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Adventist Paulson Rehab Willowbrook celebrates 25 years of healing

Caption: Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation Willowbrook is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011. Staff members, from left, Karen Fournier, Sheryl Hill, Karen King, Linda Henson and Irene Temple have been with the organization since its inception in 1986.


La Grange – Burr Ridge resident Bob Rosenberg is eternally grateful for Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation in Willowbrook.


The 74-year-old suffered severe muscle weakness after taking a new medication to control gout. During his month of therapy at Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation, Rosenberg was humbled by the personalized care he received.


“I was not a number coming in there, but a person,” Rosenberg said. “No one ever told me, ‘There’s the machine. Go work out and we’ll see you in 20 minutes.’ They were very interested in what was going on with me and my body.”


That caring, patient-centered approach to physical, occupational and speech therapy has been the hallmark of Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation Willowbrook since its inception in 1986.


The organization, which also offers community wellness programs, such as exercise memberships, therapeutic massage and pool programs, is celebrating its silver anniversary this year.


“For 25 years, Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation in Willowbrook has provided high-quality, professional therapy to the community,” said Rick Wright, chief executive officer of Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. “We commend the staff for their dedicated hard work and look forward to serving the community in the future.”


The facility’s manager, Western Springs resident Karen King, and four other employees have worked there since it opened. King transferred to Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation in Willowbrook, 619 Plainfield Road, from Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, where she worked as a physical therapist. She became facility manager in 1989 and maintains the center’s vision of personalized care.


“For 45 minutes, the patient has our undivided attention,” King said. “In most cases, patients keep seeing the same therapist, so treatment carries over from session to session. This continuity of care gives our patients a better experience.”


Four other employees have worked at Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation since the beginning. They are:


  • Karen Fournier, physical therapist, of New Lenox: The active and people-oriented Fournier never wanted a desk job. As a teen, Fournier volunteered in the physical therapy department at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Fournier so believes in the Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation Willowbrook’s vision of personalized patient care, it’s worth the 45 minute drive to work. “I’m able to give patients my total attention,” Fournier said. “I never have to overlap someone’s treatment with another patient.”
  • Sheryl Hill, physical therapist, of Lemont: When she was a teen, Hill considered becoming either physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon or a librarian. She decided on the first after working as a candy striper near a physical therapy department. Although now semi-retired, Hill’s devotion to Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation has not decreased. “I still like working one-on-one with the patients,” Hill said, “and the therapists are great.”
  • Linda Henson, physical therapist, of Downers Grove: Henson was an unhappy computer science major when her sister, who worked at a hospital, invited her on a tour, which included the physical therapy department. At Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation in Willowbrook, Henson personally assists each client in reaching his or her goal, even if it’s winning the Boston Marathon. “My client came in the day after the race with her medal around her neck, grinning from ear to ear,” Henson said. “She gave me a huge hug, thanking me for helping her cross the finish line.”
  • Irene Temple, physical therapist assistant, of Aurora: Temple had initially wanted to be a teacher, but jobs were scarce. Her mother encouraged her to pursue physical therapy because Temple, who used to imitate the physical therapy movements her mother did following an automobile accident, had “the touch.” For Temple, leaving Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation in Willowbrook would be akin to forsaking family. “When I walk in the door to work,” Temple said, “it feels like home.”


Under King’s direction, patient satisfaction is nearly 100 percent. Two very pleased patients even donated equipment to the center. As a staunch advocate of physical therapy, King has also hosted a seminar with representatives from the Illinois Physical Therapy Association on the implications of healthcare reform on physical therapy. U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert was the guest speaker.


“My father had polio and then received his draft notice,” King said. “He had to crawl up the steps to the draft board, but he had no choice but to enlist. Because of basic training, he was able to function normally. It inspired me that physical therapy could do these things for people. I wanted to be part of that.”


When Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation in Willowbrook first opened in April of 1986, it was simply an office building. Later, a pool was added and in 1990, the center began offering community pool programs, including pre- and post-natal pregnancy pool classes.  


King is proud of the programs the center has developed over the years, such as the work hardening program, which is now located at Paulson Rehabilitation in La Grange, located on the campus of Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, 5101 S. Willow Springs Road. This is an individualized therapy plan that prepares clients who have suffered an illness or injury to return to work. The client’s work positions are identified and a treatment plan is developed to facilitate the client’s work goals. Staff at the Willowbrook and La Grange locations work collaboratively on progressing patients from acute outpatient physical and occupational therapy to the work hardening program.


Other services Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation in Willowbrook offers include orthopedic and pain rehabilitation, scoliosis therapy, sports injury rehabilitation, upper extremity/hand program and splinting services, joint replacement program, osteoporosis care, neurological rehabilitation, fall prevention, incontinence/pelvic muscle dysfunction, joint replacement rehabilitation, vestibular/balance rehabilitation and speech language therapy services.


Although physical therapy programs and facilities have evolved through the years and the average client is more health conscious than in the past, King is confident Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation will continue to deliver top-notch programs that will meet the needs of its community through the work of its experienced staff and its one-on-one therapy.


“We want to become more effective while maintaining our flexibility and willingness to work with our staff,” King said. “Our turnover rate is very low; we have many employees who weren’t married when they started and now they have children in college.”


For more information on Adventist Paulson Rehabilitation in Willowbrook, call 630-856-8200.



Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit


Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-856-0354