LEXINGTON Ky. (Feb. 3, 2014) — The Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation, part of KentuckyOne Health, has received a $10,000 gift from the Unruh Charitable Foundation Inc. that will benefit multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
The grant will be used to purchase and install a ceiling-mounted patient lift and straight rail system for the Saint Joseph Therapy Room located at the Beaumont Centre Family YMCA in Lexington. The Unruh Foundation will be recognized with signage at the YMCA as well as on the donor wall at Saint Joseph Hospital.
The Therapy Room at the YMCA is staffed by KentuckyOne Health Neurology Associates and MS Care physical and occupational therapists. More than 300 wheelchair-bound MS patients could benefit from the new equipment. Therapy Room services also are open to hundreds of rehab patients who do not have MS, but suffer from other conditions that cause them to be in wheelchairs.
“This new equipment will allow patients, bound to wheelchairs, to receive vital rehab therapies that have not been available to them before,” said Nancy Heckler, nurse navigator for KentuckyOne Health Neurology Associates and MS Care. “This equipment will allow patients the opportunity to stand upright, engage in therapies for walking, balance and weight bearing exercises that are crucial to maintaining and increasing overall physical and mental health.”
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, lifelong disease that attacks the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It often affects individuals in the prime of their life. Symptoms may be mild to severe and include numbness in the limbs, problems with balance, paralysis, loss of vision, fatigue, bladder dysfunction, and cognitive issues.
More than 2.1 million people worldwide are affected by MS, including 450,000 to 700,000 in the United States and more than 5,000 in Kentucky. There is no cure for MS, and there is no single test that can detect the disease. As advances are made in the field, physicians are able to diagnosis and treat patients earlier.
KentuckyOne Health Neurology Associates and MS Care links patients with a core group of experts in the fields of medicine, physical, occupational and speech therapies, neuropsychology, social work and research. The comprehensive approach provides care for patients from diagnosis throughout treatment. It has drawn patients from across Kentucky and neighboring states including Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee.
This is the first gift to MS care from the Unruh Foundation, a charitable foundation operated by Victor and Jeannie Unruh in New Albany, Ind. Services for multiple sclerosis patients are a key focus of the foundation’s charitable giving.
“Access to medical care is an important factor in maintaining a good quality of life for MS patients,” said Barry A. Stumbo, president and CEO of the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation. “This very kind and philanthropic leadership gift will have an impact on the patients and families who desperately need this important therapy in Central and Eastern Kentucky.”