To Rehabilitate and Improve

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By Andrea Spridgen

As more than 600 Paralympic athletes take to the ice and snow in PyeongChang, South Korea, this month, this issue of The O&P EDGE  focuses on improving mobility for all O&P patients and inspiring them to get moving.

"Alternative and Complementary Rehabilitation Therapies" explores options for rehabilitation therapy beyond traditional clinic-based physical and occupational therapy that can help patients stay engaged and motivated. From aquatic therapy, in which physical therapists can help patients strengthen muscles to prepare to or more effectively use their prostheses, to virtual reality augmented therapy, to recreational therapy that can help patients continue to improve after they've completed traditional physical therapy, these options offer ways to enhance the traditional model.

The importance of continued post-acute rehabilitation activity to increase patients' activity levels, balance, and strength is highlighted in "Take Two: The Impact of Additional Training and Resources on Functional Mobility and Balance During Chronic Post-amputation Recovery." The article presents literature surrounding three models of post-acute activities including incorporating formal physical therapy, a group exercise program, and a home-based treadmill program.

Getting patients moving can be dependent on overall patient health and well-being as well as adherence to the O&P treatment plan. Patient self-management is critical to maintaining a proper wear schedule, managing sock-ply for prostheses, and scheduling appropriate follow-up with O&P providers. "Applying Health and Wellness Coaching to O&P" looks at principles of health and wellness coaching, as well as the value of promoting healthy choices and habits, and the role they may play in improving outcomes in O&P. Essential to adopting a coaching approach is recognizing that patients are ultimately responsible for their own healthy choices and collaborating with them on goal setting and problem solving and supporting them in their efforts to follow through.

I also want to speak to the subject of our Better Business article, equality and sexual harassment in the workplace. This is a subject that some are reluctant to discuss, and many believe is only a women's issue, or only relevant in big businesses. But, man or woman, no one wants to be uncomfortable or disrespected while trying to perform his or her job duties, and even when a business only has a few employees, they interact regularly with vendors and clients as well as each other. Regardless of the size or demographics of your business, I urge you to take time to evaluate the policies you have in place and to examine ways to foster a culture of respect and appropriate boundaries of communication and behavior in the workplace. This article presents some ideas to help improve policies and practices to protect your employees and your business—a move that experts say is not only the right thing to do but smart business.