FOR Maureen Hume, the opening of Dudley Private Hospital’s hydrotherapy pool can be best summed up in four words: “It’s the best thing,” she said.
Ms Hume, who has the rare inclusion body myositis muscle disease, is just one of many who will benefit from the $1.445 million facility, which was unveiled to the public on Friday.
“It’s a wonderful feeling that you can actually walk straight,” said Ms Hume, who has been using the pool twice a week.
“It does so much for my inclusion body myositis.
“The whole team here really gives you a kick along.”
Dr Fran Gearon, rehabilitation physician and chair of the hospital’s Medical Advisory Committee, described the pool’s opening as “a very big deal for us as part of the Orange community”.
“Orange has been without a dedicated hydrotherapy facility since the closure of the old base hospital in March 2012 and it has been sorely missed,” Dr Gearon said.
Dr Gearon said the hydrotherapy pool meant the hospital had a “superb facility and services we can now offer to our patients here in Orange”.
“There are so many conditions that can be improved by hydrotherapy - post-operative rehabilitation following joint replacements and back surgery, reconditioning and pain management for arthritis sufferers, patients with multiple muscular skeletal conditions and neurological and cognitive disorders,” Dr Gearon said.
Dudley Private Hospital chief executive officer Trevor Matheson said the pool - which was made possible through a federal government grant - was a much-needed addition to the existing rehabilitation services at the hospital, providing locals with a high-quality rehabilitation option and preventing the need for them to travel to Sydney.
The hospital has two groups using the pool each day - six patients per group - while inpatients and community access programs, such as those for residents with arthritis, will utilise the facility.
The hospital also marked the official opening of two new theatre rooms, a perioperative suite and recovery area on Friday, a development worth $5.8 million.
Mr Matheson said the increase from three to five theatre rooms was needed as the existing theatres had reached their capacity.