Fairview opens outpatient therapy center in Stonington

Stonington — Thursday was an emotional day for Randy Whittingstall as he finished up his final day of a treatment program for Parkinson's disease, one that involved going to physical therapy four hours a day, four days a week, for four weeks.

"I'm really much better now," he said. His movements are more pronounced. His tremors were reduced considerably.

Whittingstall, 74, participated in LSVT BIG, a program that takes the principles of Lee Silverman Voice Treatment for speech and applies them to limbs, to increase "bigness" of movements.

"It's about increasing amplitude of movements, so that their movements become more normalized and they learn how to recalibrate their movements," said Carey Faulkner, director of therapy services at FairviewFirst Outpatient Therapy.

Whittingstall was the first patient — out of 10 so far — Faulkner saw when she relocated from Fairview Odd Fellows Home of Connecticut in Groton to the new FairviewFirst at 107 Wilcox Road, on Quiambaug Cove.

FairviewFirst opened in September, and members of the health and business communities gathered there on Thursday to celebrate the expansion of the 250-employee senior housing and health care provider.

For now, the only employees at the new location are Jo Ann Smith, office manager, and Faulkner. The office has been offering only physical therapy thus far but will grow to offer occupational and speech therapy.

"As the clientele comes in we'll be growing," Smith said.

Faulkner has been a physical therapist for 16 years, having graduated from the University of New England with a master's degree in physical therapy in 2001. She lives in Groton with her husband and two boys, ages 11 and 8.

Faulkner — who Whittingstall characterized as "terrific" and "outstanding" — has been working for Fairview for two and a half years, having previously worked in home health care for Gentiva Health Services.

As a staff physical therapist at Fairview, she continued to do homecare, which she does not do anymore.

Fairview offers inpatient, outpatient and transitional care, and Faulkner feels that having a separate facility strictly for outpatient services can help Fairview better reach younger people.

Fairview CEO James Rosenman said the decision to open FairviewFirst in Stonington came from wanting a more convenient location and looking at where patients were coming from.

"It's a beautiful area, a lot of parking. It's very convenient," he said of Quiambaug Cove.

This is the first time Fairview is providing services away from its 70-acre campus on Lestertown Road in Groton, and Rosenman is pleased with how the past month has gone.

Echoing Rosenman's comments on convenience, Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons said that the new location allows residents of Mystic, Stonington and Pawcatuck to bypass Interstate 95 traffic.

Simmons also noted that Fairview's opening of a satellite location in Stonington fits with the goal in the town's conservation and development plan of strengthening health care, particularly for seniors.

FairviewFirst Outpatient Therapy serves patients of all ages. Between the two locations, services include neurology, cardiac, pulmonary, orthopedic, dysphagia and cognitive.

Hours at the Quiambaug Cove location are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday by appointment.

e.moser@theday.com

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