I often get asked about building or taking over a new hydrotherapy pool, what areas do I take into account before I agree a new pool.
Therefore I thought I would share a few thoughts on the subject.
Long-term sustainability is one of the biggest issues that hydrotherapy pools face today. Many hydrotherapy pools are closing down due to the nature and the management of such facilities.
Therefore, when designing or writing a specification for any hydrotherapy pool, we look at ensuring that the facility is presented in a way that enables long-term sustainability and maximises income generation to be achieved. This is achieved by seeking maximum possible usage of the facility throughout the day, evenings and weekends.
A strong client base is an essential early consideration. Without a steady stream of usage to the hydrotherapy pool, the facility is likely to become unsustainable in the long term.
Throughout our work with other facilities, Neptune have fast discovered that there is a clear mixed-client base for using a hydrotherapy pool; and this will not change from a geographical location. These clients can be broken down into several groups.
Commercial Clients - People/groups looking to hire the pool to make money from it. Such as swim schools, baby swimming and exercise style groups
Community groups - such as stroke groups, rehabilitation groups, care-homes, older people and respite centres, who are trying to provide access for a specific group of users
Individual Users – People - sometimes referred by clinicians, physiotherapists and other professionals - who would benefit from the warm water and would feel the positive effects of exercising within the hydrotherapy pool. These also include family sessions and disability swimmers.
By ensuring a balance of all of the above users over a period of years, Neptune has been able to develop a facility that is able to encompass the community and commercial use of a hydro pool to achieve long term sustainability.
The catchment area of a hydrotherapy pool is a lot larger than a traditional swimming pool. This is due to the level of service being provided, the warm water and the different types of access this attracts to the pool.
However people will only travel for the correct facilities that are maintained, managed and staffed correctly.
From our experience of the other sites we support, we can see that people are prepared to travel up to 45 minutes drive to access the centre and facilities they want to use.