This Memorial Day, as healthcare professionals join the nation in recognizing veterans and those on active duty, it’s important to consider that for all patients—particularly Vets—mental anguish and physical pain are often connected. Some physical therapists are bridging this gap via use of targeted therapies that specifically address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Travel therapists in Florida will recognize the James A. Hailey Veterans Administration Hospital as a forerunner in treating PTSD. The facility, located in Tampa, recently celebrated its grand opening in April 2014. The rehab hospital is forging new concepts in allied healthcare for Vets, such as units categorized as “neighborhoods”, each with a military-inspired name. A few examples of different floors’ names in this facility include Duty, Patriot, Valor, Motivation, Bravery, Honor and not least of all, Courage! A personal memorabilia display and outward facing windows that emit restorative natural light, round out this new rehab hospital, identifying it as a first stop for Florida veterans in need of top notch care.
The therapies trending in VA hospitals are impacting physical therapy careers in many healthcare settings. For PTSD, some therapists are using a multi-disciplinary team approach, wherein the rehab team is made up of physical therapists, as well as mental health professionals. The team treats the condition as a “whole body disease” that affects patients on multiple levels.
This is part of a “**Habitual Therapy Technique”, gaining traction among patients with PTSD. The idea is to get the patient to do things over and over, so that he or she achieves “somatization of pain”. This technique supposedly helps the patient mentally deal with trauma by somatizing pain in different parts of the body; during treatment, and with targeted exercise prescribed by the physical therapist, the patient eventually gets past the physical pain: Endorphins kick in, the joints are lubricated and the patient enjoys a speedier recovery, thanks to the steady regimen of exercise enforced by the PT.
Goal List for Physical Therapists Treating Vets
This Memorial Day, strengthen your goals for patients who served or are serving in the military. These are just a few of the ways PTs can help Vets transition, more smoothly, from life in the hospital to life as a happy and healthy civilian.
- Get them back on a regular physical workout schedule
- Become more effective at diagnosing and picking up on the nuances of PTSD
- Take the patient from a targeted exercise plan into painless full-body workouts
- Familiarize yourself with tele-rehabilitation services that allow therapists to perform remote TBI evaluation and in-home monitoring
- Work from the assumption that the body functions as a whole and symptoms in one area of the body may be related to a dysfunction occurring elsewhere
American Traveler Allied Wishes Our Therapists and Everyone They Treat, a Safe and Happy Memorial Day!
At a premiere staffing agency, therapists work in America’s best rehabilitation hospitals; these include teaching hospitals similar to the James A. Haley VA, and other poly trauma centers. Call 1-800-617-0608 or apply online for therapy jobs that let you use state of the art technologies, like virtual reality and underwater treadmills. Be elemental in offering patients a return to the mobility and independence they once knew; it’s a great time to salute our allied healthcare professionals and the men and women in uniform they are helping to heal. Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!