Aquacare makes a splah in Millville

Aquacare Rehabilitation Services Inc. is bringing a new wave of healthcare to the area. This week, the clinic celebrated their grand opening in the Millville Town Center, kicking off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday. The office is the company’s fifth, and largest yet, and has a lot in store for the area, with therapy treatment and community and specialized programs for all ages and stages of fitness.

Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT: The pool area at Aquacare’s Millville location is the largest of the three locations in the Delmarva region. The pool is heated and will soon offer a chair lift to help those less capable in and out of the pool.Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT
The pool area at Aquacare’s Millville location is the largest of the three locations in the Delmarva region. The pool is heated and will soon offer a chair lift to help those less capable in and out of the pool.

While open swims and private lessons are available, the core of Aquacare’s business is therapeutic.

“Aquatic therapy is an easier transition of therapy for most,” said Donielle Brasure, one of the physical therapists at Aquacare. “Some people can’t tolerate land therapy. It might be too hard for them to get started. Other times, their condition might be too overwhelming and it’s best to start in the water.”

Aquacare opened their first office in Salisbury, in 1997. Since their start, they have expanded to a second location in Salisbury, as well as one in Easton, Md., and Lewes, Del.

“A lot of our therapists go out and get extra training past just their degree,” she added. “It sets us apart from other therapy offices.” Brasure specializes in pediatrics and women’s health issues.

Specialty programs include an osteoporosis therapy program, diabetes therapy program, weight management program and several others.

The Millville office is complete with gym equipment, treatment rooms and a 20-by-40-foot, in-ground pool, regulated with water between 90 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the largest pool to be installed at any of Aquacare’s locations. “The warm temperature allows for movement to be easier,” said Brasure. “You have the buoyancy of the water, so you’re not aggravating the joints.”

The size of the pool offers more versatility than other aquatic therapy clinics, with more space for movement. Shallow, warmer areas allow for ideal weight training, while the deeper end provides room for aerobic work. Clients are not required to know how to swim, as therapists and supportive devices supply all the assistance needed. A chair lift will be fashioned within the next week to help those less capable gain access into the water.

Aquacare is designed to assist a multitude of clientele, ranging from all ages. “[Aquatic therapy] is very convenient for the aging population in the area,” Brasure said. “People with arthritis find that the water does very well for them. Local pools can be too cold. We’re not doing lap training with them, we’re trying to get them to relax and move a little freer. We also have the opportunity to help those who are non-ambulatory to attempt walking, because they’re in a much easier environment.

“People really seem to enjoy the water. It brings out the kid in everybody. We see children, but we also see teens that are active in sports.”

High school athletes make up a decent percentage of the aquatic therapeutic spectrum, as it not only helps to rehabilitate, but develop muscle strength, as well. Aquatots, a class designed specially for toddlers and young children, is also offered at Aquacare.

“We also have a lot of gym equipment, like treadmills and ellipticals,” added Dennehy. “We really work together on getting people back to the way they need to be.”

Clinical Director Erich Traum had specialized in the land-based rehabilitation and therapeutic methods, seeing hours of therapy though his athletic career in school, but decided to expand his knowledge three years ago when he started working with Aquacare at a Salisbury location.

“I had known a lot about therapy by then,” he said. “I think with this community, we’ll have a lot more healthier geriatric programs. We want to get in touch with some of the local high schools, and that way we could bring in some of the plyometric aspects. It helps with a lot of strength and balance of the legs — with running and jumping. The geriatric programs, geared toward the elderly population, will help keep a lot of people healthier.”

Aquacare is partnered with collegiate aspects, too. “We had a lot of student athletes come in to the pool to work on plyometrics,” said Kristin Dennehy, marketing rep for the Millville location. Dennehy, an athlete herself, had worked with aquatic therapy research while attending Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pa. “It validates the company as far as insurance, because you can actually see these patients improve.”

Dennehy began her work with Aquacare nearly a year ago, starting at the Lewes office.

On their opening day, Aquacare had already seen a handful of patients. “Hopefully, in six months to a year, we’ll bring in more therapists,” said Traum. “We can accommodate eight therapists at this office, and that’s what we’re shooting for.”

Once a full schedule is in place, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can see up to 13 patients at a time, he noted.

Water aerobic classes are held from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and on Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. Open swim is also available to the community throughout the week.

For more information about Aquacare’s new location, stop in at 232 Atlantic Avenue, beside the Giant in Millville, or call at (302) 539-3110. More information about programs and other locations can be found on the Web site at