said. Many of their patients suffer from balance issues and frequent falls, so they treat potential underlying conditions, she said.

"We're also the only clinic in the Dayton area that has a comprehensive driving rehabilitation program," Rollyson said.

The goal of the driving rehabilitation program is to facilitate a return to driving for people in need of modifications, she said. Examples include people with spinal cord injuries in need of hand controls or people among the aging population who need to make adjustments based on changes that have happened to their bodies, she said, whether from neurologic conditions or general aging.

Throughout the one-year program, residents will do clinical rotations in multiple Kettering Health medical centers, including Kettering Health Hamilton, Kettering Health Main Campus and the NeuroRehab and Balance Center at Kettering Health Washington Tw

Skilled physical therapists will mentor residents in the program, Kettering Health said. Residents will have opportunities to observe with specialty physician clinics and participate in extensive training to gain comprehensive hands-on experience.