Esme and Henrick Erickson—3-year-old siblings from a set of triplets—love their pool therapy. Both have cerebral palsy. During the past several months, during weekly sessions in the water with a Gillette physical therapist, Esme has worked on increasing strength, and Henrick has focused on improving balance.

“They get great workouts, and it’s fun for them,” says their mom, Ann Erickson. “We’ve had excellent results.”

In 2016, more kids than ever before will enjoy similar benefits at Gillette. We’ve just opened a new therapy pool at our St. Paul campus. Located next to our therapy gym, the new pool includes several features specifically designed to meet needs of children who have disabilities.

  • The pool floor lowers into the water, so patients don’t need to use a ramp or lift to get in, and therapists can set an ideal depth for each patient.
  • The floor can function as a treadmill, when needed.
  • Underwater cameras can help therapists observe and evaluate patients’ movements.
  • Adjustable jets can change the level of resistance the surrounding water creates as patients work on therapy exercises.

The Erickson family is excited about the new pool. The adjustable bottom, Ann explains, is particularly helpful for her son.

“Henrick can’t balance on a slanted floor,” she explains. “He needs a pool with a flat bottom, and it has to be the perfect depth for him. If it’s too deep, he walks on his toes. If it’s too shallow, he doesn’t have enough support for balance. This new pool is exactly what he needs.”

Esme Erickson in the Gillette therapy poolGillette’s St. Paul therapy pool can accommodate more than 2,000 therapy sessions per year, with appointment times that include after-school hours. In addition, we offer pool therapy in Burnsville and Maple Grove. If you think your child might benefit from pool therapy, discuss it with your health care provider or your Gillette therapist.

Blizzards Helped Build the Pool

During the 2014 and 2015 Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Days, participating Minnesota and western Wisconsin stores directed a portion of their Blizzard treat proceeds toward construction of Gillette’s St. Paul therapy pool. Dairy Queen is among many generous donors who helped bring this pool to our patients.

Learn more about Aquatic (Pool) Therapy at Gillette.

Photos: Henrick (right) and Esme (left) enjoy pool therapy with physical therapist Janna Neher.

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