Vernon residents will no longer have to be referred to Kelowna to access physiatry care treatments with the recruitment of a new doctor and the purchase of new two pieces of specialty equipment.
The Vernon Jubilee Hospital team recently welcomed Physiatrist Dr. Jennifer Thomas, a medical doctor who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Physiatrists diagnose and treat both acute pain as well as chronic pain and specialize in a wide variety of nonsurgical treatments for the musculoskeletal system. Thomas, working both in the community and at the hospital, will be available to treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
“I am excited to return to my home town and to help patients develop treatment plans so they can enjoy a better quality of life. As a physiatrist, we focus on treating the whole person, not just the symptoms,” Thomas said. “In order to diagnose and treat pain, we require specialty equipment, such as an electromyography machine (EMG) to assess the health of muscles and the nerves that control them. In addition, the way we use an ultrasound machine is revolutionizing how we, as physiatrists, diagnose and treat many musculoskeletal conditions, allowing us to view soft tissue to diagnose and support treatment.”
“Thanks to very generous supporters, we are supporting Dr. Thomas’ work and improving care for local residents. At the recent 10th Anniversary VJHF Charity Classic, the Jim and Laverne Popowich Foundation and Mr. Archie Stroh funded the purchase of the ultrasound machine in the Fund-a-Need portion of the event,” VJH Foundation executive director Kate McBrearty said. “In addition, an anonymous donation received after the event enabled the purchase of the EMG machine that’s required for patients to be tested right here in Vernon.”
Thomas plays a key role in the rehabilitation team at VJH and also sees outpatients at the hospital and in her community practice.