Historically, RVNAhealth has served a predominately ‘mature’ crowd, representative of many of those in need of visiting nursing and rehabilitation for illness and injury. But over the decades, as we all began to realize that prevention is as important as treatment, RVNAhealth has added numerous services and programs appropriate for all ages — well child physicals and immunizations, flu shots, travel health, and Nurse-Family Partnership to name a few.
So now it’s not uncommon to see youthful faces on premises and at our clinics and programs. And it’s still always a delight. Recently, we spied Ridgefield High School senior, Samantha (Sammi) McLemore in the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center keeping pace on the treadmill.
Sammi, who has been running for four years, was at RVNAhealth for a running assessment with Kate Campbell, DPT, hoping to get some insight into a recurring injury that wasn’t going away. “I had no idea what I was doing wrong,” she explains, “and how I could strengthen my weaknesses to avoid future injury.” Sammi came to RVNAhealth to get to the root of the problem.
“I learned which muscle was the cause of my pain and how to address my problem. The exercises and personal plan I received will set me on a path to recovery and injury-free running!,” she says. “Also, it was really helpful to go over the exercises in person and see the pictures that illustrated how my form was hurting rather than helping my running.”
“It’s always inspiring to work with athletes, but runners have a special sensibility,” says physical therapist Kate Campbell, whose focus is on comprehensive sports injury therapy and prevention education and programming. “They are extremely motivated to address an injury or issue, so they can return to full form. Not running for an extended length of time, is not an appealing option for them.”
But a runner needn’t wait for an injury to get a running assessment. “I would completely recommend going for an analysis even if you aren’t injured,” say Sammi, “to see what you can do to prevent future injuries and fix any problems!”
The Rotary Club of Ridgefield recently renewed its support of RVNAhealth with a $7,000 grant to support the organization’s COVID-19 community response initiatives.* RVNAhealth began vaccinating the public on January 11th and has distributed nearly 15,000 vaccines to date. The funds will be used to help cover the tremendous costs associated with vaccine administration and running the clinic at Yanity Gym.
“RVNAhealth is very fortunate to receive this grant from The Rotary Club of Ridgefield, a portion of which was matched by Rotary District 7980,” shares MJ Heller, Director of Philanthropy at RVNAhealth. “We have incurred a significant amount of unbudgeted expenses throughout this pandemic and the response from The Rotary Club has been truly amazing. In addition to their financial support, the Rotarians have been very generous with PPE donations from the start and have volunteered their time and expertise, as well. We really are humbled by their unwavering support.”
As the public vaccination clinics begin to wind down this month, RVNAhealth will now shift its attention to vaccinating the homebound, as well as underserved communities where obstacles, such as time, transportation, information, and access, are preventing people from getting the vaccine.
If you are interested in supporting RVNAhealth’s public health initiatives, please visit rvnahealth.org/support-us.
*Pictured at the grant presentation: Dr. Joseph Cleary (Rotarian), Theresa Santoro and MJ Heller of RVNAhealth, and Rainer Gonet (Rotarian)
The hallways of the RVNAhealth building in Ridgefield are graced with awards, press stories, posters, and photographs commemorating our 100+ years of service. Among our favorites is the image at left: RVNAhealth nurse, Claire Kirby, RN, now 93 years old, tending to a darling newborn and sharing a tip or two with the baby’s mom. After passing this poster for the 1000th time, someone had the presence of mind to ask …. Who’s the baby?
Claire Kirby, who is no long working for RVNAhealth but remains a close friend, can’t quite remember the name, but does recall that it was a Ridgefield family. We’re guessing the photo was taken in the 1980’s/early 90s, but our detective skills are rusty.
Thus, we invite you, our friends and readers, to help us figure it out. Share the image, ask your friends, employ your favorite forensics wallpaper experts … surely somebody will know!
Tips, clues, guesses to marketing@RVNAhealth.org.
From April 24 – 30, RVNAhealth held Healthy Happy Days, our first-ever peer fundraising initiative. We are happy to report that we exceeded our goal by more than $10,000! In total, $57,150 was raised from 192 supporters to help defray the costs of bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to our homebound neighbors, as well as to underserved communities where obstacles, such as time, transportation, information, and access, are preventing people from getting the vaccine they need—and want.
The campaign was a huge success, and we truly cannot thank our 29 peer fundraisers and donors enough for their support of RVNAhealth and our mission in public health.
Top Fundraisers (Dollars Raised)
Lori Berisford & Elaine Cox
Top Networkers (Donors Engaged)
Kathy Graham & Tom Reynolds
Most Competitive (for the love of the game, and RVNAhealth!)
Kerry Anne Ducey
The flip of a light switch may have determined Kate Campbell’s career trajectory.
At sixteen, Campbell was a competitive gymnast and was severely injured, requiring physical therapy, a vocation she considered at the discouragement of many because of the competition and excessive paperwork. She recalls sitting with an ice pack on her knee watching physical therapists in matching polo shirts helping patients on various exercise machines when an older gentleman flipping a nearby light switch caught her eye.
Up, on; down, off. Up, on; down, off. Up, on; down, off.
Campbell realized that the man was re-learning the most basic task so he could independently return to life as he once knew it. Something that many of us take for granted, turning a light on or off, was the focus of his intense effort that day; Campbell was hooked. “Watching him flipping that switch up and down…it was like my own switch went on. I knew I wanted to spend my life helping people just like him.”
And help them, she does.
Kate Campbell is a physical therapist with RVNAhealth focusing on comprehensive sports injury therapy and prevention education and programming where she applies a comprehensive approach to healing. A triathlete and accomplished life-long athlete, Campbell believes fervently in injury-prevention education which she does regularly at the Golf Performance Center in Ridgefield (GPC), an RVNAhealth partner in wellness. More recently, she began offering running evaluations to assess individual strength, mechanics, flexibility and foot and shoe analysis for runners of all experience levels. “Avoiding injury isn’t about luck,” Campbell says, “it’s about understanding how injuries happen.”
When they do, Campbell takes a thorough approach designed to prevent patient hospitalization and restore activity as soon as safely possible with full range of motion restoration. Functional therapy, Campbell calls it, addresses all aspects of recovery including the secondary systems that are affected. “When developing a treatment plan,” Campbell says, “I watch how a patient moves in entirety to identify comprehensive areas of concern. It’s important to consider the systemic connections when approaching healing. If someone has spinal surgery, physical therapy must consider how the spine interacts with other parts of the body to ensure it’s all supported. Ultimately, I want to get people back to doing what they love to do.” Because Campbell supports all facets of the RVNAhealth portfolio, she works with patients of all ages—from the youngest golf students at Golf Performance Center to senior hospice patients grappling with weaknesses impacting their quality of life.
Ultimately, the goal is for Campbell to open her own practice under the RVNAhealth umbrella to serve a different clientele. “I want to bring my expertise to athletes who are hungry for high quality care, in a specialized and sophisticated environment married with all of the resources and support that RVNAhealth can give,” Campbell says.
Her tenured physical therapy career has not been without obstacles, all of which Campbell overcame to become one of only five women in Connecticut board-certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in Sports Physical Therapy. College advisors discouraged her focus because of saturation in the profession, but she was not dissuaded. “I figured if other students were getting the same advice and changed paths then I would be one of the few graduating with the degree and by the time I was twenty-three, I had earned my Doctorate.”
The journey has been worth it. Of many noteworthy patients, one Ridgefield resident is particularly memorable. The geriatric patient was never going to walk normally again due to a rare kidney disease causing chronic inflammation. The woman loved walking for exercise and when her grandson got engaged, she decided she wanted to walk down the aisle as a surprise to the family. Campbell even secretly measured the length of the aisle to make sure they practiced it. “We got the best video of her standing up from her wheelchair and walking down the aisle with her rollator [a mobility aid on wheels] and her grandson. Those proud moments remind me why I do what I do.”