On Business: STEPS for Recovery

Physical therapists aim to get patients moving

February 2, 2014 

Josh Olinick and Katie Stephens opened STEPS for Recovery in Cary as a unique approach to physical and functional rehabilitation.


— Survivors of a traumatic injury often reach a point in their rehabilitation when they are told this is best they can hope for.

Therapists at STEPS for Recovery beg to differ.

“There is always the potential to change something, even if it’s very small,” said Katie Stephens, a physical therapist and co-owner of STEPS in Cary. “The potential to change something for the better is there.”

Stephens and her husband, Josh Olinick, opened STEPS in 2012. The staff at the outpatient physical and occupational therapy center specialize in working with patients affected by stroke or brain or spinal cord injury.

Clients, especially those traveling from out of town, may choose to pack multiple disciplines into one visit.

Therapists work as a team, and specialty programs are available.

“Our mission is to create a place where passionate therapists come together to offer services,” Stephens said. “We are licensed to treat anything, but we wanted a niche practice with specialists in what they do.”

A speech therapist uses space at the clinic to work with patients. Massage therapy is provided on site and is not restricted to patients.

“Most clients come in with a caregiver,” Stephens said. “Some clients are here for hours. Massage offers much needed me-time for a caregiver.”

The clinic’s long-term approach to rehabilitation is unique and extends beyond activities of daily living.

“Our philosophy is to get results from our patients beyond getting them to walk from here to the bathroom,” Stephens said. “They want to participate in life the way they want to. It’s frustrating when the thing that makes you you is non-existent anymore.”

Stephens, whose specialty is traumatic brain injury, recalls one client who wanted more than anything to be able to drive again. She had been told by other medical professionals that it was impossible.

“We took her out to the parking lot and worked on her getting in and out of the car,” Stephens said. It took a lot of work, but that client now drives herself to therapy.

Olinick, also a physical therapist, works more closely with the orthopedic aspect of the discipline. He has developed a client base that includes athletes as well as those with chronic or new pain.

“This is a community collaboration,” Stephens said. “We align ourselves with people who have the same philosophy.”

Olinick said the location of the clinic, on Chapel Hill Road, provides easy access for out-of-town clients.

“We’ve enjoyed being in this community,” Stephens said. “We live in the neighborhood. It is nice to work with our neighbors.”

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