Patient advisory council provides a voice for handicapped panhan - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Patient advisory council provides a voice for handicapped panhandle residents

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Former rehabilitation patients are giving back their time to provide support to current patients at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff.
 
On Tuesday night, members of the Patient Advisory Council at RWMC met for their quarterly meeting and shared input on how the hospital can expand patient rehabilitation care.
 
Members also talked to Scottsbluff Mayor Randy Meininger on how the city can improve handicapped accessible parking along Broadway.

The board is comprised of residents from several cities including Gering, Scottsbluff and Torrington, Wyoming. Gene McDowell, a physical therapist and Stroke Clinical Coordinator for the Acute Rehabilitation Unit, says the 12-member board provides a voice for other handicapped residents throughout the panhandle.
 
"And so they've been able to go out to council meetings, they've been able to visit senior centers, talk about their experiences but they also give back to patients on our floor," said McDowell.
 
Former patient Reenie Berry of Gering tested positive for West Nile virus 11 years ago and is unable to walk from her mosquito bite. Berry stayed two weeks in the hospital before being sent to a Denver hospital for eight days. She then was readmitted to Regional West's rehabilitation center for six weeks. She says the hospital staff was very comforting during her stay.
 
"This floor was full of wonderful people. I met lots of other people who were a lot worse off than I was and have not gotten as well as I have gotten. I can't walk, yes I wish I could walk but I don't have any other after effects from West Nile like most people that I know," said Berry.
 
Each board member has their own rehabilitation story of encouragement and perseverance to share. Some have suffered from strokes, spinal cord injuries, head injuries and multiple sclerosis. They all agree that the rehabilitation center was and continues to be their "home away from home."

The patient advisory council began in 2001.
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