General Info


Diagnosis


Intervention


Topic of the Month


 

General information



Article written by Fieke Dijkstra, PT


Geriatric physical therapy has become one of the most interesting fields in physical therapy. Besides, there is a growing need for these services due to the increase in the number of elderly people. With health care and reimbursement systems changing, the skilled nursing facilities currently are dealing with generally more involved and sicker patients than before. For the physical therapist this means that he or she has to be extremely knowledgable about diseases and conditions that might affect or interfere with the treatment. Since the patient population in the skilled nursing facility varies from orthopedic to neurologic to pulmonary to general medical cases, the therapist has to be all-rounded in knowledge and skills. Many therapists develop their own speciality in the geriatric field as well.

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Diagnosis

 
Diagnoses vary from hip fractures, shoulder fractures, COPD, strokes, total hip or knee replacements, and many medical diagnoses such as bladder infections, pneumonia, heart conditions, diabetes, and amputations.
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Intervention

 
Physical therapy is highly involved with falls prevention and management, restraint management, dining programs, and wound care. The modalities being used are therapeutic exercise, balance training, transfer training, and gait training. Many types of equipment are used in treatments such as: electrical stimulation, ultrasound, whirlpool, exercise bike, pulleys, standing frame and tilt table. Many therapists are trained in specific methods to treat certain diagnoses such as NDT and PNF. For the patients that are not able to go home physical therapy can be provided in the long term care units. Much of this intervention is focused on maintenance programs, education of the staff, and bringing people back to their previous level of function before a decline or illness. Physical therapy is also involved with dementia units to ensure safety and good function for these residents.

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Topic of the Month

No new topics at this time. Please send email if there is a geriatric related topic you are interested in.


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