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Pottery wheel found uses by Phoebe Putney Hospital patients

HEALTH: Workers find pottery wheel at hospital which is now used by rehab patients at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

ALBANY — A chance discovery during a recent move has led to a new experience in rehab at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

During the transition of the inpatient rehab department from Phoebe’s main campus to the much larger facility at Phoebe North Campus, an employee came across a pottery wheel. The wheel was found at the north campus and no one seems to know how or why the wheel was at the hospital.

The therapists in the department, particularly therapeutic recreation therapists Kathi Collins and Allison Johnson, were intrigued by the idea of utilizing the wheel during therapy. The problem was that neither of them had ever used a pottery wheel.

After some research, they discovered that they could get local, cost-effective lessons. They began working two hours a week for six weeks to learn the basics of pottery making. After the course, they were able to create beautiful and unique bowls. And, they discovered they were correct - the wheel would be a great tool to use in the rehabilitation of the patients.

“This is really a wonderful opportunity for our patients to experience something unique during their stay in rehab,” Collins said. “It is a fun activity for them to take part in, and the benefits they receive from this type of recreational therapy help them greatly in their recovery.”

Those benefits include aiding patients with strengthening the upper body, fine motor coordination, relaxation, pain management and even increased awareness of new leisure interests after a life changing event.

So far, the patients love it.

“They have such a good time sitting together and wedging the clay and then taking turns using the wheel,” Collins said. “The joy it brings to the patients’ faces makes us glad we found this unique tool to utilize.