Landmark Hospital – A hospitable hospital

December 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Note: this is one of a series of stories
written about various Athens neighborhoods.

Behind Bishop Park on Sunset Drive lies a small, unobtrusive brick building. A small shopping center stands behind the building, but it receives little foot traffic. If you are this far down Sunset Drive, you have passed the family neighborhood and the people running, playing and visiting in the park. The street starts to narrow, and the busy traffic of Prince Avenue is visible ahead.

The front entrance of this small building is marked by two large sliding doors, but it is quiet, and few people can be seen entering or leaving. The parking lot is almost empty, and the parked cars seem to have always been there.  Trees dot the premises, manicured lawns surround the parking lot and an apartment complex stands across the street.

This is Landmark Hospital.

Landmark Hospital is owned by a company called Landmark Holdings in Missouri. The company has opened four different critical care centers, the first in 2006 in Missouri.

The Athens location opened on July 15, 2008, and that same day it accepted its very first patient.

The hospital is atypical in that it services only critically ill, long-term patients. It does not accept emergency patients, so it does not compete with other Athens emergency care hospitals. This explains its less than bustling entrance.

Usually, patients stay at Landmark Hospital for almost a month before being transferred to rehabilitation centers or discharged to their homes, but it also houses short-term patients. The building has 42 patient rooms, private bathrooms, and a chapel on site. The staff is trained to provide care to everyone affected by an illness, meaning not only the patient, but also their friends and family.

This long-term care hospital draws patients from the Athens area to those over 100 miles away because it services such a particular clientèle that is oftentimes ignored by emergency hospitals. While many hospitals of its kind can be found in Atlanta or other large cities, Landmark Hospital of Athens serves smaller counties neighboring Athens.

Being hospitalized puts one in a vulnerable position, therefore, choosing a hospital at which to stay is a very personal decision. Landmark Hospital is a small, intimate setting with caring professionals. Jim Gray, director of quality, is quick to respond to inquiries.

Bishop Park offers Athens’ residents fun and games

December 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Note: this is one of a series of stories
written about various Athens neighborhoods.

Bishop Park offers Athens’ residents more than space to get active, it connects families and provides a place for learning and growing.

Nestled between the Landmark Hospital of Athens and an array of residential homes, Bishop Park spreads across 33 acres off Sunset Drive.

The centrally-located park, named after former City of Athens Mayor Julius Bishop, services many surrounding Athens’ neighborhoods, most within walking distance.

With basketball and tennis courts, softball and soccer fields, Bishop Park and Athens Clarke County Leisure Services hosts many activities for residents throughout the year, including Athens Clarke Gymnastics Academy, Athens’ leading gymnastics program.

“We serve people crib to death,” said Cathy Padgett, ACC Leisure Services Public Information Coordinator. “We have programs for teens, families and pretty much everybody.”

Padgett said her organization hosts 50 outdoor camps in the summer, along with other programs, which have earned more than 60 awards.

During the warmer months, they host family events such as Splashdown 2010, which celebrated the 41st anniversary of the Moon Landing with astronomical games and night swimming. The event received the Georgia Recreation and Park Association Innovative Program Award for aquatics.

Although a recognized and useful gem to the Athens community, Bishop Park is not immune to controversy.

In May 2010, the park remodeling controversy caused quite the stir when the tennis center was set to possibly replace the Athens Farmers Market.  Instead, the tennis center was shifted to the eastside and the farmer’s market continues to provide residents with fresh, locally grown food and various goods.

The Athens Farmers Market extended the 2010 season with three more markets on Dec. 4, 11 and 18 from 9 a.m to 12 p.m.

Tennis instructor keeps Athens’ residents in shape

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Note: this is one of a series of stories
written about various Athens neighborhoods.

Terrycloth headbands, shiny aluminum rackets and fuzzy green balls shape the life of one University of Georgia alumnus.

Paul Allen, 34, has been playing tennis for more than 16 years and teaching the sport to Athens’ residents for five.

“I think it contributes immensely to the public health,” Allen said.

Allen teaches lessons at Bishop Park off Sunset Drive in Athens for beginners to intermediate players.   “The age I teach ranges from 5 to 85, and everything in between,” Allen said. “The majority of adults I teach are in their thirties.”

“I love it,” Megan Lavine, a junior at the University of Georgia said. “It’s great for my tennis and makes me active.

Lavine, 21, said she has an early class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, allowing her to take advantage of Allen’s lessons instead of playing video games.

Bishop Park offers various skills set adult classes daily, junior classes Tuesday and Thursday and senior classes on Wednesdays, next year’s class registration begins Jan. 24.

Allen divides his classes not only by age and level of expertise, but also teaches a businesswomen’s league from 6 to 8:45 p.m.

Allen said although he loves tennis, it was not his initial major at the University of Georgia.

“I was in Grady [College of Journalism and Mass Communication],” Allen said. “Then I was a theatre major before I finally got my degree in physical education.”

Allen calls Athens his hometown and says he really enjoys working on Sunset Drive.

“Sunset is young families, new families and is pretty progressive,” Allen said.

Allen said the local Sunset Drive dwellers who attend his lessons enjoy organic food, running with their dogs and are more “artsy” than other communities in Athens.

“Most residents are people who are very green and politically involved,” Allen said.

Although the economic difficulties seen by most residents in the past year affected enrollment, Allen said he is happy to see tennis court traffic increasing.

“We have had a resurgence in the last year,” Allen said. “This year we’ve had triple enrollment compared to last fall.”

Allen not only provides the community with a fun activity that can be enjoyed by all ages, but also improves the quality of health for generations to come.

“It gets kids out and exercising,” Allen said. “[The tennis program] teaches kids a sport they can play for life.”

Georgia’s injured come to Athens for help

December 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Note: this is one of a series of stories
written about various Athens neighborhoods.

After thirty years on the assembly line at Tenneco Automotive, the pain got to be too much for Irvin Adams.

Despite three attempts, Surgery, physical therapy and about 25 staples in his back weren’t enough to send the 59-year-old back to work. The intense ache proved too much.

“Finally, they told him he didn’t need to come back,” said Adam’s wife Cathy. “It’s been kinda hard on him, especially when you work at a place for so long.”

After leaving the plant where he got his injury, Adams began the process to get workers compensation. To start receiving benefits, the north Georgia resident had to drive an hour and a half to Athens for a functional capacity evaluation at the Work Rehab Service on Sunset Drive, one of two such facilities in the state.

Doug Imig has been administering this two-hour test for 28 years, 16 of which have been at his Athens clinic.

“It’s just observation,” he said as Adams simulated unloading crates from a truck by moving boxes from one shelf to another. “It’s the biggest part of the job.”

After a few minutes, Adams had to stop himself.

“How do you feel?” Imig asked.

“”Rough,” Adams responded, clearly tired, but smiling nonetheless.

Imig then asked Adams why he stopped — back pain — and made several notes for a later report.

Irvin Adams completes twists and turns, simulating the motions of unloading a truck

Each person Imig sees is put through a variety of tests designed to determine what kind of work they’re able to do. Whether walking up and down stairs, climbing a ladder, crawling on the floor or picking up crates, Imig carefully observes his patients to make sure they aren’t pushing themselves too hard and, in some situations, to make sure they aren’t faking.

“Usually you can pick out the people with deviational symptoms,” he said. For example, patients pretending to have hand problems will be able to fake low hand strength during a grip test when told to squeeze as hard as they can, but often can’t when told to squeeze as fast as they can. On the other hand, patients who compensate for leg weakness with their back when picking boxes up off the ground usually experience pain or weakness when climbing a ladder.

By the end of the test’s three stages, which measure strength, mobility and the ability to work in the same position for extended periods of time, Imig usually has enough data to make a full report.

These reports can then be used in court to determine whether a person should get workers compensation and to help find injured people new jobs that won’t cause pain.

As Adams glanced at the heart monitor on his wrist, giving Imig the information needed to create his report, he was breathing heavy, absentmindedly rubbing his back.

Still, Adams said Imig’s tests aren’t horribly grueling.

“He’s not too bad,” Adams said with a wink. “He gives me a chance to take a break and that helps.”