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Through Virginia Gasaway Community Investment Grant Funds, Barnesville Hospital Adds New Service – Vestibular Rehabilitation

An estimated 42% of the population experience dizziness at least once in their lifetime. Dizziness can increase your risk of falling and injuring yourself. Patients with cancer sometimes experience persistent dizziness or a loss of balance due to problems in the inner ear. Physical therapists trained in vestibular rehabilitation can determine the cause of the impairment and develop a plan of exercises and activities to retrain a patient to maintain their equilibrium.

With funding through the Virginia Gasaway Belmont County ACS Community Investment Grant, Barnesville Hospital will purchase the necessary equipment to begin offering an exciting new program, Vestibular Rehabilitation, the first of its kind locally. The equipment plays a vital role in Vestibular Rehabilitation, specifically the Frenzel Lenses, which allow the therapist to track a patient’s eye movement.

Cheryl Lewis, a physical therapist at Barnesville Hospital, recently went through extensive training at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon receiving a referral from a physician, Mrs. Lewis will perform a thorough evaluation that begins with a medical history and includes observing and measuring posture, balance and gait, and compensatory strategies. The assessment may also include eye-head coordination tests that measure how well a person’s eyes track a moving object with or without head movement. Other assessments may also be used. Using the evaluation results, Cheryl will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes specific head, body, and eye exercises to be performed both in the therapy setting and at home.

A Vestibular Rehabilitation program can improve the quality of life for cancer patients and others suffering from dizziness. By reducing dizziness and restoring balance, patients battling cancer will have improved posture and reduced risk of falls. Injuries as the result of falls are the leading cause of accidental death to individuals over the age of 65. Patients treated at Barnesville Hospital in the Vestibular Rehabilitation program will have a reduced risk of complicating injuries and an overall better quality of life.

Diagnoses commonly treated by a vestibular-trained therapist include:

  • BPPV: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
  • Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrintitis
  • Meniere\\’s Disease
  • Acoustic Neuroma: Tumor on the eighth (vestibular-cochlear) cranial nerve
  • Ototoxicity
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Concussion (a mild TBI)
  • Other similar conditions

The goals for Vestibular Rehabilitation are to decrease the frequency, intensity and duration of vertigo and consequently increase an individual’s gait and balance. Overall the goal is to improve patient’s independence in activities of daily living and to reduce falls and increase safety.

For information on the Vestibular Rehabilitation Program, contact the Rehabilitation Therapy Department at (740) 425-5110. For information on other services Barnesville Hospital has available, visit the hospital’s web page at or visit us on Facebook. The goal of Barnesville Hospital is to improve the community’s health through the efficient provision, coordination, and integration of quality health services.