Physical therapy services at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center are essential toward helping patients regain mobility and independence. Every October, we celebrate National Physical Therapy Month, a time to recognize our wonderful staff and the profession they love. This year we sat down with Patsy Cannon, PT, CBIS, and Callie Hsiang, PT, DPT, CSRS, to talk about physical therapy and its impact on patients’ lives.
What do you do as a physical therapist?
Patsy: I use a variety of physical means to help people learn to walk, roll, get in or out of bed, get on or off of the toilet, use their balance systems again to reduce falls and adapt or regain skills needed in life in a positive way so they can go on. I also teach their family and caregivers how to assist in the recovery process, how to help them improve in quality movements, and to care for them if they cannot care for themselves.
Callie: As a physical therapist at Patricia Neal, I primarily work with patients after they have suffered a stroke. I work to help them improve their functional mobility, safety, and overall quality of life. My main purpose is to help them discharge home safely and to help them get used to having a “new normal” at home.
How are inpatient and outpatient physical therapy different?
Patsy: Inpatient is very short term, with the patient being seen nearly every day. You develop a relationship with them and their family faster than on an outpatient basis. Inpatient primary concerns are increasing mobility enough so the family can take care of the patient at home and educating and training the family on how to keep range of motion, prevent falls and prevent bed sores.
In outpatient, patients are seen usually 2 or 3 times a week for 1 to 3 months and beyond depending on medical need and insurance coverage. Outpatient picks up where inpatient left off. It’s reviewing what they remember or don’t remember from inpatient, figuring out how to progress the patient—not just to get him/her moving so he/she can get home.
Talk about the team aspect of working with other staff at Patricia Neal.
Patsy: We are a team and are available to each other. Both support and professional staff rely heavily on each other. Many of us have a variety of specialties and certifications which we use to share our knowledge and ability with each other.
Speech therapy teaches us about swallowing, cognition, speech production, comprehension and more. Occupational therapy teaches what ranges of motion are needed so a patient can work on dressing, using their arms and hands, bathing and using the toilet. In return, the other disciplines learn from physical therapy about balance, walking, rolling and more. The best aspect is that we share the common goal of helping the patient.
Callie: One of my favorite parts about working at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center is that we use a team approach with our patients. It is helpful for continuity of care for our patients to have the same physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech-language pathologist working with them. It is also helpful for the clinicians because we can update each other about specific things we are working on with our patients, and we can give and get feedback from each other.
What do you want people to know about physical therapy?
Patsy: Quality is better than quantity, and every session is used to improve mobility, whether it is walking or maneuvering a wheelchair. As a whole, physical therapy is a fun and rewarding career that makes a difference in not only the patient’s life but also the therapist’s life. Miracles can and still do happen, and physical therapy can be part of that miracle.
What does National Physical Therapy month mean to you?
Patsy: It is a time to increase awareness in our community and world that there is a profession/therapy that is noninvasive and essential to helping people live a quality life. It is also a time to be recognized as a professional who cares and a time for physical therapists to unite sharing a common goal.
Callie: National Physical Therapy month is great because it shows appreciation to all physical therapists, and it also highlights the field of physical therapy and the important work that we do.
Read more about our staff at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center