Episode 058 -- A PT Vacation

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have some of the most amazing scenery and outdoor options in the country. So why do all your rehab in a clinic?

Today's guest is Physical Therapist, Dr. Carol-Ann Nelson, the Founder and Executive Director of Destination Rehab in Bend Oregon. For those not familiar with the geography here, Bend is in the middle of Oregon, about a 6-hour drive South East of Seattle. It's surrounded by mountains, volcanoes, forests, a river and wildlife. It's an absolutely gorgeous city and region that I'd encourage anyone to visit.

Destination Rehab combine PT with outdoor activities, taking advantage of all Central Oregon has to offer. They have year round program for folks in the area, and they offer week long Rehab Vacations for folks with neuro conditions who want to travel to the area. Participants include stroke survivors plus folks with MS, Parkinson's, TBI, Spinal Cord Injury, and other conditions.


Carol-Ann Nelson headshotCarol-Ann's love for the outdoors began during her years growing up in Oregon. She has enjoyed backpacking, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, hiking and running in mountains and rivers across the country.

While in graduate school, she realized her passion to utilize physical therapy to help people with disabilities and chronic conditions engage in the outdoors and in their local community.

In 2016 she founded Destination Rehab, a nonprofit organization that takes physical therapy principles out of the clinic walls and into the outdoors. Their focus is to build confidence, independence and improve quality of life for individuals with physical disabilities and chronic conditions. 

Carol-Ann received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Duke University and practiced in the Neuro Recovery Center at Brooks Rehabilitation before returning to her home state of Oregon in 2015.

She specializes in treating patients with a variety of complex neurologic conditions including Stroke, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis.

Carol-Ann serves as Vice President of the Oregon Physical Therapy Association, and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association's Neurologic Section.

Carol-Ann and her husband have four year old twins, a six month old baby girl, and an energetic border collie. Carol-Ann is passionate about helping others dream big and gain the confidence they need to enjoy being active and outdoors.

Hack of the Week

Make your lamps into touch lamps.

It can be tough to fiddle with switches and knobs with limited mobility. Fortunately, you can get an adapter to make them touch lamps. Here's an example: https://www.amazon.com/Westek-3-Level-Touch-Plug-Dimmer/dp/B01APRDK5O/

Now you can even use your affected hand to turn the lights on and off. Put that limb to work!


Where do we go from here?

  • If you'd like to learn more about taking a rehab vacation, check out the Destination Rehab links above.
  • Help someone you know subscribe to Strokecast on their phone so they never miss an episode.
  • Don't get best…get better.


Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

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