Rehabilitation Services Celebrates 50 Years of Therapy in Bates County

The Shared Legacy of Father and Son, Max and Scott Ridings  

In 1971, Max Ridings was a young physical therapist when he had the opportunity to contract physical therapy services at Bates County Memorial Hospital. He started out in a small room near the ER with a few pieces of equipment and one assistant named Thelma Hammett, a nurse’s aide.

“She didn’t know anything about PT [physical therapy], and I talked to the doctors, and they didn’t know anything about PT, but this was the opportunity I wanted, to be on my own, to provide treatment the way I thought it should be,” Max said. “So, we got started … I had experience in large hospitals and private clinics, and this was really different. I had a lot of groundwork to do at the beginning.”

In the early years, Rehab Services shifted locations several times before occupying the current clinic space, designed specifically for therapy services in the 2003 hospital addition.  The history of their services also changed with the hospital’s, including the treatment of skilled nursing and home health patients.

Scott Ridings, Max’s son, followed his father in his chosen profession. After he graduated from the University of Missouri in 1989, Scott practiced physical therapy at a clinic in the Belton-Raymore area for about 10 years. In 1999, he agreed to his father’s offer to take the lead in the rehab department at BCMH, and they worked together until Max’s retirement in 2013.

In the years since Scott took over as director of Rehab Services, he has seen some of the same patients his father treated years ago. Many have told him essentially the same thing: “If it wasn’t for your dad, I don’t think I would have regained the function that I have now.”

For example, Max recalls a patient who suffered several leg fractures from a car accident, resulting in only 45 degrees of extension in her leg.

“With her grit, she was the most pain-tolerant person that I had ever worked on, male or female. She made it through that and got back to walking like she wanted to walk,” Max said. “I think that keeps every therapist going, to a certain extent, helping someone to achieve what they’re capable of.”

“He made an impact on this community, for sure,” Scott said. “As a son, it makes me very proud of what he did. The opportunity to continue the legacy of his work, and how he practiced, is what I want to continue with the current staff and the years ahead.”

Today, Rehabilitation Services has grown to about 17 staff members including physical, occupational and speech therapists, treating all ages from one year to the geriatric population. Their therapy services cover the gamut, from orthopedic to neurological conditions. Therapists are also qualified for highly specialized therapies, such as the Big and Loud program for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

“What I love about our staff is not just their skill level, but their character and the ability to connect well with our patients.  The more people understand how much you care by listening, asking them what goals they have, what they want to gain out of therapy … that connection is really key, and we find that patients respond more that way, and have better outcomes,” Scott said.

What did it mean to Max to work with his son?

“A lot of great pride. Respect. How he handled himself and his relationship with others. I’m really pleased and thankful that my son Scott is able to carry on the torch.”

Congratulations, Rehabilitation Services, and thank you for 50 years of providing therapy to our community.