Happy Physical Therapy Month from RehabCare! Every October, we celebrate our physical therapists and their achievements.
It’s easy for us to get excited about physical therapy – we know it is one of the most fulfilling occupations in a field that is constantly hiring. We also see every day how physical therapy improves lives and returns patients to higher levels of function. Here’s a huge thank you from RehabCare to all of our wonderful physical therapists who do so much every day to restore function and renew life.
To learn more about the impact of physical therapy, watch our video, Physical Therapy in a Skilled Nursing Center. Physical therapist Tim Wagner walks viewers through a day in the life of delivering care in the SNF setting:
Don’t forget that you can register today to attend Modern Healthcare’s Virtual Conference & Expo: “Building Tomorrow’s Delivery Model: Providers and Payers as Partners.” RehabCare is a platinum sponsor, and participants will have the opportunity to speak with us one on one at our booth between 9:30 AM-4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. We also invite you to join us from 1:00-1:45 PM for our webinar on “Re-examining Best Practices for Acute Therapy Services” with Ron Scharff, Assistant Vice President, Market Research Product Manager for RehabCare.
Register for the event at http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20130411/EVENTS/130419992. We hope to see you there!
RehabCare has partnered with Modern Healthcare and is a platinum sponsor for their upcoming Virtual Conference & Expo: “Building Tomorrow’s Delivery Model: Providers and Payers as Partners.” We understand the importance of staying abreast of industry changes and look forward to being a part of the conversation surrounding how to deliver quality care in the midst of healthcare reform. This event will feature many engaging speakers, and attendees will have the chance to chat with us one on one at our booth between 9:30 AM-4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Monday, October 21. We also invite folks to join us from 1:00-1:45 PM for our webinar on “Re-examining Best Practices for Acute Therapy Services” with Ron Scharff, Assistant Vice President, Market Research Product Manager for RehabCare.
Register for the event at http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20130411/EVENTS/130419992.
In a national effort to reduce billing errors from skilled nursing facilities, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has drawn up individual claims reports for facilities and implemented a program known as “PEPPER” (Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report). Each PEPPER report examines episodes of care from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2012 and looks for areas that are at risk for improper Medicare reimbursement. PEPPER reports were mailed to SNFs beginning on September 30, 2013. The reports are intended to help SNFs remain in compliance by correctly billing for services administered.
Note that PEPPER cannot actually identify improper payments. By looking for outliers, the PEPPER report only analyzes your SNF’s claims data to highlight areas of potential payment abuse. For example, the report pays special attention to target areas such as therapy RUGs with high ADLs, episodes of care lasting more than 90 days and ultra high therapy RUGs. For more background about the PEPPER reports, we recommend reading Shelly Mesure’s column on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: What’s On Your PEPPER Report?
In addition, RehabCare recently held a webinar to help skilled nursing facilities understand how to respond to their PEPPER letters. Access this presentation with need-to-know information about PEPPER here.
For official CMS information and resources for PEPPER, visit: http://www.pepperresources.org/.
Like many others, you may have caught this video of our patient Kelly Downing, who received months of therapy at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation – Greenbriar for chronic Lyme disease. Kelly’s emotional story went viral on the Kindred Healthcare Facebook page, garnering 40,000+ likes and more than 95,000 YouTube views to date.
The video also grabbed the attention of Katie Couric’s daytime show, the Katie Show. Physicians and news outlets alike are increasingly recognizing the prevalence of Lyme disease. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated that Lyme disease infects 10 times more Americans than was previously reported. We at Kindred Healthcare were thrilled when Couric invited our patient Kelly to share her story on the Katie Show, where Couric educated her audience about Lyme disease symptoms and treatment. For the full story about Kelly’s journey and care, visit Kindred’s blog, The Kindred Continuum. For the Lyme disease segment on the Katie Show, click here.
While Kindred Healthcare is our parent company, Kelly’s Lyme disease triumph is a RehabCare success story at the end of the day. RehabCare therapists ultimately contributed all three therapies in the treatment of this medically complex patient. The video did not mention speech-language pathology, but as Kelly regained her motor coordination, she unexpectedly presented with a need for speech therapy. It seemed that her brain “short circuited,” and the cognitive multitasking required from combining physical movement and speaking proved difficult.
We caught up with Laura Beard, Kelly’s speech-language pathologist, to learn more about the speech therapy Kelly received and provide the full story:
Q. How, specifically, was Kelly’s speech affected by Lyme disease?
A. There is a small area of research related to swallowing disorders from Lyme complications, but Kelly did not present with those symptoms. Kelly’s particular situation sent me to books and mentors, researching. When Kelly was seated in her wheelchair, she was able to rattle off information that is automatic – the alphabet, days of the week, her social security number, etc. But she could not easily speak this information when she stood or held someone’s hand. She had to squeeze her eyes shut and sort of force the words out. My colleagues and I suspected that the problem arose with the combined task of maintaining an upright position and using language.
Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced in treating Kelly?
A. The biggest challenge was that there was no protocol to follow. There was no patient like her. We also had to make some adaptations to accommodate her sensitivity to light, writing difficulty and distractibility. But Kelly was game for all of my tasks.
Q. Is it possible that Kelly will continue to run into speech issues in the future? Do you know how long she can expect to maintain gains from her speech therapy?
A. It is always possible that she will run into problems and changes in the future, especially as her medications and symptoms change. As therapists we aim to promote the highest level of functional independence for each patient, and we implement compensatory strategies. We introduced systems to allow her to communicate more easily and with less distractions so that she may be successful.
Q. We all learned from the video that Kelly’s attitude played a huge role in her recovery. Can you speak to how her outlook impacted the results of her therapy?
A. Kelly’s outlook was a major component to her success. Kelly was hard working. She was willing to be upfront and forthcoming about her deficits and symptoms. She was also able to laugh at herself. Her attitude played a big role.
RehabCare is excited to watch Katie Couric profile one of our patients, Kelly Downing, on Couric’s daytime show tomorrow, October 9. Kelly Downing of Massachusetts experienced full-body paralysis and speech difficulties and was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. RehabCare therapists from each discipline treated Kelly. Thanks to her tremendous attitude and care, Kelly is now able to walk and participate in activities with her children again. Watch Katie Couric discuss Kelly’s rehabilitation, and learn more about Lyme disease risks and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.
To find the time and station for the Katie Show in your community, click here.
Watch Kelly’s story:
Working with an elderly population can require special understanding. Keep these tips in mind when interacting with older patients in therapy:
- Stand or sit face-to-face when conversing. Kneel when speaking to patients in wheelchairs.
- Ask the patient to complete one task at a time.
- Ask only one question at a time, and allow adequate time for the patient to respond.
- Respond to a patient’s intended message, not just the words they use.
- Remember to repeat questions as needed to help patients return to original topics.
- Use many ways to communicate: words, gestures, facial expressions and supportive touches.
- Take turns frequently in conversation.
- If a patient withdraws from conversation, tell him or her that you understand that he or she does not wish to talk now. Sit quietly with the patient or return later.
- Remember the importance of consistency. Establish routines in as many activities as possible.
- Give encouragement frequently.
- If necessary, do not forget to identify yourself each time you begin an interaction.
- Use specific and familiar words.
- Speak slowly with low volume. For patients who are hard of hearing, speak face-to-face with a higher volume.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Preview upcoming happenings/events.
- If you repeat something, repeat it exactly as you said it the first time.
- Communicate about what is familiar to the patient, e.g. family pictures, hobbies.
Is there anything you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments.