The Monday Memo: 1/9/2017

The Monday Memo

January 9, 2017                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

Psychology and Physical Therapy

 

Physical therapy is a profession that relies heavily on relationships. The psychology behind human interaction and health care plays a critical role in the success of our interventions. Today we’ll touch on two incredibly important relationships: The patient /therapist relationship, and the relationship between the patient and their own self-image.

 

Patient / Therapist

Obviously, patient/therapist interactions play a major role in the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. It’s imperative that the therapist fosters a therapeutic environment where the patient feels comfortable and cared for, encouraged, and empowered to take an active role in their treatment. The psychosocial aspects of healing are undeniable: There is plenty of research that shows the psychological state of the patient will dictate how effective evidence-based protocols will be. This is one of the reasons why a risk factor for becoming a chronic pain patient is a high Fear Avoidance Belief Questionnaire score. Our mind matters.

 

As therapists, we often focus too heavily on selecting the “correct” protocol and interventions. Remember that there are always multiple paths to a given destination and it can often be more useful to choose a protocol that the patient believes in to foster a psychologically supportive environment rather than solely the therapist’s choice. This is a tactful way to generate patient buy-in and trust, and may open the door for you to sample your more desirable protocols later on in the process. This is not a call to use unscientific methods, but instead encouragement to use your clinical judgment in deciding which interventions will work best for the individual patient in front of you.
Patient / Self-Image

This relationship is one where the therapist may have the least control, but a proactive approach to assisting the patient in this capacity can go a long way. I’m not advocating the therapist plays the role of counselor, but I am suggesting that the environment you create, the words you choose, and the actions that you take will affect the way the patient feels and the therapeutic benefits of your session.

 

One of the reasons I chose to pursue a career in physical therapy is that I wanted to play an active role in providing patients with the tools to fix themselves. Patients need to understand that what they do away from therapy is, in many cases, more important than what they do while in your office. We give them the strategies. We provide them with activity modifications. We provide the framework for the patients to take control of their condition and actively “fix” themselves. If we can also foster a psychological environment of self-belief and positive thinking, our patient compliance and intervention success will be greatly improved.

 

This post simply scrapes the surface when it comes to the psychological influences of our profession. It’s an aspect of therapy that we need to contemplate every single day with every single one of the patients we see. It’s our job to achieve a grasp of our patient from a pathoanatomic perspective and a psychological perspective, and design our interactions and interventions tailored towards the patient in front of us. Each patient will present differently and the mark of an expert clinician is the ability to adapt and adjust in order to achieve positive outcomes for all of our patients.

 

-Charlie Badawy, Class of 2019

 

Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events

Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has created an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
January 9, 2017 |

The Monday Memo: 11/14/2016

The Monday Memo

November 14, 2016                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

2016 PPTA Annual Conference

 

Two weekends ago several first-year DPT students and I traveled to the bucolic Lancaster County to volunteer at the 2016 PPTA Annual Conference, one of Pennsylvania’s largest annual continuing education conventions. The conference consisted of various poster and lecture-style platform presentations and exhibits, hosted by students, physical therapists, and notable professors from DPT programs around the country.

 

Our role as student volunteers consisted mainly of passing out contact hour sheets and informational pamphlets before and after our respective platform presentations that we were assigned to. We were fortunate in that while we were able to provide a helping hand to the PPTA community and assert our presence as Pitt students, we were still able to reap the benefits of the various educational opportunities around us in between our volunteer times. The particular lectures that I was able to attend were “Rehabilitation in MS: Promoting Functional Recovery and Neuroplasticity” and “Medical Screening for the Physical Therapist: The Sherlock Holmes Approach.” Though the first lecture was slightly outside of our current scope of practice as first year students, the latter was particularly relevant as it highlighted the importance of a thorough screening process in qualifying physical therapists as first contact practitioners. Although we do not typically make medical diagnoses of potential “red flag” pathologies that might warrant imaging or extensive medical work-up, our extensive screening process allows us to rule in or out the likelihood of those pathologies, and therefore the need for further imaging or medical referral. This process decreases the imaging-as-default technique that physicians tend to favor, resulting in decreased costs and increased overall efficiency of the health care continuum.

 

Advancing the field of Physical Therapy via increased direct access has been a recurring theme in Pitt’s DPT program and throughout the field in general, but there are other less-emphasized methods by which the field can be progressed that I picked up on during the exhibition tables in particular. Most of these tables were showcasing their PT-related products, such as visual feedback machines to work on balance, as well as apps to facilitate extracurricular therapy for patients during their period of treatment and after discharge. In addition to physical therapists’ evolution within the clinic in terms of the progression of our abilities and general scope of practice, we should also be thinking about how we can improve the overall therapeutic process for both patients and therapists. This can be accomplished by emphasizing creativity and intuition in our practice in ways similar to the above examples. We, especially as new and young practitioners with relatively minimal preconceptions and clinical habits, need to ask ourselves: what is the current state of Physical Therapy practice? How can we raise the bar upon our entry into the field? How can we apply the ideas and strengths of our generation to advance the field of physical therapy?

 

It is critical, therefore, to expose ourselves early on in our educational and professional careers to the field’s current level of thinking; the variety of ideas, techniques, and technologies circulating now; in order to get us thinking about how we can push our practice past the current status quo. The Annual Conference was a great way to get us thinking in that context.

 

A special thanks to Connor McGee, Doug Reeves, Rhadika Shah, and Ryan Thompson for making the long drive to join me in this experience.

 

Brooks Kenderdine, DPT Class of 2019

 

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Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events

Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has created an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
November 14, 2016 |

The Monday Memo: 11/8/2016

The Monday Memo

November 8, 2016                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

Rock the Block Experience

The professional duty of a physical therapist extends beyond the walls of a clinic or hospital.  Physical therapists also have a role in advocacy and education about health, wellness, disease and disability management.  I joined several second year DPT students to act as health educators and advocates at the “Rock the Block” event in Squirrel Hill this October.  The event offered an outdoor market, live music, and a wellness fair hosted by Pitt’s APhA-ASP Chapter.  The proceeds from the drinks available for purchase were donated to benefit Uncover Squirrel Hill, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, and the American Diabetes Association.

 

While the majority of the “rocking” that occurred was provided by the live musicians, we were “rolling” with students from a variety health disciplines to educate the public about the prevention and management of diabetes. We represented the University of Pittsburgh’s schools of physical therapy, pharmacy, nursing, and dentistry and highlighted how each profession could be involved in the prevention and management of diabetes.

 

At the physical therapy tent, we challenged the public to play in a “Myth or Fact” trivia game that included general questions about diabetes, exercise, and physical therapy’s role in diabetes management.  For those not interested in participating in trivia, we brought foam pads for balance activities, which, by the end of the night, was quite the competitive event among the children. We educated participants about common impairments associated with diabetes, such as loss of foot sensation and balance deficits, and encouraged those with the disease to be vigilant about checking their feet for cuts or other wounds.  Several participants even received a monofilament foot screening to test for foot sensation.  We handed out pedometers for those who participated in the trivia or the balance games after discussing the importance of exercise and daily activity.

 

The majority of people who came by our tent had no idea that physical therapists are essential medical professionals for the treatment and management of diabetes.  This lack of knowledge about the assistance our profession is able to offer to the public for the treatment of diabetes and other diseases emphasizes the importance of physical therapists participating in health promotion events such as “Rock the Block”.  The community needs to be educated about the broad scope of physical therapy practice, and how physical therapists are qualified to help patients with more than joint pain.  Future physical therapists need to recognize the need to educate members of our community about what physical therapists are capable to treating and how physical therapists are essential allies in preventing the development of diseases associated with poor lifestyle choices and inactivity.

 

Thank you to Kathryn Accetturo, Luke Novosel, and Julian Vesnovsky for organizing and working this event along with me.  We had a great time educating the public about physical therapy’s role in the treatment and management of diabetes and look forward to participating in events such as this in the future.

 

Emily Barno, DPT Class of 2018

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Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events

Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has created an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
November 8, 2016 |

The Monday Memo: 10/31/16

The Monday Memo

October 31, 2016                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

Physical Therapists as First Contact Practitioners

 

One idea continuously stressed to our class is the importance of becoming a proficient first-contact practitioner. The transition to programs offering only a DPT degree provides us with the ability and responsibility to carry out this vision. I was aware of our profession’s fight for this status before beginning my SHRS studies, but the push by the faculty and their collective belief in this idea has fundamentally changed my view. Primarily, I saw myself as a future outpatient therapist and assumed I would know exactly what was wrong with my patients before they walked in the door leading me to take a fairly direct treatment approach.
 

Myself and the rest of my fellow first years are currently at the halfway point of our first clinical rotation. I’m working in a tertiary acute care hospital shadowing a senior acute care therapist and it became increasingly clear why my professors have been so adamant about taking our first-contact practitioner status seriously. The acute care therapist makes critical decisions relating to the future care of their patients. We are called upon to provide a recommendation on the patient’s continued plan of care. Are they appropriate for PT, OT, or Cardiopulmonary Rehab? Where should they go once they’re stable enough to leave the hospital? Our expertise in musculoskeletal and nervous system function provides us the unique ability to identify where a patient is functionally and direct their plan of care accordingly.

 
Does this also hold true for the outpatient setting? My roommate is currently in an outpatient clinic. He had an eval for a “low back pain” patient, a fairly common outpatient profile. During his examination, he uncovered a few “red flags” that the doctors had overlooked. He recommended the patient return to his MD for follow-up, where it was discovered that the patient was exhibiting early symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

 
It’s stories like this one that really highlight the importance of our profession and the diagnostic abilities that the University of Pittsburgh is providing us. It’s no longer the sole responsibility of the physicians to identify signs and symptoms of serious pathological disorders. Our profession is gaining more and more responsibility and it’s up to us, the next generation of physical therapists, to show that we can handle it!
 

-Charlie Badawy, Class of 2019

 

Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events

Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has created an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
October 31, 2016 |

The Monday Memo: 10/17/2016

The Monday Memo

October 17, 2016                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

Physical Therapy Day of Service

Physical Therapy Day of Service is a national project where physical therapists and physical therapy students provide services to the community with a project of their choice. This year, the University of Pittsburgh third year students organized their Physical Therapy Day of Service event at Schenley Gardens Senior Living Community in Oakland. On October 14th, we provided education to 15 residents at the senior community center. The focus of the education was on proper nutrition as we age, fall prevention, and how to setup your room for safety.

 

During the nutrition section, we talked about the importance of the choices senior citizens make at each meal and how they can impact their health and well-being. The residents reported that their breakfasts ranged from oatmeal and fruit to nothing at all. We discussed ways to take small steps towards improving diet, such as creating a meal log, removing the saltshaker from your table, or choosing water over a sugary drink instead.
 

Next, the fall prevention group asked the residents how many of them had fallen in recent years and 10 out of 13 residents raised their hands. We discussed the contributing factors to falls, such as medication changes, sensory, strength and vision deficits, and proper use of their assistive device. The residents described their silver sneakers exercise program and asked questions about the benefits of the specific exercises they were performing.

 

Students in the last group communicated the significance of setting up your room for safety. Since the residents were in the independent living section and had set up their own apartments, each one was unique. The students talked about having a light close to the bed or a lighted path to the bathroom, placing important items on lower shelves within arms reach, and getting rid of throw rugs, which tend to increase fall risk. The residents reported problems that they have been experiencing in their apartments and asked for help coming up with solutions. One man discussed how when he stood up to get dressed in the morning, he would get dizzy and lose his balance. We urged him to tell the nursing staff about this and to try to keep a chair close by to get dressed in. At the end of the session, one student performed a 5x sit to stand test on another student, interpreted the results, and educated the seniors on how a decrease in strength in the lower extremities can increase their risk of falling in the future.

 

All in all, the experience was a success for both the third year class and the Senior Living Community citizens who attended. The end of the session was spent in open discussion to allow the residents to voice any final questions or concerns that they had. Many of the residents were so pleased with the seminar that they asked when we would be coming back and even suggested having a Zumba or dance session in the future!

ptdospic

Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events

Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has created an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
October 17, 2016 |