Interview and Photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall, Ontario – Meet Kristen MacDonell, an esteemed Registered Physiotherapist with an impressive educational background, including a Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy and a Bachelor of Kinesiology with Honours. She has been making waves in the local healthcare industry since her private clinic, MacDonell Family Physiotherapy, opened in August 2022.
Recognized for her unwavering commitment to exceptional care, Kristen has cultivated a serene and therapeutic environment where clients of all ages receive personalized, one-on-one treatment. Drawing from her own high standards, Kristen ensures that each individual is given the utmost attention and expertise. As an added touch, her adorable dachshund (dog), Copper, occasionally joins the team, offering an extra paw of support for those clients who may benefit from a furry companion. With Kristen at the helm, MacDonell Family Physiotherapy continues to set the benchmark for quality care and compassionate service.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – Can you tell us more about your journey to becoming a physiotherapist and what motivated you to open a clinic in your hometown?
“I have wanted to be a physiotherapist since I was eight years old, and it was always my dream to open my own practice. I earned a Bachelor of Kinesiology at McMaster University and a Master of Science in Physiotherapy at the University of Toronto. I have over 13 years of experience in various rehabilitation settings in Toronto and Cornwall. I am excited to be back home and sharing my unique clinical skill set with our great community.”
2 – What sets MacDonell Family Physiotherapy apart from other clinics? How do you ensure that each client receives the type of care you would expect for your own family members?
“I provide clients with a peaceful, supportive environment with treatments focused on their goals. I also empower them in their rehabilitation so they will be confident to self-manage and improve their outcomes. What really sets me apart is the skill set I provide. In addition to supporting clients with injuries/orthopedic conditions, I have extensive additional training and education, as well as hands-on experience, supporting individuals with neurological impairments, those undergoing treatment for cancer, and the paediatric population.”
3 – Your clinic offers a wide range of services, including oncology/cancer rehab. Could you elaborate on how your clinic supports clients throughout their cancer journey, addressing the side effects of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and more?
“Working for over seven years at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre I developed a passion for helping clients undergoing treatment for cancer. Depending on the client’s needs, I assist with scar/tissue management, range of motion, neuropathy, pain, fatigue, strengthening, and supporting a return to work/leisure. Also, noting a need in our community, I founded “WE CAN, “: a networking/support group for women who have or are experiencing cancer. It is held at the clinic bi-monthly and is free of charge.”
4 – Your clinic also provides paediatric rehab services. Could you discuss the types of conditions you assist with? How do you approach treatment for paediatric patients?
“It is so fun to work with children! The treatment needs to be geared towards play and imagination, so I get to be creative. Education and engagement with the patients/guardians is essential. I teach them hands-on techniques, handling, or positioning tips/tricks to empower them in their child’s rehab.
Conditions I typically treat in the paediatric population include torticollis (tight neck muscles), general delays in hitting developmental milestones (sitting, crawling, walking), neurological conditions (cerebral palsy) or after injury/surgery.”
5 – As a director on the Cornwall Community Hospital Board of Directors and the Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, how do these roles contribute to your work as a physiotherapist and clinic owner? How do they benefit the community?
“I take pride in these positions. I am able to offer my clinical knowledge and experience as both a physiotherapist and a small business owner to these groups. My unique perspective can be helpful for decision-making and quality improvement. As a proud business owner and healthcare professional, I also see it as an opportunity to give back to the community. In return, I keep current about the issues in the city, our hospital, and our health care system. It is also a great networking opportunity where I have met some amazing colleagues and friends!”
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