Mercy Jefferson Adds Pediatric Therapy Gym

April 1, 2024

Patients recovering from an injury or dealing with a disability face plenty of challenges. Traveling long distances for the therapy needed to overcome these challenges can be a barrier to care for some patients – especially children who are entirely dependent on their parents, guardians or other caregivers to take them to therapy.

Mercy doctor's coat Deacon Dan Raidt, chaplain, blesses the new pediatric therapy gym at Mercy Hospital Jefferson while Eric Baldonado, rehab services director; Lori Tatalovich, rehab services manager; Rachel Newkirk, pediatric occupational therapist; and Luke Isringhaus, rehab supervisor, look on.

Mercy Jefferson is removing that barrier for Jefferson County families with the addition of a new pediatric therapy gym. Located in the outpatient Mercy Therapy Services – Jefferson at Mercy Hospital Jefferson, this pediatric therapy gym provides physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to children from pediatric specialists in a setting designed specifically for kids.

“We want to provide families all the therapy services their children need and never need to turn away a referral,” said Lori Tatalovich, Mercy Jefferson manager of rehab services. “To do that, we’re hiring a pediatric physical therapist and a pediatric occupational therapist to work alongside our speech therapists who can treat patients of any age. With this team in place, we can provide the full lifespan of therapy services for our community.”

Physical therapy treats physical injuries and helps patients cope with pain, increase their range of motion, improve endurance and develop their gross motor skills. This type of therapy is commonly associated with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. In children, it also includes helping them with coordination, balance, posture and seating/positioning.

Occupational therapy focuses on helping patients perform tasks that are part of daily life, such as bathing or brushing their teeth, that require fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and managing emotions. Patients with physical, mental, developmental and emotional needs can benefit from occupational therapy. For children, it can address sensory processing, handwriting, feeding and self-help skills.

Speech therapy helps patients who have difficulty communicating and can address challenges like speech or language disorders as well as difficulty swallowing. It can help children with delays in communication, language processing, articulation, social skills, voicing and stuttering.

The pediatric therapy gym at Mercy Jefferson features a quiet space with low stimulation. It includes a one-way viewing window where parents or other caregivers can watch their children without distracting them from their therapist.

“One of the priorities for us here at Mercy is bring care where it’s needed and serve people in their own community,” Tatalovich said. “We saw a need here in Jefferson County, and we’re thrilled to add this much needed service.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the pediatric therapy gym at Mercy Jefferson, including scheduling an appointment, can call 636-933-1606, or visit mercy.net.