Specialty services are changing lives: Aquatic Therapy and Audiology

Froedtert South’s Somers Clinic houses Aquatic Therapy and Audiology, among other specialties.


Healthy Connections is published by Froedtert Pleasant Prairie Hospital.

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Accidents, injuries, age or life-altering diagnoses can all lead patients to seek specialized medical care. Froedtert South is dedicated to caring for the whole patient and offers unique services right here in Kenosha County. These services are providing much-needed help and hope for local patients.   


A few years ago, Sandy Porter’s life as she knew it came to a screeching halt. Sandy became partially paralyzed and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her mobility was compromised, she became reliant on a cane, and, in her own words, she now moves “slow as a slug.” Sandy was incapable of completing familiar exercises to maintain her strength and stability. Needing a different option, her physician recommended that she begin Aquatic Therapy. With an alternating schedule of water and land sessions, Sandy found success with her physical therapy treatment plan at Froedtert South

Aquatic Therapy at the Somers Clinic

“In the water, I can walk,” exclaimed Sandy. “I love my Aquatic Therapy sessions because I get to set aside my cane and wheelchair, the water takes the weight off me, and I can move again. Being in the pool gives me back my independence. I feel stronger for days after my pool sessions.”

Stephanie Pizzala, Froedtert South Physical Therapy Assistant, said, “I have been a PTA here for thirteen years, and I witness how this pool changes patient lives daily. Patients’ movements are restricted by pain or physical limitations, but upon entering the pool, they become mobile and pain-free. A patient that cannot stand on land can stand for a full exercise session in the pool. Patients that cannot run on land enter the pool and are running on the underwater treadmill. Beyond the physical healing, there is a lot of emotional empowerment and healing that takes place in the pool.”  

Sandy Porter

Sandy said, “Stephanie and the whole team are great, helpful people. They are excellent at calming any fears of using the pool. In my condition, I wondered if I could safely maneuver around the pool deck and in the pool. I feel very confident and safe there. I am no longer able to get in the bathtub at home. I can merely sit on a bench in the shower and rinse off. The therapy pool is the only time I get to immerse my entire body in water. The warm water of the therapy pool goes far beyond helping my physical needs. It has tremendously improved my mental and emotional healing, too.”


Lori Ketterhagen, a Froedtert South Aquatic Therapy patient, said, “PTA Stephanie Pizzala has been a godsend for me! Stephanie is a family friend who encouraged me to seek Aquatic Therapy for my ailments, first frozen shoulder and then back pain. Then came my diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease. Without daily exercise, Parkinson’s Disease will rapidly progress. I’m so grateful for Stephanie and the therapy team. It is because of them and these specialized services that I am not fully wheelchair bound.”

Stephanie said, “The pool has helped Lori manage her symptoms. Without Aquatic Therapy, her mobility would have digressed.”

 Kristine Gilson, a Physical Therapy Assistant student from Gateway, is learning side-by-side from Stephanie. Kristine said, “I see Lori and other patients transform into totally different people when they enter the pool. When patients can stand up on their own, walk on the underwater treadmill, and move their arms and legs freely, they become hopeful and empowered. In the water, they do not have to be afraid of falling. It is awesome to see how their Aquatic Therapy sessions boost their confidence and their spirits.”

Lori said, “Aquatic Therapy is so good for me. With the buoyancy, I can move, stretch, and strengthen in ways that I am not capable of on land. With Stephanie’s help and accommodations, I can exercise all my muscle groups. The pool is essential to keeping me functional with my Parkinson’s. I also enjoy the warm pool water, and the massaging jets are excellent for releasing muscle tension.”

The 96 degree 3.5 to 4.5 foot deep therapy pool accommodates patients of all ages and abilities. Kristine said, “The pool helps athletes that need a slow post-surgery recovery plan. It helps pregnant women release pressure on their back and hips. It helps elderly people afraid of falling build up their strength and confidence. The pool definitely improves patients’ lives.”

Stephanie said, “Patients like Lori that have limited, painful mobility on land can get in the pool and get their life back. Aquatic Therapy equates to freedom and empowerment. It is wonderful that this therapy is offered right here in Kenosha County.”


Audiology at Froedtert South is also improving lives of local patients. From newborns to geriatric patients, this specialty is providing hope and hearing. 

Linda Quindel has worn hearing aids for over five decades, beginning when she was ten years old. “I have severe to profound hearing loss and am partially blind,” said Linda. “My dual sensory loss makes my world very small. Dr. Wulterkens understands how critical my hearing experience is to how I function. With thorough testing and thoughtful care, Dr. Wulterkens fit me with the best hearing aids in my life. She increased my radius of hearing which gives me a greater connection to the world around me. Dr. Wulterkens truly cares and took the time to assess the whole scope of my needs. My world is now bigger because of her and Froedtert South Audiology.”

Heather Wulterkens, Doctor of Audiology at Froedtert South, said, “I witness patients’ lives like Linda’s open when we can improve their hearing abilities.”

Heather Wulterkens, Audiologist

“At Froedtert South, we strive to care for the whole patient,” said Dr. Kathryn Hoppe, Froedtert South Otolaryngologist (also known as Ear Nose and Throat or ENT). “Our comprehensive ear and hearing care Audiology services are unique to this area and are helping local residents.”  

Dr. Wulterkens said, “It is imperative to consult with a hearing professional to determine any medical concerns that need to be addressed before pursuing hearing aids. Routine screenings help establish a baseline for us to assess hearing changes over time and monitor conditions that may impact a patient’s hearing.”

Dr. Hoppe also stressed, “There are multiple reasons for hearing loss. There is some hearing loss that needs medical intervention and not a hearing aid. With ENT and Audiology at Froedtert South, we work together and can provide the necessary medical care for a patient. Thorough ear and hearing assessments are essential for proper treatment.”  

Kathryn Hoppe, M.D.