A few years ago, a cancer patient living in Wood River would have had limited options for rehabilitation to treat symptoms of chemotherapy or radiation.
Expanded oncology rehabilitation services at St. Luke’s now make it easier for patients to find the care they need without traveling far from home.
Oncology rehabilitation, which includes speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy, is a research-proven resource for patients receiving treatment for cancer, according to Adam Henson, St. Luke’s clinical rehabilitation program coordinator and a physical therapist who specializes in cancer rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation has multiple benefits. It can address chemotherapy symptoms such as fatigue and weakness and can also prevent the onset of a lifelong condition called lymphedema (swelling of the arms and legs that is caused by certain cancers). Rehabilitation makes it possible for people to perform daily activities many people take for granted, such as reaching for a dinner plate in a kitchen cupboard or lifting a baby from a crib.
Henson saw the value in expanding that service within all areas where cancer care was offered at St. Luke’s. The program has been expanding since October 2016, and services are now available in Ketchum, Twin Falls, Boise, Eagle, Meridian and Caldwell.
“Rehab needs to be convenient,” Henson said. “That was our goal, to get therapists as close to every geographic location as we could.”
For many patients, rehabilitation can be empowering during a turbulent time in their lives.“This is the one thing they can control,” Henson said. “This is a huge win for them.”
Chereen Langrill was formerly a communications coordinator for St. Luke’s Health System.