"Rehab therapy at St. John's Rehab is hard work,
but it pays off. My goal was to walk again,
and after three weeks I was walking up stairs."

- Bill

"Bill was very fast paced and wanted to go, go, go!"
- Gina Lam, Physiotherapist

Meet Bill, computer consultant and spinal surgery survivor

The impact of damage to your spine can go far beyond the site of the injury. After spinal surgery that involved fusing seven vertebrae near the top of his neck, Bill was left with no feeling in his hands. He couldn't button his shirt or tie his shoes. He couldn't walk. At St. John's Rehab he found that a lot can change in three weeks.

When you are recovering from a traumatic accident or major surgery, you want to use every available second to work on getting better. That was certainly Bill Hamilton's attitude. He benefited directly from an innovative St. John's Rehab program aimed at expanding service, reducing wait times and making the acute care system more efficient.

Every day, growing pressures on the healthcare system mean that hundreds of Ontarians have to endure long wait times to be admitted to an acute care hospital, to receive therapy in a rehabilitation facility and, most importantly, to return home.

At St. John's Rehab we are increasing our capacity so that patients can be admitted more quickly, participate in rehabilitation earlier and return to the community as soon as possible.

In January, the Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) granted St. John's Rehab $1.255 million for a pilot project to make rehab therapy and admissions services available seven days a week.

Bill received therapy every day of the week, and his progress was rapid. His stay in hospital was just three weeks and now he is back at work and walking up stairs.

With therapy available Monday to Sunday, and the ability to admit and discharge patients every day, St. John's Rehab can care for nearly 150 additional patients each year. The added capacity will also help us get people back to their homes, their jobs and their families an average of one day earlier. This will also free up space at acute care hospitals, allowing 400 more patients to get the immediate care they need.

We also extended our outpatient service hours in 2009, with equally rewarding results. Less than a month after introducing extended hours, we were able to eliminate our wait list for priority outpatient care. Making outpatient service more available helped contribute to a decrease in the average length of inpatient stays at the hospital.

The positive results from expanding our inpatient and outpatient services led to permanent provincial funding. Our researchers are now exploring how expanded service can improve people's recovery and add capacity to the healthcare system.