To the editor:
I have been going to the KGH therapy pool off and on for four years now. I had major back surgeries in 2013/2014 and as part of my recovery I was using the KGH therapy pool twice a week until I was signed off by my KGH out-patient rehab physiotherapist. I then found out that by paying a small amount I could buy a punch card which was good for 18 sessions, but it was renewable, so there was no problem. The only caveat was that you needed your GP to annually request that you be allowed to continue to use the pool. Fast forward to now – I had more intrusive back surgery last year and as a result, I’m having more outpatient physiotherapy at KGH and part of that treatment is the use of the therapy pool twice a week.
READ MORE: KGH POOL USE LIMITED
From my observation at the pool the “clearing out” of many people is a good idea, since many of the long-term users treat it more like a social club – they have no set program that they’re following, and aren’t making use of the laminated exercise cards dotted around the sides of the pool. The lady who said that the pool can comfortably hold 12 people at a time has clearly not been following a preset program – a maximum of six or eight users at a time allows you to move around in the pool unobstructed to achieve maximum benefit. I note that nobody has mentioned the changing rooms – three or four in each one (including walkers, etc.) is a crowd – each dressing room only has two showers, so that, in a way, indicates the number of people that each dressing room can hold. One other thing to mention is that it is amazing how the numbers drop off in the summer months once the sun comes out. That makes one wonder about the genuine need for rehab in the pool.
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In my own case, I’m not sure how much longer I will be in the pool. I have made alternative arrangements for when that happens – they will not be ideal, but by then there will be patients who need the therapy pool more than me.
I don’t think that Interior Health has handled this very professionally, but a cull was necessary. If anything, they may have gone too far, because, in the group that I am currently in, there are only three or four people. At a minimum, one would think the pool should be fully utilized all day and every day. When you implement drastic changes like this there is always some fallout, and some people have been adversely impacted when clearly they have a need for the pool.
I think that the least that IH can do is to define what the new rules are – there are constant rumors circulating that the therapy pool will cease to exist at all and that the decision has already been made “on high” by the IH executive regardless of the day to day need by some very disabled people. This, to me, is a much bigger issue, and we should all fight tooth and nail to keep this therapy pool open and operating efficiently – it is the only pool in this area that has a floor that can be raised and lowered, and, of course, the parallel bars are an essential part of using it safely and easily. Every year, it appears, the therapy pool is down because something is broken – the most recent episode has already been documented. With smaller groups, and less wear and tear, hopefully the therapy pool will last for many more years to come.