Most people have some familiarity or experience with skilled nursing or rehabilitation services. Many have seen a loved one through treatment, while others have been treated themselves. Skilled nursing and rehabilitation are umbrella terms encompassing a broad range of services and professionals in this field are as skilled as they are versatile, often assisting with a variety of ailments over the course of a workweek. James Weatherstone of Hudson Valley, NY, is one such social work professional.
James Weatherstone is a former Director of Social Services at Campbell Hall Rehabilitation Center, also known as Campbell Hall Senior Center, one of the area’s largest rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities. James Weatherstone entered the social services field after over 30 years as a professional actor, earning his Master of Social Work from Adelphi University in 2014, graduating summa cum laude with a near-perfect 3.975 grade-point average. (He had previously earned a 4.0 GPA at the State University of New York-Empire State [SUNY-Empire State] achieving his bachelor’s degree in drama and theatrical arts in 2012). While James Weatherstone had always had the heart for helping others, his education equipped him with the skills and knowledge of a social worker in the context of mental health therapy, preparing him to provide specialized support services for clients in a clinical setting.
Campbell Hall Rehabilitation Center is a 122-resident facility with outpatient and inpatient services. Their rehabilitation programs include, according to their website: functional mobility recovery, ADL retraining, speech and language therapy, stroke rehabilitation, orthotic and prosthetic training, orthopedic rehabilitation, balance, and vestibular rehabilitation, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, pain and contracture management, and optimum seating and positioning.
James Weatherstone explained that in a given day, his staff treated dozens of individuals with a range of conditions and circumstances, from surgery and accident recovery to stroke rehabilitation. With the goal of helping patients regain strength, functionality, and confidence, staff members also helped them regain vitality and independence to improve their quality of life.
In addition to managing the rehabilitation center staff, James Weatherstone oversaw all of the skilled nursing services department. In this wing, the nursing staff provides care to live-in patients 24 hours a day and treats patients with numerous challenges. This includes pain management, wound care, nurse practitioner supervision and care, tracheostomy care, IV therapy, diabetes management, nutritional counseling, bariatric accommodations, dementia care, and palliative and hospice care, per the website.
James Weatherstone said the experience was challenging but rewarding. Not only did he manage facility staff, but he also made it his priority to interact one-on-one with patients and their family members and caregivers. This gave him an opportunity to get to truly get to know them and their needs better in order to provide optimal care for all patients present and future.
According to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, there are more than 15,500 skilled nursing facilities providing care to more than 1.35 million people in the United States. This does not include the number of patients taking part in rehabilitation services at any given time. With legions of Baby Boomers aging, projections indicate this number will drastically increase in the coming years, making dedicated professionals like James Weatherstone and his colleagues all the more crucial to communities nationwide.