The Monday Memo: 1/30/2017

The Monday Memo

January 30, 2017                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

The Birmingham Clinic

When you picture yourself treating patients in a Physical Therapy clinic, what does it look like? Do you see adjustable treatment tables, a plethora of free weights, ankle weights and therapy balls? What about treadmills, stationary bikes, or trampolines?

 

I’ve had access to these tools at all of my previous clinical internships, and when I pictured myself at a clinic, those tools have been in that image, without question. This semester I am at the Birmingham Clinic, an amazing interdisciplinary facility that is now offering Physical Therapy for uninsured patients. Because Birmingham is a free clinic that relies on donations, our treatment space consists of two basic tables, a few rolls of theraband, two stretching straps, and a couple pairs of free weights. The presence of numerous health professions means our physical space is busy and limited.

 

What I have realized is that the amount of equipment or space does not change the quality of care we can provide. The space does not alter my evaluations or treatment sessions. In essence, I find myself spending more time teaching my patients how to do exercises at home by using items that they may already have, or by being creative. Many of my treatments now focus on functional exercise. Warm ups consist of repeated sit to stands, as compared to five minutes on the treadmill. Doing this kind of warm up is effective from a comprehensive strength and cardiovascular stand point, but it also gives me the opportunity to provide cues on technique for such a fundamental movement. By taking a patient who is deconditioned outside to improve endurance and practice assistive device technique, I’m given the opportunity to navigate real world challenges with him or her such as potholes, gravel, cars and curbs of unexpected heights. Creative strength training that involves exercises crossing multiple joints and incorporation of core stabilization provides a physical and cognitive challenge for the patient.

 

Having to be innovative and flexible with the minimal physical space, lack of exercise equipment, and serving patients with complex medical histories or no knowledge of the English language keeps me on my toes and teaches me something every day. Realizing that all we truly need to help our patients is the knowledge and skills we can teach them, without necessarily needing high tech equipment or fancy gyms, is empowering and rewarding. The only tools we need, we already have, and anything additional to our disposal is a welcome asset, not a prerequisite.

 

If you know anyone, patient or otherwise, who may be worried about losing their medical insurance in the future, please point them toward the Birmingham Clinic in the South Side for free comprehensive care.
– PT services offered Mondays and Wednesdays 12:30-4pm
– https://www.dom.pitt.edu/dgim/phcup/clinics.html
– 412-692-4706

 

– Neele Holzenkaempfer, DPT Class of 2018

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 30, 2017 |

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 |