April is Occupational Therapy Month

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According to The American Occupational Therapy Association, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

So it’s no wonder we have an entire month dedicated to educate and bring awareness to the profession. But if you ever speak to anyone unfamiliar with the profession, some are lost as to what an Occupational Therapist (OT) actually does. Well, according to the Bureau of Labor, some of their regular tasks include the following:

  • Evaluate a patient’s condition and needs
  • Develop a treatment plan for patients, identifying specific goals and the types of activities that will be used to help the patient work toward those goals
  • Help people with various disabilities with different tasks, such as teaching a stroke victim how to get dressed
  • Demonstrate exercises—for example, stretching the joints for arthritis relief—that can help relieve pain in people with chronic conditions
  • Evaluate a patient’s home or workplace and, on the basis of the patient’s health needs, identify potential improvements, such as labeling kitchen cabinets for an older person with poor memory
  • Educate a patient’s family and employer about how to accommodate and care for the patient
  • Recommend special equipment, such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instruct patients on how to use that equipment
  • Assess and record patients’ activities and progress for patient evaluations, for billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers

Think you need more info on occupational therapy? Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The American Occupational Therapy Association, Health Careers, or simply Wikipedia. You’ll also find endless information on how Occupational Therapy can benefit you or your loved ones along with Physical or Speech Therapy (but that’s for another time). Meanwhile, keep coming back as we celebrate Occupational Month with resources, facts, stats, and more!

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VaultMR is an electronic health care platform for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, case management, and nursing. The company has created a powerful, easy to use, interoperable platform through which health care facilities, administrators and clinicians engage, personalize and manage patient care.

April is Occupational Therapy Month

Tips for Staying (Somewhat) Healthy Over the Holidays

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With all of the festivities throughout the holiday season it can be difficult to stay on track with your diet and exercise, but there are certain things you can do to enjoy yourself without packing on the pounds. Here are a few tips you can try to help you out:

  1. Balance your meals
    • Instead of filling your plate with only high calorie foods, have a few of your favorites, but make sure you include a lot of fruits and vegetables, too! You can still enjoy your usual holiday foods, but are still getting a lot of healthful nutrients as well.
  2. Limit sugary foods
    • Foods high in added sugar can cause you to crave even more sugary foods. Instead, to satisfy your sweet tooth, try having a piece of fruit or dark chocolate. If you just can’t resist that piece of pie, only take half a serving. Check out some of these guilt-free recipes from Eating Well.
  3. Stock up on healthy snacks
    • Choose a variety of healthy snacking items when shopping so you can have quick easy snacks on hand when you feel tempted by all of those leftovers. Easy snacking items can include, celery, carrots, and apples.
  4. Manage your alcohol intake
    • Be careful not to overindulge when drinking alcoholic beverages. Remember, a 12-oz. bottle of beer contains about 150 calories and 4 oz. of wine has approximately 100 calories. Try to choose a lower-calorie beer or wine to help manage your calorie intake.
  5. Keep Moving!
    • Don’t forget about your daily exercise during the holiday season. Any little thing you can do to move from moving gift boxes to decorating the tree -keep moving! Not only will exercise help you keep off the pounds, it can also help you manage stress that is associated with family get-togethers and holiday planning.

 

Regardless if it’s the holidays or not, you can go into the new year with some of these tips to make for an excellent 2017!

 

 

This article was originally published here.

VaultMR is an electronic health care platform for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and nursing. The company has created a powerful, easy to use, interoperable platform through which health care facilities, administrators and clinicians engage, personalize and manage patient care.

Tips for Staying (Somewhat) Healthy Over the Holidays

10 Fun Facts About the Human Body

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We obviously live in our bodies our entire lives. It’s our home. But how well do you know parts of the human body? We’ve compiled a list of 10 fun facts about the human body you may or may not have known before.

1. The biggest muscle in the body is the gluteus maximus.
AKA Your butt.

2. One human hair can support 3.5 ounces.
That’s about the weight of two full size candy bars.

3. The human tongue consists of 16 separate muscles.
Can you fold your tongue?

4. Your hands are not the biggest part of your body, but they have 20 individual muscles.
Time to start working out those hands.

5. The Sartorius muscle is the longest muscle in the body. It runs from the hip diagonally across the thigh to the inside of the knee.
Your hips don’t lie.

6. Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents.
Even if you can only recall your grandmother’s cooking.

7. Out of the 206 bones in your body, 52 of them make up both of your feet.
That’s just about 25% of the bones in your entire body.

8. Humans and Giraffes have the same number of cervical vertebrae.
That’s some 7 large vertebrae.

9. Hand injuries account for nearly 10% of hospital emergency department visits.
Ouch.

10. The scapular bone has no bony attachments. It is solely connected by soft tissue.
Thus poor posture and muscular imbalances play a huge role in neck, shoulder and back pain.

Did you know any of these? The human body is composed of many different types of cells that together create tissues and subsequently organ systems. The secrets our bodies hold are interesting and sometimes gross, but we can all agree that it’s amazing.

 

VaultMR is an electronic health care platform for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and nursing. The company has created a powerful, easy to use, interoperable platform through which health care facilities, administrators and clinicians engage, personalize and manage patient care.

10 Fun Facts About the Human Body

Common Thanksgiving Day Injuries And How To Prevent Them

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we want to make sure you are safe this holiday season. While Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to share with family, it can also have inherent hidden dangers. We want you to stay safe this year in whatever you do: whether you are braving the airports and flying across country, hauling a heavy turkey in and out of the oven, dodging gravy burns, carving meat wielding a finger-reducing knife, or tackling cousins at your annual family  flag football game, we want your festive cheer to last.

Here are some common Thanksgiving Day injuries that may send you to the doctor and we have armed you with ways to prevent them.

Couch Potato Turned Football Star. All too often Thanksgiving seems to be a time for family members, regardless of their physical ability, to hop off the couch and engage in a post-feast football game. Not only can endorphin-induced football cause unwanted back pain from an annular tear, lumbar sprain or disc herniation, but many people wind up with ankle injuries, hand sprains, and fractures. Think twice before heading into a game if you rarely play.

  • Plan ahead and start some gentle workouts now in preparation. Your body will thank you if this staves off an injury! Too often injuries occur when someone who isn’t used to vigorous activity jumps at the chance to play the annual game.
  • Convince family to play touch football or flag football this year and avoid traumatic tackles.
  • Make sure you have changed into appropriate sports wear and take a few minutes to warm up with a little jogging, jumping jacks, and active stretches. Don’t forget to cool down with some stretching.
  • Play before any alcohol consumption to reduce your risk for injury.
  • If injured, stop playing – it’s not worth pushing through and making an injury worse. Remember to R.I.C.E – rest, ice, compression and elevate!

One Very Large Bird. Someone has to lift it. Be careful with your back when carrying and lifting your thanksgiving feast in and out of the oven. Bending and lifting place greater stress on your back and can put your back at risk.

  • Remember to bend with your knees and avoid twisting at the same time.
  • Have an area cleared off to place the turkey when ready so you aren’t scrambling last minute to set down a hot, heavy turkey pan!

Carving Induced Knife Wounds. But you wanted that Turkey carved just right! Keep in mind some simple knife tips to keep all your fingers intact this year.

  • Focus on your task at hand – don’t get distracted when slicing food
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  • Take your time. There is no need to rush whether you are carving the turkey, slicing vegetables or peeling potatoes!
  • Make sure you are comfortable carving the turkey – this is not an ideal time for a first time carver!
  • Use a sharp knife. Most accidents occur with dull knives.
  • Keep your cutting board secure with a non-skid pad.

Sizzling Burns. A 25 pound oven fresh turkey and piping hot gravy make burn splatters more likely.

  • Avoid wearing lose clothes to prevent dangling sleeves from catching fire.
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  • Keep pot handles away from the front edge to reduce the risk of knocking pots over and use pot-handles when moving.
  • Use precaution when lifting the turkey out of the oven.
  • Keep an ABC-rated fire extinguisher nearby.

One-Too-Many Alcohol Related Accidents. Sure we all want to have a good time, but remember to always drink responsibly. The holidays are filled with drinking centered events, family gatherings and heightened emotional stress. Excessive drinking places you at increased risk for a wide array of health related problems.

  • Be aware if you take prescription medications that alcohol should not be mixed with most drugs.
  • Never endanger yourself or others by driving after you have been drinking. Drunk driving accidents always peak this time of the year – protect yourself and plan ahead. A cab or couch is worth it if needed.
  • Drinking in moderation means no more than one alcoholic drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.

This article was originally posted here.

VaultMR is an electronic health care platform for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and nursing. The company has created a powerful, easy to use, interoperable platform through which health care facilities, administrators and clinicians engage, personalize and delight patient care.

Common Thanksgiving Day Injuries And How To Prevent Them

Halloween Themed Activities for Your Child’s Development

 

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In the spirit of Halloween this Monday, we want to introduce you to some themed games for the weekend that are sure to be fun for your children, but also beneficial to their development.

Spider Web Maze

With a piece of chalk, draw a large spider web on the ground.  Using paper, plastic, or extra candy, place the “spiders” along the lines of the web.  Have your child walk the lines of the spider web, keeping both feet on the line, and count how many “spiders” they can grab in one minute without stepping off the lines.  This game is beneficial in that it improves coordination and balance.

Candy Grab

Dump a bucket of candy on the floor.  Using only their toes, see how quickly your child can pick up the candy and place it in a bucket.  This will work your child’s ankle strength and balance.

Candy Hopscotch

Draw hopscotch on the ground.  Throw the candy on the ground to skip that step.  All you will need is chalk and your Halloween candy.  This game will benefit your child’s jumping, coordination, and balance.

Spider Web Catch

This game can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors.  Using painter’s tape, build a spider web in an open hallway or tree.  Crumble up some newspaper into various sized balls, and count how many your child can throw and stick in the spider web.  Throwing is a gross motor task that can be improved with items typically found in your house!

This Halloween, we are challenging families to use their candies in ways other than eating.  There are many additional games and activities that can be played for Halloween or any time of the year.  These ideas do not have to involve a lot of equipment or work.  The most important thing is to get up and play outdoors with your children.  Performing these activities with your children provides the proper foundation to encourage consistent exercise and activity!

 

 

This article was originally posted by Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy.

VaultMR is an electronic health care platform for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and nursing. The company has created a powerful, easy to use, interoperable platform through which health care facilities, administrators and clinicians engage, personalize and delight patient care.

Halloween Themed Activities for Your Child’s Development

October is Physical Therapy Month

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VaultMR supports National Physical Therapy Month. Physical Therapists create positive patient outcomes for recovery and rehabilitation. And before you confuse physical therapy with occupational therapy,  or think they’re interchangeable, keep in mind what a physical therapist does according to the American Physical Therapy Association:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.
  • Restore, maintain, and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.
  • Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.

Physical Therapy is a dynamic profession that progresses just as much as the times do. In recent memory, physical therapy has included creative sources of treatment such as this instance where Pokemon Go was used to motivate kids to keep up with treatment.

VaultMR’s own VP of Clinical, Nikki Ralston, has over 25 years of physical therapy experience and has been a crucial team member of the post-acute care EHR.

“I am able to  make a positive difference in patient’s lives which is incredibly rewarding, said Ralston. “Every patient is different from their treatment to their personality. Witnessing a patient leave in optimal wellness is the biggest reward I could ask for in this profession.”

This National Physical Therapy Month, VaultMR wishes to thank our physical therapist on staff and physical therapists for the exceptional care they provide to patients.

 

 

VaultMR is an electronic health care platform for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and nursing. The company has created a powerful, easy to use, interoperable platform through which health care facilities, administrators and clinicians engage, personalize and delight patient care.

October is Physical Therapy Month

10 Insider Tips Only Nurses Will Tell You

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While we normally love providing bits for clinicians, we thought we’d provide some insight into the healthcare world for everyone else. So what do we know? As explained by Alexandra Robbins, author of The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles With the Heroes of the Hospital, nurses will provide much information into the healthcare world.

Nurses are not just the unsung heroes of healthcare; they’re also its secret keepers. If you want to know the truth about your doctor or healthcare institution, ask nurses. Meanwhile, here are 10 of the insider tips nurses have shared to help patients get better care.

1. Get a Second Opinion on the Surgery Your Doctor Recommends

You might not actually need the surgery your physician says you need. Nurses told me that the healthcare system incentivizes some doctors to advise high-cost procedures, which can lead them to bully patients into undergoing treatments that won’t necessarily help them. “If I could talk to my open-heart surgery patients before the surgery, I would probably advise 30 percent of them not to have surgery,” said one New York nurse. “Doctors undersell how much rehabilitation the successful recovery from heart surgery requires. Every time I see patients over 85 opt for an aortic valve surgery because they were becoming short of breath on exertion, I scratch my head a little bit because I know that many of these high-risk patients will not get back all the faculties they had before the surgery, and some won’t even make it out of the hospital.” Getting a second opinion (and a third) may give you a more accurate picture.

2. Appoint One Family Spokesman

Your hospital nurse will have more time for you if she doesn’t have to answer repetitive questions from each of your visitors. Designate one family member to be the completely informed individual — in addition to you — who communicates with nurses. Visitors with questions can relay them to the spokesman or in some cases they can write their questions directly on the whiteboard in the room.

3. Avoid Teaching Hospitals in July

Every July in teaching hospitals, medical students become interns or first-year residents, first-years become second-years, and so forth. These new doctors are immediately thrust into direct patient care. New doctors can make mistakes: In July, U.S. death rates in these hospitals surge between 8 percent to 34 percent, or between 1,500 and 2,750 deaths. University of California at San Diego researchers found that fatal medication errors “spike by 10 percent in July and in no other month.” The healthcare industry calls this upheaval “The July Effect” in the United States and “August Killing Season” in the United Kingdom (where the shift happens in August).

If you must be hospitalized in July for a particularly complex procedure, you might consider avoiding teaching hospitals. Approximately 25 percent of U.S. hospitals are teaching hospitals, which you can identify by checking the “About Us” page on a hospital’s website.

4. Watch Carefully When Hospital Staff Enter Your (or Your Loved One’s) Room

Not all doctors and nurses remember to wash their hands when entering a patient room. Nurses encourage patients and visitors to keep a close eye on every staff member who walks in the door and to speak up if someone forgets. A simple “Could you please wash your hands?” should do the trick. This is an easy way to reduce a patient’s chance of infection. Along the same lines, it doesn’t hurt to bring your own sanitizing wipes and wipe down surfaces in your hospital room.

5. Do as Much As You Can for Yourself and for the Patient

You can help maximize your or your loved one’s time with the nurse by doing as much as you can on your own. Bring or find your own food and beverages, and ask the nurse if there’s anything you can do to help the patient. You might be able to assist by recording fluid intake and output, brushing the patient’s teeth, handling feeding, or participating in therapies. “I’ve given a bath to a child while the parents sat there and watched,” an Arizona pediatric nurse told me. “Nurses do not give magical baths. We give fast ones when we are busy. Any type of care that can be done by the family is not just a help to nurses; it aids in the healing process. Who better to care for someone than the people who love them most?”

6. Have Honest End-of-Life Discussions Before They Are Necessary

Nurses see it more often than you’d think: A patient with a Do Not Resuscitate order is unresponsive, a family member insists the medical team “do everything you can” to save the patient anyway, the hospital complies, and the patient’s end-of-life wishes are ignored. “I think if people better understood exactly what ‘do everything’ entails, they would be less likely to demand it,” said a Texas travel nurse. “Performing CPR is probably going to break multiple ribs, [some patients] will almost certainly die in the ICU after a prolonged barrage of horribly toxic medicines, and we can put someone on a ventilator but their anoxic brain injury means they’re never waking up again. If we could show families how much more horrible it is to prolong treatment of a dying person, perhaps they would choose differently.”

Nurses suggest that families make sure they are on the same page about end-of-life wishes long before they are placed in urgent situations.

7. Have Someone Stay With the Patient 16 Hours a Day

A second set of eyes and ears is always helpful to a hospital patient. Loved ones should try to have visitors take turns so that someone is in the room with the patient 16 hours a day. “It is really important to have someone stay in the hospital with you. Nurses may not always be able to keep a close eye on each of their patients,” said a Pacific Northwest PACU nurse. “Sometimes, the aggressive patients needing more nursing care take time from the quieter patients. It’s like the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Ask the staff what time the physician conducts his/her daily rounds and let them know that a visitor will be present for them. “Patients get better care when their family is involved, actively,” said a Virginia nurse practitioner.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Patients and family spokesmen shouldn’t hesitate to ask doctors and nurses questions about their care and reasons for procedures. “Even if you’re worried about annoying a doctor or nurse, if you have questions, you should ask them,” said a psychiatric nurse in Hawaii. “The patient and patient’s family need to know enough about what’s going on to advocate for the patient’s well-being. It could save your or your family member’s life.”

When asking questions, avoid using “Why,” which can put healthcare providers on the defensive. Instead of inquiring, “Why did you give him that medication?” try “Help us to understand why he’s getting this medication,” a Texas family nurse practitioner suggested. Additionally, double-check the identification information on your armband or make sure your family/visitors know to check it for you.

If questions aren’t urgent, don’t ask them on a nurse’s first visit of her shift, when she might be particularly busy visiting each patient. By the second pass-through, she should have more time to focus on your concerns.

9. Being Kind to Your Nurse Matters

While nurses try to give every patient the best healthcare possible, they don’t necessarily treat every patient equally. You’d be surprised how many people are rude to nurses, many even to the point of physical or verbal abuse. Patients and visitors who are unkind can delay processes like repeat pain medication, a Washington, DC, nurse said, “because the nurses don’t want to deal with them.” Respectful patients, on the other hand, might get faster service than the pain-in-the-ass down the hall – and, sometimes, some extra perks, too.

10. Understand Why Your Medications Might Not Arrive Promptly

Even if your hospital medications are due at 9 o’clock, you might not receive them at exactly that time because your nurse could have several other patients with medications due simultaneously. Many nurses are overloaded with patients, and might have to give them one pill at a time or crush pills into applesauce and feed them carefully to a patient.

Also, “Your nurse may be late answering your call light because she was just holding the hand of a patient breathing his last breath; someone who just lost their mother, father, or spouse was crying on her shoulder; or she was being verbally and physically abused by a drunk,” said an Illinois ICU nurse. So cut your nurses some slack. They are doing the best they can.

 

 

This article was originally posted here.

VaultMR is an electronic health care platform for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and nursing. The company has created a powerful, easy to use, interoperable platform through which health care facilities, administrators and clinicians engage, personalize and delight patient care.

10 Insider Tips Only Nurses Will Tell You