• child holding up hands painted in many colors

    Posted on 4/19/2017 by Rebecca Miles, MSOT, OTR/L

     

    When I tell people I am an occupational therapist, they generally either respond enthusiastically or nod as if they know what I do (when they really don’t!). Upon first hearing the name, most people think occupational therapists are vocational therapists who help people find employment or get back to a certain job. Because of this, the people who do not know what occupational therapy is are even more confused when I say I work with the pediatric population.

    Occupational therapists work with people across the lifespan to do what they need to do, want to do and what they are expected to do. For us, an “occupation” refers to activities that support the health, wellbeing and development of an individual (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2014). This can mean helping someone after a stroke learn how to dress themselves again. In my work as a pediatric occupational therapist, it means I work with children and their families to allow participation and independence in their “occupation" of playing, learning and completing activities throughout their daily life.

    Pediatric occupational therapists work across many settings, from schools to hospitals to outpatient centers. Here at Select Kids Pediatric Therapy, I have the opportunity to work with infants and toddlers in their homes and natural environments and to work in a pediatric outpatient center treating children from age three to 22.

    Pediatric occupational therapists utilize the most current evaluation tools and clinical standards in determining the appropriate treatment for each child. We start by communicating directly with parents/guardians to determine the family’s goals and priorities. Then, through individualized evaluations, we find solutions to help maximize independence and increase participation in daily activities, including self-care, learning and play.

    I work with children on reaching their full potential by addressing deficits that challenge performance of developmentally appropriate skills. For instance, I often help children who have challenges with grasp and handwriting, attention span, moving their body to complete a task, responding to information coming from the senses (like becoming overwhelmed and distraught when there is a loud noise), visual perceptual skills (like finding an item in a busy drawer or knowing what an item is when it is not entirely visible) and activities of daily life (like dressing and feeding). I get to address these skills through play and actual performance of the activities, so that children can engage in their “occupations” and learn while having fun.

    I empower families through education and guidance to help the children in their lives grow and learn. It is amazing to be able to spend every day helping children to reach their own individual potential.

    American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain & process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(Suppl. 1), S1–S48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.682006

    Rebecca MilesBy: Rebecca Miles, MSOT, OTR/L, pediatric occupational therapist at our Select Kids Pediatric Therapy center in Virginia Beach, VA.

    Select Kids Pediatric Therapy and NovaCare Kids Pediatric Therapy are part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands. Contact a center near you today for more information on pediatric therapy services.

  • trainer holding patient arm

    Posted on 4/3/2017 by Cornelia von Lersner Benson, O.T., CHT

     

    Join NovaCare Rehabilitation, Select Physical Therapy and our team of dedicated occupational therapists as we celebrate Occupational Therapy Month (OTM)! OTM is hosted by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) each April to recognize how occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help transform society by restoring and improving function in people's lives.

    Occupational therapy is celebrating its anniversary! The National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy (now AOTA) was established in 1917, marking 100 years of the profession and evidence-based practice. With more than 200,000 occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants helping individuals across the lifespan live life to its fullest, this dedicated group of professionals focuses on treatment to help develop, recover and maintain the daily skills of patients.

    Occupational therapists offer a unique approach to physical rehabilitation. The focus isn’t just someone’s motion or strength, but how it is used in their life, such as a healthy return to work, getting back to sports or hobbies or helping to braid a child’s hair before school. Occupational therapists also have specialty training in orthoses fabrication and emotional, thinking and reasoning factors that affect physical health and function. It is a service that, side-by-side with physical therapy, can offer a return to health and function in an all-inclusive and progressive way.

    This service offering, however, all began for NovaCare Rehabilitation in 1990, prior to joining the Select Medical family, within our Southern New Jersey community when I was hired by our then company president to develop an occupational therapy program. I was hired as the first occupational therapist for the company, likely as an informal pilot study to determine a consumer’s benefit of receiving occupational therapy and its contribution as a service and unique offering for our organization. As we knew it would, occupational therapy was a hit! Occupational therapy allows patients to achieve independence and participate in tasks they want and need to accomplish through therapeutic interventions following trauma or disability. Our local success meant that the occupational therapy service offering quickly grew, adding additional staff members in New Jersey and then Philadelphia, Maryland and Minnesota.

    Today, occupational therapy is a national service for NovaCare Rehabilitation, Select Physical Therapy and other brands within the Select Medical Outpatient Division family. We employ more than 480 occupational therapists across the country. We continue to treat patients on a daily basis as well as provide education and mentoring to support new occupational therapy graduates who desire to achieve his/her certification in hand therapy. We help to supervise all levels of occupational therapy students, ongoing development for staff and continued service expansion to meet the needs of our community at large.

    At NovaCare Rehabilitation and Select Physical Therapy, our occupational therapists are everyday heroes and know that each patient is unique and requires an individualized approach to care. Our team finds the right solution for each patient to reach goals and return to function and the things they enjoy doing as soon as possible.

    I am proud to work for a company that holds occupational therapy in such high regard and encourages and supports therapists in their growth, their unique contributions and their skills to improve the lives of our patients. This comes as a result of having a company creed that is dedicated to providing an exceptional patient experience in a compassionate environment. It all fits! Happy OTM, everyone!

    Cornelia von Lersner Benson By: Cornelia von Lersner Benson, O.T., CHT. Cornelia serves as NovaCare Rehabilitation’s hand and occupational therapy director for the Southern New Jersey community. NovaCare in New Jersey proudly employs 46 occupational and hand therapists within 27 offices, including those who provide in-home care and services within physician offices.

  • hand with scar getting cup treatment

    Posted on 3/23/2017 by Michael Staino, O.T., CHT, COMT

     

    Negative pressure soft tissue manual therapy, or, in simpler terms

    , cupping, is a mobilization technique used to treat pain, stiffness and swelling of the upper and lower extremities, as well as large soft tissue areas such as the shoulder blade or low back.

    Cupping is the combination of massage movements and negative pressure with the use of a suction device on the skin. A cup is positioned at the treatment area and a vacuum is created within the cup to draw the skin and underlying tissue into the cup. The produced vacuum creates a suction effect that increases blood and lymphatic circulation, relaxes muscle tissue and support, draws stagnation and toxins out of the body and releases a myriad of pain causing factors.

    Cupping for soft tissue stiffness

    Following injury, surgery and prolonged immobilization, patients may experience pain, stiffness and swelling that hinder normal movement patterns. There are numerous methods to treat such soft tissue stiffness. Scar tissue can be hypersensitive to touch, restricting a therapist’s ability to mobilize the visible scar and scar tissue deep within a patient’s recovering region. Using cupping, the therapist able to gently lift and mobilize surrounding pain-free tissue and work toward the targeted region without pain and discomfort. The results are immediate and lasting, with patients gaining range of motion and tolerance to exercise with reduced swelling.

    Additional cupping benefits include:

    Improved muscle performance
    Improved functionality
    Decreased hypersensitivity
    Decreased pain
    Improved scar mobility
    How does cupping work?

    Cupping tissue liftLotion is applied to the skin to improve suction and contact quality of the silicone cups on the skin. Treatment time can range from a few minutes to 10 to 20 minutes depending on the patient and treatment area. The negative pressure works well in a moving technique as our therapists glide the silicone cups across the skin.

    Patients will feel slight pressure during treatment, similar to a massage, and experience little to no pain. Following treatment, small, pin-sized red dots or bruising surrounding the treated area may appear.

    Cupping can help to treat:

    Tightness, stiffness and swelling following healed fractures
    Post-operative carpal tunnel syndrome
    Brachial plexopathy (pain, decreased movement and sensation in the arm and shoulder)
    Tennis/Golfer’s elbow
    Rotator cuff injury
    Shoulder pain and stiffness
    Low back pain
    Neck pain and stiffness
    …And much more!

    For more information on cupping, please contact a center near you today.

    Mike StainoBy: Michael Staino, O.T., CHT, COMT. Michael works in NovaCare Rehabilitation’s South Jersey community and works extensively out of our Manahawkin center. Along with managing hand therapy in his market, Michael specializes in treating patients with hand and upper extremity injuries. He is an occupational therapist, certified hand therapist and certified orthopaedic manual therapist of the upper extremity with more than 24 years of experience.

  • two industrial workers

    Posted on 3/13/2017 by Select Medical Outpatient Division WorkStrategies Program

     

    National Athletic Training Month is held every March in order to celebrate and spread awareness about all that athletic trainers do: provide vital health care services for life and sport. Athletic trainers play an integral role in the physical rehabilitative process on the playing field and keeping industrial athletes healthy and safe within the workforce. We count on our athletic trainers to be on the frontlines in prevention, treatment and ongoing management of care for our customers.

    Our athletic trainers partner with high schools, colleges/universities and professional sports teams and work closely with team physicians and coaches to ensure athletes compete at their highest potential and avoid injury. Through our WorkStrategies® Program, athletic trainers partner with employers to help keep workers on the job. They provide preventative programs and services to ensure that a company’s workforce remains healthy and productive.

    The National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s theme for 2017 is “Your protection is our priority.” Protecting our customers out in the workforce is most certainly a priority for us, and we’d like to shine a spotlight on some of our trusted WorkStrategies athletic trainers!

    Heather Procopio, ATC, M.S., CEAS, WorkStrategies Coordinator

    While working as an athletic trainer at various highs schools and universities, Heather Procopio scheduled her life around the practices and games of her athletes. While there were many memorable moments as she cheered, cried and helped athletes return to their passion, the common thread among all of her athletes was they eventually would hang up their cleats. That realization led Heather to transition from the athletic field to an industrial setting where she could help keep employees healthy by using some of the same skills she used with her athletes.

    While pre-season conditioning is integral to athletes having a successful season on the athletic field, post-offer employment tests are key in determining whether an employee can meet the requirements needed for a job. Instead of offering advice on areas that her student-athletes needed to improve on, Heather provides vital information to an employer about perspective job candidates. These tests consist of a series of physical exercises that best represent whether an employee can complete required tasks, such as lifting, pushing and pulling substantial weight amounts, crawl under equipment and work at a certain pace without the risk for musculoskeletal injuries or cardiovascular accidents.

    Victoria Vintevoghel, MHSA, A.T., WorkStrategies Site Supervisor

    Victoria Vintevoghel’s dream job was to work with a Division 1 soccer program, but her goals started to change after completing her graduate assistant program. Her focus shifted to individuals who didn’t always have an athletic trainer readily accessible to them. Victoria realized the focus in the industrial setting was on injury prevention and encouraging early reporting of aches and pains. Much of her time is spent creating injury prevention programs, including mobility screens, improving strength deficits and analyzing proper biomechanics.

    Working onsite in the airline industry allows Victoria the privilege of assisting baggage handlers who undoubtedly have one of the most physically demanding jobs. These men and women lift, carry and stack luggage that could weigh anywhere between 20 to 70 pounds. During some flights, these employees could be loading thousands of pounds of freight and mail in a span of 30 to 60 minutes. Since these individuals haven’t always had an athletic trainer as their advocate, Victoria has not only been able to educate them about the benefits of an industrial athletic trainer, but also make a significant change in how employees and employers view injuries that may occur on the job site.

    Caroline Crowley, M.S., ATC, WorkStrategies Coordinator

    Caroline Crowley’s career began on the sidelines, but she traded in her fanny pack for a pair of steel-toed boots and safety glasses. Working in a number of factories in Louisville, KY, Caroline’s day is never the same and each day brings new challenges. Louisville offers its residents a number of career options, from online distribution centers to companies that manufacture automobile parts. And as home of the bourbon industry, distilling and botting some of America’s favorite beverages generate many opportunities for injuries.

    No matter what the job is, it’s Caroline’s responsibility to quantify their job demands, such as how much an employee can lift, push or pull and then develop injury-prevention strategies, like post-offer employment testing, stretch programs or educational seminars.

    While they may not receive as much notoriety as traditional athletic trainers, our industrial athletes still improve the lives of their athletes on a daily basis. They help to keep employees safe at work so at the end of the day those employees can go home and do the things they enjoy with the people they love. That’s a reward that beats any trophy won on the athletic field!

    Heather Procopio, ATC, M.S., CEAS, is a WorkStrategies Coordinator with Select Physical Therapy in Connecticut. Heather provides a variety of injury prevention services to numerous companies, including a medical parts manufacturer, an electric company and an airplane parts manufacturer.

    Victoria Vintevoghel, MHSA, A.T., is a WorkStrategies Site Supervisor with Physio in Michigan. She is responsible for developing injury prevention and health and wellness programs onsite for a major airline.

    Caroline Crowley, M.S., ATC, is a WorkStrategies Specialist and athletic trainer with KORT Physical Therapy in Louisville, KY. She provides a variety of injury prevention services to numerous.

    WorkStrategies, Select Physical Therapy, KORT Physical Therapy and Physio are part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.

    Heather ProcopioVictoria VintevoghelCaroline Crowley