The Important Role of Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Your Community

Doctor sitting at a desk analyzing X-ray results

Life doesn’t stop when you’re diagnosed with a disease that affects your lungs or ability to breathe normally, but these chronic conditions can make it feel impossible to live a normal life. Fortunately, pulmonary rehabilitation programs across the country are helping people overcome these hurdles to reach a better quality of life. And in honor of Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week (which takes place every March), we’re highlighting some key facts about this important line of rehabilitative care. 

Read on to learn more about who pulmonary rehabilitation helps, how it can improve someone’s life, and where you can find pulmonary rehab services in Southern Maryland.

Who is Pulmonary Rehabilitation for?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is most commonly recommended for people with the following conditions:

Additionally, pulmonary rehabilitation may be recommended for people who are planning to undergo or have already received a lung transplant, thoracic surgery, abdominal surgery, or lung volume reduction surgery. 

How Does Pulmonary Rehabilitation Help?

Because pulmonary rehabilitation is often meant for people with chronic, lifelong conditions, the primary purpose of such programs is to improve quality of life — helping to make life more fulfilling and enjoyable regardless of a person’s condition. 

Here are just a few of the areas these programs focus on:

  • Improving functional abilities
  • Reducing lifestyle-related risks
  • Increasing knowledge of the disease process and prevention strategies
  • Increasing the ability to perform daily tasks
  • Improving self-esteem and confidence

To accomplish this, pulmonary rehabilitation teams generally consist of board-certified pulmonologists, registered nurses with advanced cardiac life support certifications, and exercise physiologists who guide participants through exercises as well as educational and empowerment sessions. 

In addition to the dedicated medical staff, the best pulmonary rehabilitation programs often include dietitians, physical therapists, and even diabetes education specialists to provide additional advice and support for overall health and wellness.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Charles County

You don’t have to look far to find a top-rated pulmonary rehabilitation program if you live in Southern Maryland. University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Center’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program employs a three-phase approach that’s designed to help participants improve their quality of life through exercise and education. 

UM Charles Regional Medical Center also hosts the Better Breathers Club, a free support group meant for people with chronic lung disease and their loved ones. With its regular meetings, the Better Breathers Club is facilitated by a certified exercise physiologist and focuses on providing patient-focused, community-based education and support. 

Want more information about our Pulmonary Rehabilitation program or the Better Breathers Club? You can contact the program coordinator by calling (301) 609-4391. And if you’re ready to make an appointment, please call (301) 609-4413.

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How UM Charles Regional Medical Center’s Team Helped Colan Ratliff Walk Again

Colan Ratliff with UM Charles Regional Medical Center's doctors

There for You Every Step of the Way

A spinal cord injury nearly paralyzed Colan Ratliff, but thanks to grit, determination, and expert medical care at UM Charles Regional Medical Center, he’s walking again.

It was a frigid day in 2013 when Colan Ratliff, 72, stepped outside his house in La Plata, Maryland, before dawn to shovel snow off his driveway. A historian and conservator for the U.S. Navy, Ratliff had just finished sprinkling salt on the driveway when he slipped on a sheet of ice and fell backward, striking the back of his head and neck as he hit the pavement.

“I’m lying there and saying to myself, ‘That was kind of stupid,’” Ratliff says. “And I thought, ‘Well, I’ve got to get up,’ but I realized I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t move at all.” 

Ratliff didn’t panic, but he yelled as loud as he could. Several hours passed before a neighbor found him, alerted Ratliff’s wife, and called 911. Within minutes he was at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center (UM CRMC), where Emergency Department (ED) doctors immediately stabilized and assessed him. Imaging studies revealed a disc problem, though the extent of the injury wasn’t clear. But doctors knew that his paralysis suggested something threatening.

Catering for a Life-Altering Injury

It was Ratliff’s first step on a treatment journey that would draw on numerous medical resources, none more significant than his community hospital, UM CRMC. 

“It’s important to have a hospital that you can count on,” says UM CRMC Chief Medical Officer Joseph Moser, MD. 

“As the frontline community hospital for our area, our providers and nurses are trained to recognize all disease processes and get people the specialized care they need even if it’s not at the community hospital itself,” adds Richard Ferraro, MD, UM CRMC’s chairman and chief of staff, and medical director of the ED. “Luckily, we are part of a system that can provide comprehensive care for just about any condition imaginable and is among the nation’s leaders in some of these fields.”

In fact, ED doctors determined that Ratliff needed to be airlifted to the University of Maryland’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. 

“Just like many emergency conditions, including stroke and heart attack, when it comes to spinal cord injury and compression, time is really of the essence,” says Dr. Ferraro. 

There, surgeons established that Ratliff had suffered an injury to the C4 nerve, which typically causes paralysis in the arms, hands, trunk and legs. They prepared him for surgery to decompress a herniated disc pressing on his spinal cord and fuse his spine to protect it from further harm.

Ratliff had served as a Marine in Vietnam and had suffered a serious and more painful injury to his head and face while there. But this injury was far scarier. 

“My worst fear was that I would be a burden to my family,” he says.

Surgeons told Ratliff’s wife, Grace, that he likely wouldn’t walk again, but, she says, she never doubted that he would. 

“He’s stubborn,” she says. “If he puts his mind to something, he’s going to do it. I just knew he would.”

The Ratliff family

(From left to right) Ethan, Grace, and Colan Ratliff

Recovering with a Will and a Way

A two-month period of rehabilitation at a nearby Virginia facility lay ahead of him, however. 

“Rehabilitation is very important because during the time that the spinal cord is injured and nerve signals are not getting down to the muscles in the hips and legs, muscles tend to shrink when they are not used,” says Dr. Moser. “By keeping the muscles and tendons strengthened and flexible, if the nerve signals can come back, the function of lower limbs is much easier to recover.”

Ratliff made the most of the opportunity. 

“I realized that I had to take advantage of everything they were offering me,” he says. In the beginning, nurses dressed him for his therapy sessions. “But then after I got some more movement back, I wanted to be ready when they came and got me. And oftentimes, I was waiting on them. I was ready to get started on all the activities and exercises that they had for me.”

There were days that Ratliff felt like staying in bed. 

“But I couldn’t do that,” he says. “Being in the Marines helped in that regard because when that drill instructor flipped the light on, you were on your feet ready to go. And they didn’t want to hear that you were tired. I told my wife, ‘I’m going to walk out of this hospital.’”

At the same time, his family did everything they could to boost his recovery.

“We knew my father had nerve damage, we just didn’t know to what extent,” says Ratliff’s son, Ethan. “But I knew that if he could move something, that he could improve. And because he could not move anything on his own, I had to help him. So I would massage his arms and legs to get blood flowing to the nerves. Every time I went there and helped him out, he gained more movement.”

Ethan Ratliff assisting his father, Colan Ratliff, with rehabilitation exercise

Colan Ratliff and his son, Ethan Ratliff

“One of the things that I drew on a lot was the fact that my family was by my side,” Ratliff says. “I had someone there nearly every day.”

Physical therapists also kept challenging Ratliff and motivating him to do more. He spent many hours on a stationary recumbent bicycle and was strapped into an anti-gravity treadmill, a machine that uses air pressure to reduce gravitational forces on patients, allowing them to experience the motion of walking without being encumbered by their body weight.

Slowly, Ratliff began to regain his function until the remarkable moment when he took his first steps with a walker. He made so much progress that his rehabilitation was extended by two weeks to capitalize on these gains.

“When you leave the hospital, they wheel you out in a wheelchair and they usually wheel you over to the car,” says Ratliff. “I stopped the lady and said, ‘That’s as far as you’re taking me.’” 

He stood up and walked to the car, fulfilling his promise to his wife.

Comprehensive Outpatient Therapy

But Ratliff’s recovery still wasn’t complete. His legs were very stiff, and outpatient physical therapy offered a way to improve further. 

“When I got up after I sat any length of time, the back of my legs were very tight,” he says. “It made me shuffle a little bit.”

UM CRMC coordinated with its healthcare partners to transfer Ratliff’s care back to the hospital. Back on home turf, he again threw himself into the activities that his therapists prescribed. The hospital works with patients to create an individualized treatment plan tailored to their needs. In addition to physical therapy, UM CRMC’s rehabilitation department — part of the UM Rehabilitation Network — offers other forms of therapy. 

Colan Ratliff holding a medicine ball with Physical Therapist Beth Ann Galligan

Colan Ratliff and UM CRMC physical therapist Beth Ann Galligan

“Our facility is one of the few in Charles County that has physical, occupational and speech therapy in-house,” says Beth Ann Galligan, DPT, a physical therapist at UM CRMC. “That’s a plus for patients with complicated injuries like a spinal cord injury. You can see all of us in one day and not have to go to different facilities. We’re all working together to help you get better.”

Because Ratliff had no speech issues and the use of his hands had improved greatly, therapists focused on strengthening and stretching exercises and other types of physical therapy. They also aimed to improve his walking and limit his need for assistive devices, like his walker.

When he first began walking, Ratliff could only manage 100 feet, but the team worked with him to go farther and farther distances. When the weather allowed, Galligan took Ratliff outside to practice taking steps on different inclines and surfaces.

“He never complained of pain,” Galligan says. “He was always determined and positive. When you’re in that mindset, you’re so motivated, it makes therapy go well because everybody’s on board with getting you better.”

On his last day, Ratliff walked more than 1,200 feet without an assistive device. “I’d say I’m back 95 percent,” he says. “I can’t run. But I get on my bicycle and go 13 miles or so, and I try to get a little faster each time to get my heart rate up.”

A Continuing Connection

Ratliff’s experiences at UM CRMC bookended his treatment for his spinal cord injury. But he has ongoing ties to the hospital. Four of his grandchildren were born there, and his family has received care there for other medical needs.

Last fall, Ratliff saw a diabetes educator and took group classes to stay on top of his blood sugar — another key health objective. He was diagnosed with diabetes eight years ago.

“I was surprised to learn that I was already eating pretty healthy — the right amount of sugar and salt,” Ratliff says. “But there are other things you can do.” He found out he also needed healthy snacks to keep his blood sugar levels steady.

After sitting down with a diabetes educator, patients typically sign up for four two-hour group classes covering a range of topics on diabetes management. Since he started the process, Ratliff’s weight has dropped, and his blood sugar is starting to go down.

Colan Ratliff and Cindy Adams in front of a mock plate of food

Diabetes Educator Cindy Adams, CDE, with Colan Ratliff

“We’re affirming what they are doing right and then guiding them in baby steps to make more and more helpful changes,” says diabetes educator Cindy Adams, CDE. 

Ratliff is grateful that UM CRMC has had his back in large and small ways, though he confesses that he doesn’t like hospitals very much.

“Nevertheless,” he says, “Charles Regional was there for me. They sent me on my journey to recovery, and they were there when I went to rehab and continued my recovery. It’s nice knowing they’re here.”

“We are the community’s first stop for injuries, and if we can’t help, we have exceptional health care partners who can,” says Dr. Moser. “From Emergency Department services to patient education, our goal is to serve.”

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Maryland’s Health Matters, the official magazine of UM Charles Regional Medical Center. Click here to read more by downloading this issue now.

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Recognizing the Importance of Heart Health During Cardiac Rehabilitation Week

Line of treadmills in a gym space

During American Heart Month, much of the focus is put on raising awareness and sharing strategies for preventing heart disease. But what about raising awareness for those who have already suffered from some form of heart disease? That’s where National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week comes in.

Celebrated every year during the month of February, National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week is meant to highlight the importance of cardiac rehabilitation and all those who benefit from it. Never heard or thought about cardiac rehabilitation before? Read on to learn more about these important programs.

What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation (or just cardiac rehab for short) is a set of programs designed to help those who’ve suffered from a heart attack, heart failure, heart surgery, or any number of other cardiovascular conditions. Through these programs, patients are able to improve their cardiovascular health to live a healthier, more fulfilling life.

How Can Cardiac Rehabilitation Help Someone with Heart Disease?

Every person’s cardiac rehab program is going to be a little bit different based on their condition, but most programs revolve around three distinct elements:

  • Exercise – Physical activity is a very important part of heart health, and cardiac rehab programs will get patients moving and learn how exercise can promote a heart-healthy lifestyle.
  • Education – There are a lot of factors that determine someone’s heart health, and a cardiac rehab program can help patients learn how to manage their risk factors and make smarter lifestyle choices.
  • Counseling – Perhaps nothing can derail a heart-healthy lifestyle more than stress, so cardiac rehab programs often include some form of counseling to instill stress-management techniques and strategies in patients.

Cardiac Rehabilitation at UM Charles Regional Medical Center

We’re proud to offer a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program here at UM Charles Regional Medical Center. Led by an expert team and a board-certified cardiologist, this program is designed to help participants achieve heart-healthy lifestyles and reduce their cardiovascular risk factors.

From doctors, nurses, and physical therapists to exercise physiologists, social workers, and dietary experts, our team works with patients to achieve the following benefits:

  • Improved functional abilities
  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced lifestyle-related risks
  • Increased knowledge of the disease process
  • Understanding of prevention strategies
  • Increased ability to perform normal tasks in daily life
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence
  • Better adherence to healthy lifestyle choices

Want to learn more about our cardiac rehabilitation program? Visit our website or call (301) 609-4413 to make an appointment today.

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2019 Holiday Hours for University of Maryland Charles Regional Practices

Hospital Exterior Photo | Holiday Hours

The holidays are fast approaching, and, like you, our team members are getting ready to celebrate with their friends and family. With that in mind, many of the local practices will be operating under adjusted hours for the next couple of weeks. See below for details about holiday hours for all of our facilities and local offices:

UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Imaging

  • Tuesday, December 24: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Imaging will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care 

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care will follow normal operating hours (Monday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Women’s Health

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Women’s Health will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Gastroenterology

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Gastroenterology will follow normal operating hours in these locations:

  • La Plata: Tuesday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Waldorf: Monday and Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Surgical Care

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Surgical Care in Waldorf and La Plata will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Center Visiting Hours

Visiting hours at the hospital will remain normal throughout the holidays. Need more information or have a question? Please call our main phone number at (301) 609-4000.

As always, the emergency room at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center is open 24 hours a day every day. We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses, and support staff who will continue working hard throughout the holidays to make this possible and ensure that there will always be someone ready to help in the event of an emergency.

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Two La Plata Physical Therapists Receive Prestigious Board Certifications as Orthopaedic Specialists

Photos of board-certified physical therapists at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

The strength of University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Center and all of its related practices comes from its people. From general doctors who treat a wide range of ailments to specialists who focus their efforts on specific conditions, our team is made up of people who’ve dedicated their careers to providing exceptional healthcare in Southern Maryland.

UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation is a perfect reflection of that strength — with a diverse team of physical therapists who help people recover from a variety of injuries or surgeries. And we’re excited to announce that this team continues to grow even stronger as Physical Therapist Amol Bakre (left) and Physical Therapist Lourdes Potestades (right) have both received the Orthopaedic Specialist Certification.

What is the Orthopaedic Specialist Certification?

Just 10 percent of physical therapists have achieved the designation of orthopaedic clinical specialist. You can usually tell if a physical therapist has this certification when they include “OCS” after their name.

Why have so few physical therapists received this designation? While any physical therapist can specialize in orthopaedics, becoming a board-certified specialist requires a rigorous certification process that spans over a decade of a therapist’s career. Here are a few of the key requirements for receiving board certification:

  • Complete 2,000 hours of physical therapy in the last 10 years, 500 hours of which must have been completed in the past three years
  • Pass a 200-question certification exam
  • Commit to continuing education and ongoing professional development
  • Complete 10-hour Maintenance of Specialist Certification
  • Must recertify every 10 years

What This Certification Means for Patients

For patients receiving the care of a physical therapist, board certification is simply a testament to a therapist’s dedication to their craft. An OCS designation is a reflection of the thousands of hours someone has put into providing orthopaedic care as well as their commitment to expanding their knowledge in an ever-changing field.

More than anything, this certification gives patients confidence that they’re working with someone who is on the leading edge of physical therapy.

Schedule Your Appointment at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

Ready to schedule your appointment? UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation offers one-on-one physical therapy services with flexible appointment times Monday through Friday. Visit our website to learn more or call (301) 609-5494 today.

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5 Common Reasons to See a Physical Therapist

UM Charles Regional Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Photo

Sometimes it’s easy to know when you should visit a physical therapist for treatment, but you might be surprised at just how many different conditions physical therapy is designed to treat. Here are five of the most common reasons why people ultimately choose to visit a physical therapist:

Chronic Pain

Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, hip bursitis, osteoarthritis, or sciatica, can often cause consistent, long-term pain known as chronic pain. Fortunately, physical therapy can usually help you manage, reduce, or totally eliminate chronic pain.

Best of all, physical therapy and rehabilitation can provide a safer alternative to medication for pain management, so it’s one of the best avenues to consider if you’re dealing with chronic pain.

Surgery Recovery

Some people will require the help of medical professionals to regain flexibility, strength, or balance in affected parts of their body after undergoing extensive surgical procedures. In these cases, the primary goal is to help patients return to or improve their lifestyle.

Sports Injuries

Whether you’re an athlete or just take part in occasional pick-up games or workouts, sports injuries can happen to anyone. These injuries can range from frustrating to crippling, depending on the cause and the severity of the injury — as well as how soon they’re treated.

Some of the most common sports injuries that physical therapists help treat are:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Knee pain and injuries
  • Tennis elbow

Neck and Back Pain

Pain in the neck or back is something that can affect everyone. From those who are required to sit in an office chair all day to those who do heavy lifting regularly, people who experience this form of pain know how challenging it can be to maintain day-to-day activities. Fortunately, it can be treated with physical therapy in many cases.

Mobility Improvement

If you find it difficult to move around because of pain or balance issues, or you’re working on improving your mobility after a knee replacement, physical therapy may be able to help. Over time, consistent physical therapy can help your joints become more flexible, stronger, and more comfortable.

Want to See a Physical Therapist in Southern Maryland?

University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Rehabilitation offers personalized, one-on-one outpatient physical therapy at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion in La Plata. Here are just some of the services offered and ailments treated there:

  • Joint replacements
  • Sports injuries
  • Manual therapy
  • Fractures, sprains, and strains
  • Neck and back pain
  • Pelvic floor health
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries

Inpatient rehabilitation is also offered at UM Charles Regional Medical Center. Our inpatient rehab program includes treatment for:

  • Arthritis, including energy conservation and joint protection
  • Feeding and swallowing
  • Orthopedics
  • Post-surgical deconditioning and weakness
  • Therapy for stroke, Parkinson’s disease, brain injuries, and neurological conditions

As always, before deciding whether or not you should see a physical therapist, be sure to consult with your primary care provider.

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6 Stories of Healing and Hope Honored with the 2018 Christmas Tree of Life

Tree of Life 2018 Event Photo

Every year, the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation hosts the Tree of Life Illumination Ceremony to signal the start of the holiday season.

On December 5 in our hospital’s courtyard, this annual event was dedicated to all those who’ve had a positive impact on our lives. The names and stories honored at this event turn this symbol of the holiday season into a symbol of hope and healing in our community.

There are so many stories of love and remembrance that can be told from this year’s event. Each name that was hung from a tree in our healing garden represents a personal connection with someone who lives or lived in your community. We invite you to stop by our hospital this holiday season to enjoy the holiday lights in the healing garden.

Tree of Life Healing Garden Photo

In the meantime, we wanted to share the special stories of those who helped our tree shine brightly into the night on December 5. These are the stories of our Tree of Life illuminators and a few other community members.

The Family and Friends of Dr. Guillermo E. Sanchez

Dr. Guillermo E. Sanchez Photo

Before his passing in 2018, Dr. Guillermo Sanchez served as the Chief of Staff, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Board Member of UM Charles Regional Medical Center. But beyond his titles, Dr. Sanchez was an asset to the health of our community and touched countless lives as an orthopedic surgeon.

We were so humbled to have the family Dr. Sanchez join us at the illumination ceremony and dedicate their light in his memory on this year’s tree.

Quint Burroughs

Quint Burroughs Photo

Earlier this year, University of Maryland student and Charles County resident Quint Burroughs came to UM Charles Regional Medical Center following hospitalization for a head injury and low sodium levels. He is still working towards a full recovery, but he and his family take comfort in knowing that they had somewhere to go nearby to get him the care he needed.

“His treatment was very personable,” Quint’s mother said. “Everyone knew what was going on and was trying to comfort him.”

We were so happy to see Quint at this year’s illumination ceremony and wish him the absolute best as he recovers from his injury.

The Bean Family

Bean Family Photo

After suffering from his first seizure earlier this year, Kimberly Bean’s son, Xavier, was transported to UM Charles Regional Medical Center for testing and treatment. Awaiting the results from his tests, Xavier suffered from another seizure and returned to the hospital. At that time, our Dr. Houston was able to determine that he was showing signs of epilepsy.

“From the moment we arrived at UM CRMC, the doctors, nurses, and medical staff treated Xavier and our family with the utmost care,” Kimberly said. “Because of his persistence, Dr. Houston was able to obtain the information needed to make the decision to prescribe an anti-seizure medication for Xavier.”

Kimberly joined us as one of our illuminators in honor of Dr. Houston and her son, and we wish the entire Bean family well as Xavier continues his treatment for seizures.

Greg Cockerham

Greg Cockerham Photo

Community Bank of the Chesapeake Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Greg Cockerham and his family have been receiving care from our hospital since the days we were known as Physicians Memorial Hospital. From same-day surgery and trips to the ER to physical rehabilitation and wound healing, Greg and his family have had experiences with nearly every branch of UM Charles Regional.

“I have a great, longstanding relationship with the hospital,” Greg said. “It’s an amazing local hospital and has been for some time. They really value the relationship with their patients.”

We were so excited to welcome Greg to our illumination ceremony and look forward to a continued relationship with him and his family.

Dutch Williams

Dutch Williams Photo

After having his kegel muscles removed to treat his prostate cancer, Dutch Williams found himself in need of assistance to restore his physical strength. He reached out to Sara Hall, DPT, at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation, who was more than willing to assist in his care.

Dutch’s treatment required an exercise program that he continues to this day as well as regular exams to ensure his muscles are responding appropriately. He has experienced continued improvements as a result of his muscle treatment but credits the informative approach Sara has taken throughout the process.

“It was a wonderful experience that helped me immensely,” he said. “I’m looking forward to coming back.”

Dutch’s story, like so many of our patients’ stories, is one of renewed hope after a life-changing experience, and we were so happy to be able to honor it at the illumination ceremony.

Bobby Stahl

Robert Stahl Photo

Town of La Plata Director of Operations Bobby Stahl came into our ER in August with a pain in his side, and further examination resulted in the removal of his appendix. Following the removal, his pathology results came in showing a cancerous tumor.

Because of the UM Charles Regional’s connection to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Bobby was confidently referred to a doctor who could treat him. He returned to work just days after his surgery and is staying well leading up to his procedure in December.

“The care that I got was exceptional,” Bobby said. “I really felt like they were looking out for my care and, in every situation, they made sure that I was comfortable and addressed my needs. Having the resources of the entire University of Maryland Medical System has been extremely important.”

This Year’s Cause

We, along with the entire Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation team, would like to thank everyone who contributed to this year’s Tree of Life.

As a result of your generosity, more than $4,000 was raised for the upcoming Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health in La Plata. Once it opens in 2019, this new practice will add to our existing range of services and help us further our mission to making Southern Maryland a healthier, better place to call home.

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3 Surprising Reasons You Should Celebrate Physical Therapy This Month

National Physical Therapy Month | Physical Therapist Assisting Patient

Physical therapy is one of those things that you don’t think about until you need it. But even if you don’t need physical therapy services, like those offered at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation, there are still three great reasons to celebrate them with us during National Physical Therapy Month:

It Offers a Safer Form of Pain Relief

It’s no secret that the United States is facing a dangerous and destructive opioid epidemic right now. It’s a problem that’s made worse by the fact that prescription opioids are too often the go-to method of treatment of chronic pain such as back pain or osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Even with the risk factors in mind, many of the estimated 116 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain each year are given medications to deal with pain.

A safer form of pain management and relief exists in the form of physical therapy, which is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it over opioid-based treatment options. And unlike medications, which simply inhibit pain, physical therapy may actually reduce or eliminate pain altogether, making it even more valuable to the recovery process.

It Can Help Reduce Health Care Costs

Physical therapy is used to treat a wide variety of ailments, and in some circumstances, physical therapy can actually be used as an alternative to more invasive procedures such as surgery, which ultimately reduces health care costs.

For those who will still need a surgical procedure regardless, a physical therapy program may be beneficial both before and after surgery to improve diagnoses and healing times.

It Gives Hope to Many Stroke Patients

Although sports injuries and pain management are big reasons why people receive physical therapy, one of the often overlooked groups of patients are those who’ve suffered from strokes.

A stroke can often affect a person’s ability to walk, move, or balance, depending on the severity of it. That’s why, for many, physical therapy is an essential part of regaining independence in post-stroke life.

Want to learn more about the physical therapy services available here in Southern Maryland? Visit to find out how the experienced team at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation uses a one-on-one approach to get patients back to their best health.

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Introducing the University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Pavilion in La Plata

UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion

We are so proud to unveil the new home of several of the region’s most trusted medical specialists, the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion.

As part of the UM Medical System’s commitment to growing its network of care throughout Southern Maryland, the new Medical Pavilion features a collection of three practices as well as the future home of the upcoming Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health.

And now that the doors are open, patients and visitors can find state-of-the-art facilities, ample parking space and expert specialty care in a convenient location, right near UM Charles Regional Medical Center.

Learn More About These Medical Pavilion Services

UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care

A great primary care provider can put you on a path to a lifetime of good health. And it’s that philosophy that inspires Dr. Lorenzo Childress, who leads the team at UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care.

UM Charles Regional Imaging

Board-certified radiologists employ their extensive experience and expertise to provide the highest quality diagnostic imaging services at UM Charles Regional Imaging.

There’s no need to travel beyond Southern Maryland when 3T MRIs, 64-slice low-dose CT scans, mammography and bone density (DEXA) scans are available right here in La Plata.

UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

With early morning and evening appointment times, UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation offers personalized physical therapy that’s designed to fit your life. The talented, experienced team employs a one-on-one approach to help you get better faster — all on your schedule.

Coming Soon: Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health

When it opens its doors next year, the Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health will help us meet the goal of providing hope, support and care for family, friends and community members as they cope with breast health issues. Stay tuned to our blog and our Facebook page for the latest updates and information about this important new practice.

The UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion is home to just a small handful of practices and experts in the UM Medical System. Visit our new website today to learn more about all of the UM Charles Regional and UM Community Medical Group services offered right here in Southern Maryland.

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Recognizing the Importance of Physical Therapy Services This October

National Physical Therapy Month

October is National Physical Therapy Month, and every year, we like to take some time to recognize those who work so hard to help others overcome pain or regain mobility through physical therapy services.

Joint replacements, osteoarthritis, post-surgical recovery and even sports injuries often require the expertise of a physical therapist, but we’ve found that care and compassion are two of the most important qualities of these practitioners. And we’re saluting those physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who continue to serve their patients in this way, no matter what ailments they aim to overcome.

Recognizing Outstanding Physical Therapy in Southern Maryland

Residents of Southern Maryland have access to superior physical therapy services, including those offered by the skilled team at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation, located right here in La Plata.

With a proven, one-on-one approach to tackling physical therapy issues, the physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and rehabilitation technicians continue to help patients get on the fastest path to their best health.

To learn more about UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation or to request an appointment, visit their website today. Or call (301) 609-5494 now for more information.

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