The Monday Memo: 10/26/2015

The Monday Memo

October 26, 2015                                                                             PITT DPT STUDENTS

“Fear and Education”

 

Patients can be much easier to treat once we find their impairments. This is not groundbreaking. If they are weak, then those muscles should be strengthened. If their tissues are tight and limit their range of motion, then those tissues should be stretched. But what about pain? Often when a patient does not understand what is causing their pain, they will become fearful, which creates countless barriers to resuming activity. Some professionals will gladly prescribe opioids and other pain medications to inhibit the neural processes and mask the symptoms, but we as physical therapists do not have a single go-to method to directly affect a person’s pain. So, does this mean that physical therapists are not capable of improving a person’s fear of pain?

 

Pain of a musculoskeletal origin is what is typically seen in orthopedic clinics: it follows a movement pattern, is reproducible, and ideally responds to specific manual muscle test. However, anyone that has ever had a patient with low back pain might agree that this is rarely the case. Many times patients may report sensations that do not necessarily follow a common pattern. Patients may respond that they are very fearful that they will never feel well again, and that their pain is going to keep them from enjoying life because they cannot move without discomfort. In this type of patient, the major impairment is not purely a weak muscle or a stiff tissue, rather it is the pain and the associated fear that are impairing the individual’s function. Therefore, educating such a psychologically-involved patient about what is physically happening to them is key to a successful outcome.

 

While we should be educating all of our patients every day that we see them, it is especially important that time is spent with the fearful patient. Emphasis should be placed on instilling confidence, or self-efficacy, in the patient. Be sure to explain that degenerative changes are “normal,” that bulging discs do not necessarily mean pain, and that the terms arthritis and stenosis can be used loosely by some professionals. It can be extremely helpful for these patients to see models, diagrams, and learn about the anatomy of some of these structures to understand what may be occurring. As long as the therapist is sure to put it all in language the patient can understand, this can curb the patient’s fears as well as build the patient’s respect of the physical therapist as a competent clinician. Patients should be receiving an education as well as therapeutic exercise every day they come to the clinic, and it is up to the therapist to act as both a teacher and a healthcare provider. The simple task of teaching a patient empowers them with self-efficacy, curbs their fears, and can lead to better outcomes in both the long-term and the short-term.

 

– Michael Turnwald

 

SPOTLIGHT: Great job representing the University of Pittsburgh, Margaret Acton and Bethany Trotter, at the National Student Conclave in Omaha this past weekend! Also, embodying professionalism and student advocacy this weekend was David Pastrana at the national PTCAS Application Work Group Forum in Boston, discussing alterations to the general application!

 

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 26, 2015 |

The Monday Memo: 10/19/2015

The Monday Memo

October 19, 2015                                                                             PITT DPT STUDENTS

“A Remark on Body Mechanics”

In a recent article published in the APTA’s PT in Motion October 2015 issue, “Health Care Worker Injuries Due to Patient Handling Continue to Rise,” health care workers continue to rank among the highest amount of injuries at work according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Number 1, in fact. While the injuries include a wide variety of categories, patient handling was shown to be the most common source of injury.

 

From this evidence, numerous questions arise. How do Physical Therapists fit into the problem? Are we a part of it? What is the solution? How can we be a part of prevention and education for our colleagues?

 

One good place to start is in school. At the University of Pittsburgh, there isn’t a day we aren’t talking about body mechanics. Raising and lowering the treatment beds, adjusting body position for optimal manual muscle testing, roll playing in gait or transfer training to work our way through every possible scenario . . . There is no doubt we will be equipped for success in the field regarding body mechanics.

 

Now equipped with these tools, it becomes our responsibility to educate patients, their families, caretakers, as well as our colleagues on the safest body positioning to reduce the most risk. This also includes the use of lifting equipment, calling on others to assist in a transfer, and holding others to safer standards. Create a culture around safety. Create a supportive environment for your colleagues. Look out for one another before, during and after patient treatment sessions. Have the courage to ask for help when necessary.

 

By creating safe environments for both patients and employees, we maximize the potential for healing. After all, if we as physical therapists aren’t engaging in safe behavior, how can we expect our patients to? How can we expect ourselves to provide the best therapy if we are injured? It’s in your best interest, as well as your patient’s.

 

Citation: “Health Care Worker Injuries Due to Patient Handling Continue to Rise.” PT in Motion 7.9 (2015): 55. Print.

 

-Molly Bachmann

 

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 19, 2015 |

The Monday Memo: 10/12/2015

The Monday Memo

October 12, 2015                                                                             PITT DPT STUDENTS

“Planning for the Future”

Any purposeful action requires a plan.  A wise person draws out a plan of attack before approaching any important task.  For instance, individually, we all have a certain methodology when walking into an evaluation of a patient or assessing a client’s deficits.  We must first identify the problem before we can begin to remedy the problem.  But how do we address issues that affect society, such as disparities in healthcare utilization, shortcomings in healthcare’s effectiveness, or the increased demand for healthcare due to the Baby Boomer generation?  The most ambitious attempt to form a plan of attack in addressing these issues to date is Healthy People 2020.

 

Healthy People 2020 is an all-encompassing plan to improve societal health measures and quality of life.  It includes objectives to improve 26 leading health indicators, such as access to health services, preventative services, mental health, substance abuse, and nutrition.  But how does physical therapy play a role in accomplishing the objectives spelled out in this plan?  How do the objectives of Healthy People 2020 impact practicing physical therapists now and in the coming years?  These questions and more are the topic of this year’s annual Scully Scholar Lecture, presented by Paul Rockar, at the October Southwest District meeting of the PPTA.

 

This insightful commentary presented by the CEO of Centers for Rehabilitation Services takes place Tuesday Oct. 13, 2015 at 7pm in the University Club, Ballroom B, 123 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  Come hear about the impacts of Healthy People 2020 and what is yet to come.

 

 

-Michael Turnwald

 

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 13, 2015 |

The Monday Memo: 10/5/2015

The Monday Memo

October 5, 2015                                                                             PITT DPT STUDENTS

“Yes You Can Dance”

 

Among the American Physical Therapy Association core values is “Social Responsibility, Advocacy, and Public Policy.” Social Responsibility incorporates understanding current public policy that enables us as Physical Therapists to provide the best care for our patients and policy limitations. But it also encompasses patient advocacy both inside and outside of the clinic. It begs the questions; How can we uphold the APTA’s vision statement “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience” to the best of our ability? What opportunities can we support and participate in for patients outside of our clinical practice?  As students of Physical Therapy, this seems to be one of the more difficult core values in which to participate while in school. Pittsburgh provides many opportunities to create these positive experiences.

 

Such an organization is called “Yes You Can Dance!” I was first introduced to the program at “Pitt Preview Day” when Dr. Delitto discovered I was a dancer. “Yes You Can Dance!” is a local organization that uses dance to promote and improve wellness for patients who have disabilities, special needs, and chronic degenerative diseases. Using ballroom dance as its primary mode of therapy, it provides extensive social opportunities in addition to mobility training.

 

This fall, “Yes You Can Dance!” initiated a program for patients who have Multiple Sclerosis. It has proved to be an especially powerful experience both for the students and mentors. As mentors, we support the dancers moving forwards and backwards, swinging their hips in the Cha-Cha, and turning in the Rumba. Students giggle with delight discovering they have learned the basic steps of dance style or that they are able to dance moving backwards without fear of falling. Even the music alone seems to elicit beaming smiles.

 

With or without sequined costumes, bright lights, or sophisticated audiences, a stage can be set in our streets, in our schools, in our churches, and in our communities. As students and Doctors of Physical Therapy, we are called to such the stage as dancers, choreographers, directors. The stage whether big or small, sturdy or unstable, extravagant or dilapidated, must be a place for all to participate. We have a responsibility to care for, engage and encourage all people, if not as Physical Therapists, then as human beings.

 

If you’d like to get involved or would like more information about “Yes You Can Dance!”, please go to http://www.yesyoucandance.org/.

 

SPOTLIGHT: Emily Perrott, Stephen Rayner, Natalie Novak, Maria Calla, Jackie Morino, and Julianna Allen for their participation as mentors with “Yes You Can Dance!” And a huge thank you to Ronna Delitto for initiating this program!

 

-Molly Bachmann, President – Class of 2018

 

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 5, 2015 |