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Island Therapy Center helps get patients back on their feet again

By Staff | Aug 3, 2016

Rachel Tritaik, owner of Island Therapy Center. ERIC DEVAUX

Rachel Tritaik, owner of Island Therapy Center, wants to let residents of Sanibel know that they do not have to go far to get a variety of therapy sessions.

“Our mission is to help people feel well on Sanibel and we like to follow the three Rs which are reduce pain, restore mobility and returning people to their active lifestyle,” Tritaik said.

Opened in 2009, the Island Therapy Center provides different therapy and equipment.

“For getting (patients) better, we use a variety of physical tools,” Tritaik said. “We do a lot of hands on work with patients which is also called manual therapy which that could include stretching and manual manipulation and mobilization of the joints and muscles. We do incorporate soft tissue work with patients and we can also use modalities such as ultra sound which gives it deep heat and electrical stimulation which could stimulate of muscles and nerves also.”

The center also educates patients on exercise based therapy they can do at home.

“My passion is really to help people stay independent as possible and we unfortunately see a lot of people who’ve had falls and have had fractures,” Tritaik said. “Fractures are devastating especially to an older population.”

They use a ceiling suspended harness system, which was installed last fall, to improve balance so patients do not fall.

Other forms of therapy they use are pilates, which they have a specific instructor and specific equipment for, and a massage therapy service.

For sports injuries, the center offers sports medicine physical therapy.

“We also have a therapist here in the winter months who is a running rehabilitation specialist and we do see a lot of student athletes and also individuals who may have been injured with activities even though they may be retired or older with golf or tennis,” Tritaik said.

Most therapy treatments are two to three times a week ranging from 40 minutes to an hour. The first visit is an evaluation where they identify the problem.

“We look at the range of motion, strength and we can use other tools as well to help with our assessment,” Tritaik said.

They can also want to make sure that they can meet patient’s needs.

“We like to get people better in the shortest amount of time possible and certainly we work with a lot of different insurances and we are in that work with Medicare but if people are here for a short period of time or if they only want a few visits, then we definitely customize our services to those clients,” Tritaik said.

The majority of patients come from doctor referrals but physical therapy is “direct access” in Florida which means they can see patients up to three weeks without a doctor’s referral.

From an early age, Trinaik knew what she wanted to do with her life.

“I’ve always been interested in health care since I was young and I always knew that I would go into a healthcare field,” Tritaik said.

She was born and raised in England and moved with her family to Canada when she was 13. After graduating from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1995, she did traveling physical therapy for two years in the Southeast. She practiced in different hospitals and clinics.

Most of her family is still up in Canada but she chose her own route. There is one reason she left.

“I didn’t like winter,” Tritaik said.

She started a life in Florida with her husband and child. Before Sanibel, they live in Vero Beach, Florida. Her husband took a position at Ding Darling so they moved to Sanibel.

“I love it here,” Tritaik said. “My family and I have been on Sanibel since 2008 and the community is wonderful. We have had such great support and we’ve had great support from our patients and our clients. The community here is just terrific. Everybody looks out for each other.”

She decided to start an in-home therapy business where she visited people in their homes but the waiting list got large. She decided to establish a facility on the island which is Island Therapy Center.

For her business to be complete, she had to add additional staff and had to make sure she had all her Medicare certifications.

The center also gets involved in the community.

“We’ve sponsored the Fish 10k Race since its inception,” Tritaik said. “I’ve sponsored youth sports teams and other non-profits on the island we like to give back to.”

For this small community, mobility is important and she enjoys seeing the end result from therapy.

“It’s nice to see patients participating in community events and in the grocery store and out and about on Sanibel,” Tritaik said. “We have a very active community that does a lot of volunteer work. Getting back to being able to go to where they volunteer is really important to them.”

Island Therapy Center is at 2242 Periwinkle Way #2, Sanibel and can be reached at (239) 395-5858 for more information.