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Bon Secours’ Richmond Hope Therapy Assists Children with Cerebral Palsy

A New Grant Will Make Expansion Possible

Jan. 10, 2013 – Children with developmental delays come to Bon Secours’ Richmond Hope Therapy Center with aspirations other kids often take for granted: everything from waving hello to walking across the stage at graduation. Now with a $25,000 grant from the Memorial Foundation for Children, Richmond Hope is able to add a new physical therapist to the staff, which will allow for more patients to be seen.

The Richmond Hope Therapy Center, part of Bon Secours Richmond Health System, is the first and only intensive therapy clinic in Virginia to care for children with neurological and other developmental disorders. Children with cerebral palsy between the ages of 3 and 12 represent the majority of the center’s patients.

“Our goal for Richmond Hope was to increase the availability of care and to enhance the services for children who rely on this program,” said William Lennarz, MD, vice president for Bon Secours Children’s Services. “This grant provides a great opportunity to expand, making it possible for us to serve all the needs of these very special children.”

Richmond Hope opened in 2006, and became part of Bon Secours in 2012 with the objective of expanding its focus and helping more children. Since joining Bon Secours, Richmond Hope has added several therapists as well as three rehabilitation technicians. “Our mission is to encourage patients and families to reach their full potential,” said Cindy Richards, MS, PT, clinical rehab manager, Richmond Hope Therapy Center. Because the clinic follows the intensive model, the program’s therapists often develop close bonds with the children and their families throughout the duration of the therapy sessions.

The center follows Eastern European therapy techniques, specifically the idea of intensive therapies. Unlike traditional outpatient centers where patients are seen once or twice a week, Richmond Hope offers an intensive therapy option—three hours a day, five days a week for three weeks. The longer sessions allow more time for the therapists to focus on warming up the muscles and neural pathways prior to any exercises the children perform. Patients often will go through several three-week intensive therapy sessions in a year, interspersed with more conventional weekly outpatient sessions.

The short-term focus of intensive therapy has several advantages, including its specific goal-oriented nature. Each three-week session works toward a specific goal, whether it’s waving hello, jumping for the first time or maybe even walking across the stage at graduation.

“The intensive therapy model that we practice is successful because of the frequency and duration of the exercises these children are doing,” said Cindy Richards, MS, PT, clinical rehab manager, Richmond Hope Therapy Center. “Tremendous improvements are made with our patients after a three-week session; the results are often very encouraging for the children and their families.”

Because Richmond Hope is the only intensive therapy clinic in Virginia, and one of a select few in the United States, patients come from great distances, some from as far away as Rhode Island.

The physical therapists and rehab technicians are “passionate and always making therapy more fun and more productive,” Richards said. They won’t hesitate to make up new songs or games, and many of them can lay claim to the fact that they know all six verses of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Bon Secours Richmond Hope Therapy Center is expecting to expand its services to include speech and occupational therapy in the near future. More information on the Richmond Hope Therapy Center can be found online

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