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21st Century Rehab

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

It occurred to me early on in my career that the typical clinic setting would never be a good fit for me. From the moment I graduated I knew I wanted to own my own clinic one day. I remember vividly in my first year working as a new grad I would be searching for clinic templates online to find a template I could use to plan out my space. To my dismay, I found the typical 1,300-1,800 sq ft clinic with a small reception area, 5 treatment rooms, staff room, and an "exercise" space of 200 sq ft. It was a jungle of tables, Hydrocollators (who remembers those?), IFC machines, Ultrasounds, Lasers, and multiple other gizmos that patients never really understood what they were actually doing...but they looked fancy and expensive.

I was disillusioned, but found hope in the fact that I was working inside a clinic that while it had all those aforementioned shiny items, also operated inside a gym. I was in my element, having access to 20,000 sq ft of exercise equipment and open space was my dream come true. This was a fantastic model that I though would serve as a template for my future clinic.

I spent the first 12 years of my career trying to marry the two industries with zero luck. The clinic practitioners looked down on the fitness industry as incompetent and the fitness industry saw the clinics as a threat. It was frustrating to me that the two sides couldn't get along, despite it being a perfect blend on paper. I knew that for this to work, someone had to own and operate both to create a positive environment for both.

In 2019, after 12 years of unsuccessfully trying to blend the two universes, I took the step of integrating both under one umbrella. Umana Health became the first clinic in Etobicoke to be built from the ground up as a blend of active/rehab space. With a unique floorplan that dedicated over 50% of the 3,000 sq ft to exercise space, it created a new opportunity for therapists to move away from strictly passive treatments and towards active therapy. It was a safe space for both wellness and medical practitioners to work together for the benefit of the client. It was amazing to see 5+ different disciplines collaborating around our meeting table providing ideas on how best to manage a particular client in a positive way.

Since I opened the clinic, there has been a definite trend towards this model and many new clinics are being built this way. I find this to be extremely exciting as it shows a shift in our healthcare delivery from being reactive/segregating to being proactive/inclusive. I'm excited to see what the next 10 years brings. With social media and instant access to information available to people in the industry, I hope that many more clinics make the shift to 21st century rehab.

- Felix Umana PT

Picture: Umana Health Etobicoke January 2020

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