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More people in America suffer from pain than diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined. When pain lasts for a long time (3 to 6 months or more), it is called chronic pain. The CDC recently released a report estimating that 50 million Americans, more than 20 percent of the adult population, have chronic pain.

Managing & Treating Your Pain

Chronic pain can have real effects on your day-to-day life and your overall health. Treating chronic pain can be difficult because it varies from person to person as well as many different causes and possible treatments. Developing the right treatment plan for your diagnosis is often the work of a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals. When consulting with your doctor, he may refer you to visit a physical and occupational therapist.

Physical Therapy (PT)
Physical therapy practitioners can assess your chronic pain, and based on your goals, will establish a therapy treatment plan fit for you. Treatment may include both passive and active treatments. Passive treatments help you to relax, while active treatments are therapeutic exercises that strengthen your body and help you deal with your pain.

Occupational Therapy (OT)
Occupational therapy practitioners understand that pain it subjective and complex. OT’s work individually with you to evaluate the pain’s impact on your desired activities and quality of life. They teach you skills and strategies to manage and cope with your pain.

Pain Reducing Technology
Therapists may use non-invasive technology such as Electrical Stimulation (e-stim) which blocks the pain signal to the affected area while reducing inflammation. Also, Ultrasound and a combination of heat and cooling therapies may be used to reduce pain.

If you or a loved one suffer with chronic pain, it is important to pay attention to your body. Be proactive to keep your pain under control. Consult with your doctor and ask if physical and occupational therapy can help you!

References: American Occupational Therapy Association

Article By:  PT in Motion, www.apta.org

Patients with low back pain (LBP) who see a single physical therapist (PT) throughout their episode of care may be less likely to receive surgery and may have lower downstream health care costs, researchers suggest in a study published in the December issue of PTJ (Physical Therapy). “Limiting the number of physical therapy providers during an episode of care might permit cost savings,” authors write. “Health care systems could find this opportunity appealing, as physical therapy provider continuity is a modifiable clinical practice pattern.”

Authors examined data from nearly 2,000 patients in Utah’s statewide All Payer Claims Database (APCD) to look for associations between continuity of care for LBP patients and utilization of related services such as advanced imaging, emergency department visits, epidural steroid injections, and lumbar spine surgery in the year after the first primary care visit for LBP. APTA members John Magel, PT, PhD; Anne Thackeray, PT; and Julie Fritz, PT, PhD, FAPTA, were among the authors of the study.

Patients were between the ages of 18 to 64 who saw a PT within 30 days of a primary care visit for LBP. Researchers excluded patients with certain nonmusculoskeletal conditions; neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injury, that could affect patient management; and “red flag” conditions such as bone deficit or cauda equina syndrome.

Researchers found that greater provider continuity significantly decreased the likelihood of receiving subsequent lumbar spine surgery, noting that “disparate management strategies across a variety of providers might inhibit or prolong the recovery in a patient with a worsening condition and contribute to the patient eventually receiving lumbar surgical intervention.” They also note that a strong therapeutic alliance is associated with improved outcomes.

Contrary to authors’ expectations, high provider continuity was not associated with decreased use of advanced imaging, steroid injections, or emergency department visits. “The timing of physical therapy for LBP might have a greater impact on these outcomes than does provider continuity,” they suggest. Researchers did find a link between use of these services and the presence of comorbidities, previous lumbar surgery, and use of prescription opioids or oral steroids.

The average cost of care in the year following the initial primary care visit was $1,826 per patient. Costs were slightly less, at $1,737, for the 90% of patients with high provider continuity but rose to $2,577 for patients with a lower level of provider continuity.

While the study’s findings do not identify any cause-and-effect relationships, “it seems reasonable that physical therapists should consider approaches to managing patients with LBP that limit provider discontinuity,” authors write.

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Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

The use of a cane or walker has become the norm for most seniors today to help prevent falls. Ironically, these tools can be just as dangerous as they are helpful if they are not used properly. The CDC estimates nearly 50,000 seniors end up in the emergency room each year after falling while using a cane or walker. Health professionals are urging adults who use canes and walkers as walking aids to be properly assessed and fitted by a therapist to avoid fall-related injuries. Physical Therapists are trained professionals that are able to assess your individual needs to ensure that you are using the proper walking aid as well as make sure it is in proper working condition.

Tips for Using Canes & Walkers

  1. The walker or cane should be about the height of your wrists when your arms are at your sides.
  2. In order to be properly supported by a cane, you should be using it on the side of your body opposite from your injury or weakness.
  3. When using a walker, your arms should be slightly bent when holding on, but you shouldn’t have to bend forward at the waist to reach it.
  4. Periodically check the rubber tips at the bottom of the cane or walker. Be sure to replace them if they are uneven or worn.
  5. Wear flat shoes to provide a good base of support.

 

Therapy Can Help Reduce Falls & Improve Balance

Maintaining proper balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls. A Physical Therapist works with individuals to identify risk factors and designs an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait. Occupational Therapists work with you to discuss changes and modifications that can be made around your home to help prevent falls from occurring. If you have concerns about your balance, ask your doctor if you could benefit from therapy.

HTS is excited to collaborate with our partners for a successful transition to the new Medicare payment model. Our ongoing focus on clinical quality, patient-centered programs, and functional outcomes has prepared our staff in advance to succeed under PDPM. In addition to implementing proprietary clinical program efficacy analysis, HTS has assessed the financial impact of PDPM and is committed to supporting our partners through the challenges of adapting to the new reimbursement model.

HTS will be providing PDPM solutions that include:

  • Staff Education and Training in Critical Areas such as Section GG and ICD.10 Coding
  • PDPM Live Trainings for Partners and Staff in Multiple Locations
  • Internal System Transitions
  • RUGs IV to PDPM Facility-specific Impact Analysis

Our alliance with Proactive Medical Review, the PDPM experts currently providing education on this topic to 25 states, allows us to uniquely provide our partners with additional support for strategic planning, MDS coding efficacy, and nursing best practices.

Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) training dates:

  • Friday, September 21 – Evansville, IN
  • Thursday, October 4 – Fort Wayne, IN
  • Thursday, October 11 – Louisville, KY
  • Tuesday, October 16 – Greenwood, IN
  • Tuesday, October 23 – Kokomo, IN
  • Friday, November 9 – Edmonton, KY
  • Thursday November 15—Phelps, KY

We remain optimistic considering the enormous changes we are facing with this new payment model. As partners in therapy, you can be confident in our resources and unmatched expertise to navigate this change while working together toward a successful transition.

If you have any questions at all about this information, please contact us directly.

National Physical Therapy Month is a celebration held each October by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). PT month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapists are movement experts who can help you overcome pain, gain and maintain movement, and preserve your independence, often without the need for surgery or long-term use of prescription drugs. Physical therapy is a cost-effective treatment that allows patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs.

Goals of physical therapy include:

  • Restore physical function
  • Improve the ability to ambulate
  • Strengthen the body affected by injury/illness
  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Education and prevention

We offer comprehensive rehabilitation services including physical, occupational and speech therapy. Our therapists are experts in treating conditions affecting adults ages 50+. Therapy is a cost-effective treatment that allows patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs to regain function and independence for a better quality of life.

For more information, contact www.htstherapy.com.

 


October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapy Month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapy may be necessary for those recovering after an illness, a fall, injury, surgery or chronic condition. Physical therapists work hard to help patients retain and regain their quality of life.

 


Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

 

Resource: APTA, www.apta.org

As the average age of entry for licensed assisted living is 85 years of age, senior living providers are very focused on keeping their residents as independent for as long as possible. As a provider of contract physical, occupational and speech therapy in Assisted Living and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), our goal is to proactively address functional and cognitive decline so that residents can maintain their highest level of ability. From what we see on a daily basis, and reviewing ER admissions and national reports, most functional declines in active adults happen because of five primary reasons:

Lack of muscle building exercise

  1. Environmental factors
  2. Chronic illness
  3. New injury or illness
  4. Medications

Functional decline means that a person shows a decreased ability to do daily tasks properly compared to their ability to do these same tasks three months prior. A decline often signifies the presence of an acute onset, a new underlying medical condition or exacerbation of an existing condition.

Falls are the single largest reason of decline among active adults. Falls can happen any due to any of the five primary reasons listed above. Think of a fall as the ultimate loss of balance. There are multiple factors to a fall that present themselves well before a fall takes place. Through QAPI, standardized therapy testing and formalized Fall Risk Management programs, we are able to peel back the layers to determine “root cause” for the fall. A strong Fall Risk Management program is often tailored to treating the root cause factor that caused the fall, rather than all of the risk factors a patient has for falling. Falls are due to intrinsic factors (illness or medications) may not be prevented easily. Falls due to extrinsic factors (environmental factors) can be prevented or significantly reduced with extra precautions and education.

Provision of safety devices such as: grab bars & handles, high friction floors and footwear, as well as even (meaning no shadows to throw off depth perception) high power lighting can prevent or reduce a significant number of environmental falls. Regular exercise focused on core and lower body strength, consistent monitoring of and review of medications and therapeutic interventions for ongoing medical problems can significantly help to reduce the number of falls associated functional decline.

Functional Decline could be physical and/or cognitive in nature. When partnering with senior living providers, we take special care to train all staff including environmental, housekeeping and dietary to identify functional and cognitive decline. This could be anything from “furniture walkers”, increased maintenance calls to someone coughing through a meal in the dining room. There are consistent characteristics for a resident at risk for falling:

  • Functional decline include difficulty with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) such as dressing or undressing safely.
  • Lack of balance, any unexplained bruises
  • Loss of flexibility
  • New pain, taking more medication than usual
  • New medication
  • Significant weight loss within 30 days
  • Speech impairment or inability to follow simple commands
  • Signs of anti-social behavior or depression, not participating in life enrichment as usual
  • Decreased activity tolerance or coordination, lack of attention
  • Decreased stamina or strength.

Everyone working around active adults should be trained and be able to report a decline to the clinical team. Although prevention is best for any decline, recognizing and reporting resident declines in a timely manner helps to manage the decline efficiently. Timely intervention will help the resident maintain or regain functional independence.

Aretoula Nahas is a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) and the Director of Outpatient Services for Healthcare Therapy Services, Inc. (HTS). HTS is an independent, therapist-owned contract provider of physical, occupational, speech therapy and wellness for assisted living, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals. HTS currently employs over 1,800 therapists and provides contract rehabilitation to over 100 clients in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio. For more information, contact www.htstherapy.com.

 


October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapy Month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapy may be necessary for those recovering after an illness, a fall, injury, surgery or chronic condition. Physical therapists work hard to help patients retain and regain their quality of life.

 


Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

 

Resource: APTA, www.apta.org

Finding the right therapy provider for your building can be a challenge. As assisted living providers handle increasing clinical complexity, you need quality rich, expertly delivered rehabilitation to meet the unique needs of each resident.

You need a therapy partner with expertise in the senior care industry that collaborate with your staff, doctors, hospitals and home care providers to provide a well‐rounded, strategic approach to aging in place.

Experts in Therapy for Senior Living Providers

Your Complete On-site Outpatient Therapy Program Includes:

  • Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy Up To 7 Days a Week
  • Complete Management, Staffing, Scheduling and Billing
  • Therapy Exercise Equipment & Technology
  • Patient Satisfaction & Outcome Measures
  • Comprehensive Value—Added Services and Programs
  • Close Collaboration with Physician—Therapy is Directed by the Physician and Progress is Noted at Each Session and Communicated.

Set Your Community Apart

60+ Clinical Pathways
We utilize current practice standards and evolve clinical programs to achieve the maximum potential for even the most clinically complex patients.

  • Fall Prevention
  • Bone & Joint Recovery
  • Cardiac Recovery
  • Stroke/CVA
  • Pain Management
  • Arthritis

Dementia Specialization
HTS therapists are highly trained in maximizing each person’s ability with a dementia diagnosis. Our Embracing the Cognitive Spectrum Dementia Care modules are designed to provide person‐centered and intentional care delivery, while coaching your staff on programming and care mapping.

All Staff Training & Care Collaboration
Prevent and decrease resident falls with root cause-based programming. Improve strength, self care and confidence. Reduce hospital readmissions. Utilize training to all of your staff to address resident decline at every level. Work closely with home health care and other providers to develop and execute a collaborative care plan.

Improve Census & Outreach
Help create your message to share the benefits of having on-site outpatient therapy. Full marketing collaboration to increase your occupancy and provide a competitive advantage over your competition. Customized marketing strategies to strengthen outreach efforts to hospitals, physicians and community.

Whole-Person Wellness
We provide you with your own customized whole‐person wellness program including health and wellness assessments and workshops to create a powerful all‐campus program that improves the lives of every resident in your building. Wellness software that provides measurable outcomes. Library of specialty classes including personal training.

Keep Your Residents Strong, Independent & Living to the Fullest

  • Proactively Prevent and Reduce Risk for Falls
  • Maintain & Improve Mobility
  • Address Even the Subtlest Declines in Physical and Cognitive Health
  • Improve Activities of Daily Living
  • Improve Cardiopulmonary Health
  • Improve Muscle Strength & Stamina
  • In-depth Cognition Testing for Those Challenged with Memory Impairment
  • Reduce Effects of Progressive Conditions, like MS, Parkinson’s & Dementia
  • Improve Confidence in Social Situations
  • Teach Compensation Skills to Residents, Caregivers & Families
  • Initiate Wellness & Promote Successful Aging

 

 


October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapy Month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapy may be necessary for those recovering after an illness, a fall, injury, surgery or chronic condition. Physical therapists work hard to help patients retain and regain their quality of life.

 


Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

Balance disorders are very common in older adults and are a major cause of falls. Balance problems can lead to injury, disability, loss of independence, and a limited quality of life. Maintaining proper balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls.

Therapy Can Help Reduce and Prevent Falls

Improve Balance: A Physical Therapist will assess your ability to balance while performing many activities. They will work with you on specific exercises that will train you on balancing while doing things such as catch a ball or reach for an item.

Build Endurance: Getting fatigued while walking can increase your risk of falling. Therapy can help you gain endurance through supportive exercises.

Increase Strength: Therapy will focus on strengthening your leg, hip and core muscles. These muscles are essential to mobility and will lessen your likelihood of falling.

Safety Awareness: Your therapist can make recommendations on how to make your living space safer in order to prevent falls. Also, help you with learning to walk with a cane or walker and adjust it to fit your height specifications.


October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapy Month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapy may be necessary for those recovering after an illness, a fall, injury, surgery or chronic condition. Physical therapists work hard to help patients retain and regain their quality of life.

 


Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

 

Resource: APTA, www.apta.org

Good balance is being able to easily control and maintain your body’s position. Maintaining good balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls. Falling is the ultimate loss of balance and the leading cause of debilitating injury and premature death in older adults. Good balance is being able to easily control and maintain your body’s position. Maintaining good balance and sense of body position is critical to preventing falls. Falling is the ultimate loss of balance and the leading cause of debilitating injury and premature death in older adults.  Each year, 1 in 3 adults over 65 fall each year. With millions of people falling each year, less than half will contact their doctor for help.

Common Risk Factors of Poor Balance:

  • Lower Body Weakness
  • Foot Pain / Poor Footwear
  • Difficulty Walking & Balancing
  • Vision Issues
  • Medications Causing Dizziness
  • Hazards in Your Home

What You Can Do to Prevent Falls?

Falls can be prevented. By following these tips, you can reduce your risk for falling.

  1. Ask your healthcare provider to review your medications.
  2. Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.
  3. Get an annual eye exam. Replace eyeglasses as needed.
  4. Make your home safer. Remove clutter and tripping hazards.

Therapy Can Help Reduce Falls & Improve Balance

A physical therapist works with individuals to identify risk factors and designs an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait. Balance may be improved with exercises that strengthen the core, back, ankle, knee, and hip muscles along with exercises that improve the function of the balance system. Occupational therapists work with you to discuss changes and modifications that can be made around your home to help prevent falls from occurring.

If you have concerns about your balance, ask your doctor if therapy can help. When you receive a doctor’s order for therapy, our physical therapy team can start immediately to help your balance and fear of falling.

Resource: www.cdc.gov/steadi/; www.healthinaging.org

Chronic and acute back pain can be debilitating and very disruptive to your daily life. Back pain can range from a dull constant ache to a sudden sharp pain that makes it uncomfortable to move. Acute back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks and will usually get better on its own. Chronic back pain lasts for more than three months. If you are experiencing back pain there are many ways to treat it, depending on the type of pain you experience and its root cause. Some common methods of treatment include hot/cold packs, exercise, physical therapy, injections, and surgery.

Research suggests that core strengthening exercises and stretching can be the best way to ease back pain. As we age, our muscles become shorter and lose their elasticity. By stretching the muscles in your back, you strengthen them. As your muscles become stronger you begin to avoid pain, improve posture and range of motion, and maintain a higher quality of life.

These simple stretches may help you treat and avoid acute back pain:

Piriformis Stretch: Lie on your back and cross one leg over the other; gently pull the knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area. Hold for 30 seconds. Rest. Repeat 3 times.

Back Stretch: Lie on your stomach. Use your arms to push your upper body off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Let your back relax and sag. Repeat.

Seated Gentle Back Bend: Starting seated, feet flat on the floor. Bring your hands to your lower back, with your fingers facing down and thumbs wrapped around your hips toward the front of your body. Press your hands firmly into your hips/lower back and inhale. As you exhale, gently arch your spine, leading with your head. Your chin should be tilted up, face to the ceiling. Hold for 5 full, deep breaths. Gently and slowly come back to the neutral starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

*Stretches should never cause pain. Stop immediately if you feel any discomfort. Consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

How Therapy Can Help

If these simple stretches don’t alleviate your back pain, physical therapy may be an option for you! A physical therapist will assess your condition and come up with an individualized treatment plan with key exercises to improve your condition. Talk to your doctor today about how physical therapy could help!

 


Source: American Chiropractic Association, National Institute of Arthritis