San Mateo must keep the county’s last warm therapy pool: the Mickelson Arthritis and Rehabilitation Center pool at Mills Hospital. Pool users received a letter on June 24 saying the aquatic program is permanently closed. The reasons were COVID-19 and a focus on acute care. Suggestions for alternate pools were included. These alternate pools do not even begin to compare and will not work for most patients who have mobility limitations.

For decades prior to the closure, patients were typically allowed three to four weeks to do physical therapy exercise during PT hours. Then they would continue these exercises during “independent” hours at the pool. It is unconscionable for Sutter to close this much-needed resource for public use. Patients must continue exercising, with ongoing open access. Healing and strengthening is a lifelong commitment, and this facility is one of a kind.

The Mickelson pool was designed specifically for standing therapeutic exercise. It is heated to about 90 degrees and has several accessible features. It has a Hoyer lift, a chair lift and a ramp for water-resistant wheelchairs. It is also centrally located on El Camino Real which is convenient for patrons who use public transportation.

Without access to the pool this past year, users who went regularly to the Mickelson pool to manage pain are now more physically challenged than before the pandemic. Many are bedridden. The physical and mental decline of the most vulnerable members of our community is heartbreaking.

Please support our community by signing our petition: change.org/save-the-Mickelson-pool.

Lisa Weiner


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