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Jan 08, 2021

Patient safety continues to be a Rock Valley Physical Therapy benchmark; goes hand-in-hand with success

Pandemic aside, Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s call to safely “make better lives,’’ never stops.

A bright and energetic sort, Bremala Malli recently walked — ever-so-gingerly — through the doors of Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s Decorah, Iowa, clinic, aided by an orthopedic boot and crutches.

An ankle fracture and the frustration that goes with a slowdown in one’s life, was — at the moment — creating a bevy of challenges.


“Five weeks later I was walking uphill and jogging, albeit for only four minutes, but still jogging,’’ Malli said. “This was done purely with manual manipulation and strength, agility and balance training. (Rock Valley) Physical therapist Paul Pellett (Decorah’s  clinic manager) was instrumental in my recovery and I can’t thank him enough.’’

While singing Pellett’s praises, Malli also lauded safety protocols — enhanced at every Rock Valley clinic to battle the coronavirus — and how it eased her mind and allowed her to approach her rehabilitation in a relaxed and confident manner. She asked questions. Rock Valley provided the right answers.

Malli then witnessed first-hand how Rock Valley Physical Therapy has carried itself for 36 years, providing amazing patient care, but doing so in a safe and sanitized setting.

As the world continues to battle a pandemic, the patient remains No. 1 with all Rock Valley therapists and staff. In addition to bettering the lives of those it serves, patient safety — and the safety of the Rock Valley family — remains — from Washington, Illinois, to West Des Moines, Iowa, — Priority One.

Since the coronavirus reared its ugly head, Rock Valley has had a top-flight safety protocol plan in place.

It continues to:

  • Require all who enter a Rock Valley clinic to wear a face covering. Staff and therapists will do the same throughout each of Rock Valley’s 52 clinics covering seven regions throughout Illinois and Iowa.
  • Require each person entering a Rock Valley clinic to receive a temperature check and  be asked to sanitize their hands.
  • Require all Rock Valley therapists and clinic staffers to sanitize all high-traffic touch points.
  • Make sure all equipment and surfaces are cleaned and sanitized after every use.
  • Offer telehealth options for those who choose treatment at home.

Malli’s top-notch experience came to light through a simple Google search and her asking several questions regarding clinic safety and protocols during the pandemic.

“I picked Rock Valley based on its responses to my concerns regarding COVID-19,’’ Malli said. “True to its word, Rock Valley required masks, did patient temperature checks, and required hand-sanitizing upon entry each visit. Therapy tables were wiped down and ice packs were wrapped in pillow cases.’’

Malli’s outcome is how every patient should feel when selecting Rock Valley for health-related needs.

“Our tagline is “Making Better Lives,’’ and that includes every life that walks into our clinics — patients, their families, and our staff,’’ said Mike Osler, Vice-President Growth & Development and senior physical therapist for Rock Valley Physical Therapy.

At the pandemic’s start, physical and occupational therapists nationwide were classified as essential healthcare workers. Rock Valley responded immediately.

“We formed a task force to meet daily, gathering as much information as we could (regarding all that surrounds the coronavirus),’’ added Osler. “If we could not provide care in a safe environment, then we were not going to provide care.’’

That care and effort extends across 52 clinics, two states and seven regions that make up the Rock Valley family.

 “Keeping our patients and staff safe has always been a top priority and we are committed to following the highest level of safety precautions,’’ said Amy Johnson, senior physical therapist/clinic manager at Rock Valley’s Washington, Ill. clinic.

“All patients are asked to wear a mask upon entering the clinic and are greeted at the front desk with a temperature check. Patients then proceed to store their belongings in a cubby that is conveniently located in the hallway outside of our gym area prior to washing their hands.  As was common prior to the arrival of COVID, all equipment and treatment tables are disinfected after each use to ensure a clean environment for patients to complete their rehabilitation journey.

 “With the small clinic atmosphere at our Washington clinic, we were already socially distancing before that was a recognizable term,’’ added “Johnson. “  We just called that the “his” and “her” side of the clinic. With the arrival of COVID, we added additional staff and patient precautions of wearing masks, performing temperature checks, and washing hands before/ after treatment. ‘’

What Malli experienced is simply the norm with Rock Valley.

“Being in a clinic with a positive constant patient flow we’ve humbled ourselves and also prided ourselves in keeping our clinic clean and healthy for all,’’ said Dave Freesman, senior physical therapist/clinic manager at Rock Valley’s West Des Moines, Iowa, clinic. “In fact, most patients who’ve witnessed the lengths we go to clean surfaces and equipment after use are pitching in themselves to clean these common surfaces. Our sanitizing efforts has created a comfort and confidence in our patients that has encouraged their friends and family to call us for their physical therapy and hand therapy needs.’’

 When it comes down to it, great care in a safe setting has been — and will always be — Rock Valley trademarks. In or out of a pandemic.

“ We felt fortunate at the opportunity to provide great care to those in need, and we have continued to dedicate resources daily to ensure we are meeting and typically exceeding the guidelines,’’ Osler said. “ Our commitment is to provide a safe environment for every patient every day.”

By: Johnny Marx, Storyteller