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Therapy & Rehabilitation

When pain and stiffness increase the difficulty of doing the things you love, Avera Therapy is here to help. Whether it’s a recent sprain, a sports injury or arthritis, we can help you move better, feel better and live better.

Our rehabilitation teams are found across the region and provide a broad range of services including physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy treats injuries and diseases using therapeutic exercise and other hands-on techniques that focus on alleviating pain and improving posture, strength, endurance, balance, coordination and joint mobility.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy treats issues that arise from a disruption in a person’s occupations. Occupation is everything that people do to occupy themselves, including taking care of personal needs, activities that allow one to enjoy life, achieving developmental milestones or work. Occupational therapy can increase independence with a variety of diagnoses including:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Autism
  • Congenital heart failure
  • Dementia
  • Developmental delays
  • Diabetes
  • Lymphedema
  • Mental illnesses
  • Painful hands and arms
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke
  • Wounds, fractures and joint replacements

Speech Therapy

Speech-language therapy addresses issues with communication, memory, problem solving, swallowing, sound production, stuttering and voice for all ages.

Top-Quality Therapeutic Services

Inpatient Therapy

When an injury or illness requires additional time in the hospital to focus on recovery, look to one of Avera’s inpatient therapy programs for services that strengthen physical, cognitive, psychological, social and vocational abilities during a hospital stay.

Conditions that may benefit from inpatient therapy include:

  • Amputation
  • Brain injury
  • Congenital deformity
  • Multiple trauma
  • Neurological disorders
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke

At Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center Inpatient Rehabilitation in Sioux Falls, SD, you’ll benefit from services that are accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehab Facilities (CARF). You’ll also have access to the latest in therapy technology, including:

  • AlterG Bionic Leg™ to increase mobility and strength
  • Functional electrical stimulation (FES) upper and lower extremity cycles to restore functionality after a spinal cord injury, stroke, etc.
  • Johnson Aquatic Center for therapy utilizing the principles of water
  • Kitchen, laundry room, grocery store and café to simulate every day activities
  • Neuro Sensorimotor Integrator to improve visual balance and neuro-cognitive function
  • Solo-Step™, Inc., balance and gait system to provide stability and protection during rehabilitation
  • VitalStim® Therapy for oral strengthening to improve swallowing and speech function

Take the next step to schedule a tour at Avera McKennan or ask about a physician referral by calling 605-322-2100.

Outpatient Therapy

Outpatient therapy with Avera therapists includes prevention, screening, consultation, assessment and diagnosis, treatment, intervention, management, counseling and follow-up for the services, including:

  • Aquatic therapy – Aquatic therapy is a specialized treatment method used by therapists to help patients recover with better results. Water improves motion and flexibility, helps muscles relax and reduces pain.
  • Hand therapy – After surgery or injury, pain in the hand, wrist and arm can develop. Avera therapists have specific training for restoring function and relieving pain in the wrists, hands and fingers.
  • Back and neck therapy – Physical therapy for back and neck pain uses active techniques (such as education and assistance on strengthening muscles, restoring muscular flexibility, joint mobility and spine motion) as well as passive techniques (ice, heat, ultrasound, traction, electrical stimulation). Education on proper posture and ergonomic principles for the spine allows the patient to return to normal activities with new awareness.
  • Hip, knee, and leg therapy – When a joint or muscle in the hip, knee or leg isn’t working properly, pain or stiffness can occur. By examining the patient’s walking, range of motion, strength coordination and the way he or she performs activities, Avera therapists can identify the source of the pain and work with the patient on a treatment plan.
  • Shoulder therapy – A shoulder condition could result from a rotator cuff/labral tear, frozen shoulder, overuse injuries or other issues. Avera therapists strive to decrease pain and improve motion, strength and function.
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation – After an orthopedic injury or surgery, Avera therapists provide expert, quality care and support to help rebuild strength, motion and function in the affected bone, muscle, ligament or tendon.
  • Neurological rehabilitation – When disease or injury affects the nervous system, Avera therapists use evidence-based exercises and programs to improve movement, function, speech and activities. Common conditions include visual impairments, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Sports therapy – Sports medicine therapists use manual therapy, stretches and exercises to reduce pain, increase mobility and improve overall performance. After an injury, sports therapy can be used to improve athletic ability and prevent future injuries. Avera Therapy works with the athlete’s specific goals to get him or her back in the game.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation – Avera therapists work with walking, balance and dizziness problems. Therapy may include exercises that help with balance, exercises that help the brain resolve differences in inner ear signals, or exercises that improve the ability to visually focus.
  • Occupational health and work rehabilitation – Wellness, cognition, physical disabilities, psychological factors and medical conditions all affect work performance. Avera therapists evaluate worker job demands and environment with recommendations and interventions for optimal health and performance

Once you complete your rehabilitation program, maintain your gains with an independent exercise/health improvement plan customized to meet your particular needs.

Learn more about related services from Avera, including primary care, orthopedics, home medical equipment, Avera Sports, business health services, and in-home care.

Appointments & Referrals

If you need physical therapy, Avera Therapy offers direct access to its services, meaning you don’t need a physician referral for treatment; you can refer yourself. However, our speech and occupational therapy services require a physician referral.

What to Expect

Arrive 15 minutes before your first appointment to complete the registration process. This appointment will last 45 to 60 minutes.

The duration of subsequent visits (typically 30 – 60 minutes each) are based upon evaluation, plan of care and conditions.

Your therapists will consider your condition and the doctor’s order when establishing the frequency of your treatments. Therapy sessions will continue until you and your therapist decide that you have reached your desired level of function or that further skilled therapy would not be beneficial.

What to Wear & What to Bring

Wear loose-fitting clothing that allows your therapist easy access to the area needing evaluation and treatment. Gowns and shorts are available if you need them. Bring tennis shoes as exercise is important to treatment most disorders. You’ll also want to bring your:

  • Insurance card
  • Driver’s license or photo ID
  • Doctor’s prescription for therapy, if you have one

Insurance & Medicare Coverage

Insurance coverage rules vary from company to company. Some insurance plans have a deductible to be met first, some have co-pays, some have both. You may also require a prior authorization before starting any therapy, but this is completed by our staff.

Our office staff will verify your benefits and discuss them with you. Contact your insurance company for more information on your plan.

If you have Medicare coverage, therapy is covered if it is considered medically necessary. A physician must approve the plan of care by reading and signing the evaluation and goals we have set for you.


Notify us as soon as possible (preferably within 24 hours) of any appointment you are going to miss so we can book another patient in that slot.

Expert Care From Multidisciplinary Teams

Strengthen your physical, emotional, intellectual, social and job-related abilities through Avera’s extensive rehabilitation options, available during a hospital stay or directly from our therapists at convenient locations across the Upper Midwest.

In addition to your primary care physician, your multidisciplinary rehabilitation team may involve:

  • Physiatrists (physicians) – Specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation registered nurses (RNs) – Assist you in learning skills needed to live as independently as possible
  • Physical therapists – Evaluate and design personalized exercise programs to improve your mobility, strength, endurance, coordination and balance
  • Occupational therapists – Assess and develop plans for activities and everyday tasks to help you get ready to return to work, other care facilities or home
  • Speech and language pathologists – Appraise strength and coordination of facial muscles during speech, eating, and swallowing, as well as your ability to express yourself and understand others
  • Patient care coordinators (rehabilitation RNs) – Identify and educate you and your family on the best plan of care to meet your needs from preadmission to discharge
  • Social workers – Address social, emotional, financial or work-related concerns after injury or illness; assist with referrals and access to local resources for a smooth transition from hospital to community
  • Community reintegration specialists – Develop programs of leisure activities and supervised outings in the community for you and your family; may include shopping, dining, movies, sporting events and others

Depending on your needs, your care team may also include Avera dietitians, orthotists and prosthetists, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists, audiologists, therapeutic recreation specialists, exercise physiologists and volunteers.

Return to the Life You Love

Take advantage of therapy and rehabilitation services to help you or your loved ones regain skills, recover from injury, return to function, learn effective coping methods and live your best possible life. To learn more, find an Avera location near you.

Johnson Aquatic Center

The Johnson Aquatic Center, located on the Garden Level of Avera McKennan Hospital, offers three warm water pools designed for therapeutic intervention. To schedule sessions and for more information, call 605-322-5047.

Move Better, Feel Better

Find therapeutic programs, classes and events at Avera locations. Search our calendar.

Upcoming Opportunities

Moving Health Forward

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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