When it comes to helping individuals feel better, move better, recover from injury or ease chronic mobility issues, physical therapists play an integral role.

Annually, BAYADA Home Health Care picks one of their physical therapists for its “Physical Therapist Hero of the Year” award, which highlights the critical role physical therapists play.

This year’s winner of BAYADA’s Physical Therapist Hero of the Year is Lisa Wedman, who’s been a physical therapist for 25 years.

Wedman works for BAYADA Sierra Vista Visits and has provided physical therapy treatment in the Benson and Sierra Vista areas for the past 10 years.

Wedman said her first exposure to the physical therapy field was in a middle school career day event. Initially, Wedman had aspirations on becoming a Navy pilot, but found out at the career day event that due to her vision and scoliosis she wouldn’t be able to pursue that career.

“There were physical therapists at the career day (event) ... I listened to them, and the thought of working with and helping people interested me,” Wedman said.

Wedman said her main motivation behind her work is being able to help clients ease their pain, walk after prior impairment and regain their independence to move about their homes.

“It is truly rewarding when I am able to see a client thrive because of the efforts BAYADA as a collective team puts in to ensure he or she is getting the best quality care and assistance,” she said.

Brandy Owen, who nominated Wedman for the award and is director of BAYADA Sierra Vista Visits, outlined the significance and parameters of BAYADA’s Physical Therapist Hero of the Year award.

Owen said the award is a part of the “Hero Program,” which allows the company to “recognize and reward those who exceed the highest standards of quality care and work ethic at an office, division and national level.”

Owen said candidates for this award can be nominated by colleges, clients, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, physical therapists, home health aides and any other professional caregivers.

When asked about the criteria for the award, Owen said the nominees must embody “the BAYADA way,” which includes BAYADA’s central values of reliability, compassion and excellence.

Owen said Wedman has exceeded these requirements through her upstanding professionalism and dedication.

“According to various testimonials, Lisa’s clients and peers have the utmost trust in her abilities and she executes her job with excellence and professionalism. Lisa also takes extra time on her own to continue the relationships she has built with her clients even after their discharge from services ... She is also often there to provide comfort if a client transitions to hospice care. She will visit her clients if they are hospitalized, and even calls on a widow or widower once the client has passed just to check in. Lisa has a true calling for caring for people,” Owen said.

When asked about receiving the award, Wedman said, “It is a great honor to be the winner of the National PT of the Year Award. I could not do what I do every day without the help of the rest of my team, both in the field and in the office.”

Owen said, “Lisa is a true team player. She has been known to change her own schedule when a coworker is having trouble at a client’s house to be there for support during a crisis. Lisa is the kind of physical therapist and person you want to know, want to be and want to love.”

When asked about any advice that she would give to the next generation of physical therapists, Wedman said, “I love what I do, and it would be difficult for me to discourage anyone from going into this field. The most difficult part is losing a client, which is a testament to how special the caregiver-client relationship is. There are so many career options in the physical therapy and medical fields; and there is always a critical need for health care providers, especially now in the home as more people are thinking about ways to stay safe at home.”