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New York Hospital Queens showcases new rehab center

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Too few medical professionals knew of New York Hospital Queens’ rehabilitation center’s move from the hospital’s Flushing site to Fresh Meadows this summer, and officials said they were hoping to change that with an open house Monday.

“The community doesn’t realize we moved to an off site,” said Denise Lewinger, the faculty practice coordinator at NYHQ’s Center for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. “We want people to know we’re the prominent place to go.”

The 7,200-square-foot center at 163-03 Horace Harding Expwy. in Fresh Meadows houses the practices of board-certified orthopedic surgeons, a digital X-ray machine and a full range of physical and occupational therapy services. The center changed locations in order to increase its outpatient rehabilitation services, according to Dr. Jeffrey Rosen, chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.

A bevy of physicians and other medical providers attended the open house Monday evening, which included demonstrations by center staff of the various treatments they offer at the center.

Anita Liu-Chen, an occupational therapist, spoke of helping individuals to learn how to live on their own again after suffering a stroke or a fall. Liu-Chen frequently helps individuals of all ages to gain control of their hands once again, enabling them to work button hooks or open jars — tasks that can prove especially frustrating following a traumatic experience or illness.

“We’re able to do things to make them stronger,” Liu-Chen said.

Patricia Spina-Ruffini, a certified vestibular therapist, said patients frequently do a complete turn-about, both physically and psychologically, following their treatment.

“It’s life-changing for them,” Spina-Ruffini said. “They can do everything they want to do. They can play with their grandkids again.”

Spina-Ruffini works with individuals who have problems with balance, so her patients often use a new technology called the Neurocom Equitest system. The system enables patients to simulate the feel of walking on uneven surfaces in order to prepare them for the real world.

“I had a patient who worked on Wall Street and was in a traumatic car injury, and when she came in here, her husband always had to help her and hold her hand,” Spina-Ruffini said. “She walked out of here running and skipping. It was amazing.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

Updated 5:42 pm, October 10, 2011
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