Bad Weather? Unexpected Meeting? No Car?…No Problem for Your Rehab!

If we learned two things from the pandemic, it’s the importance of accommodation and flexibility. We all have busy and complex schedules which can make in-person healthcare appointments difficult – especially if they are only offered during work hours. During the pandemic, many practitioners adapted creative ways to still see patients out of necessity. It is these alternative appointment options, such as telehealth visits and extended hours, that keep many of us healthier today – even in a post-pandemic world!

According to the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Journal, telehealth, especially for physical therapy, has worked wonders for patients. Gone are the days when you would have to cancel an appointment due to weather challenges, not having a ride to your appointment, or other obstacles preventing you from receiving care. Telehealth appointments have allowed patients to have quicker access to care and have allowed practitioners to treat patients within a larger radius of the office.

Research shows that, on average, patients travel about 34 minutes for a healthcare appointment and, as a result, spend 90 fewer minutes working on appointment days. This can be a burden to some, especially if a practitioner recommends multiple appointments. The addition of telehealth and extended hours not only eliminates these obstacles but can improve a patient’s health outcomes without negatively affecting the quality of care received.

RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation and Wellness Center offers extended hours Monday through Thursday (open from 8:20 am to 7:00 pm) as well as telehealth and hybrid (both in-person and telehealth) options to help you get well regardless of scheduling obstacles. To schedule an appointment or inquire about therapy services, please call: 203.438.7862 or email: rehabcenter@rvnahealth.org.

Direct Access: What it is and why you want to know about it

Much as a dented car does not get fixed by parking it on the side of the road, nor does a body hindered by injury or pain get healed without attention. Injuries and pain require evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.  Lucky for us, the State of Connecticut offers a healthcare benefit that simplifies the process of getting treated. It’s called Direct Access and it’s a benefit worth knowing about.

Direct Access is a statewide program that eliminates the need for a primary care physician referral prior to seeing a Rehabilitation Therapist. The streamlined process — which allows up to six visits with an RVNAhealth physical therapist at the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center without a physician referral — is both cost-effective and allows individuals to enjoy swifter diagnosis and relief. In other words, it helps you get better faster.

This little-known benefit began in Connecticut in 2006 to provide patients more immediate diagnosis and relief.  “Direct Access is an expedited way to get to the root cause and treat, rather than just self-diagnose — or ignore — both of which can prolong the issue but are tempting when the process of getting to a therapist is belabored,” says Gigi Weiss, MSPT, RVNAhealth Director of Rehabilitation Therapies. “Ultimately, Direct Access allows you to get in quickly to increase stability, relieve discomfort, and prevent worsening,”

Weiss encourages those with intermittent pain, mild injury, mobility limitations, or other chronic conditions to leverage the Direct Access program not just for minimization of discomfort but for proper diagnosis and treatment. “Often patients self-treat without success because symptoms are not always representative of the core issue,” says Weiss. “For example, neck issues can present as wrist pain so tending to the wrist won’t address the root cause and won’t provide much relief, especially long term. In many cases, the six visits granted through Direct Access get an individual well on their way to healing.”

Direct access can also benefit individuals with lingering difficulties from a health episode, like swallowing, fine motor skills, or communication. In these cases, Direct Access provides a fast track to restorative visits with an appropriate clinician.

At RVNAhealth, the rehabilitation team also collaborates with insurance providers and primary care physicians to coordinate coverage and treatment so patients can focus on wellness. For more information or to schedule a Direct Access assessment, visit RVNAhealth.org/Rehab or call  (203) 438-7862.

.

Let’s Talk Bone Mineral Density

Osteoporosis is a common condition characterized by decreased bone mineral density which can lead to an increased likelihood of fractures from low trauma forces resulting in hospitalizations and decreased quality of life.  According to a 2010 CDC study, more than 10 million adults over the age of 50 had osteoporosis, with women having a higher likelihood (~30% of population, vs. men at ~16%). And with the consideration that osteoporosis increases with age, the lifetime risk of resulting fracture is 50% for women and 20% for men.[1]

Researchers recently took a closer look at the effectiveness of the current clinical practice guidelines and created a new and improved model for treatment. The new research shows that weight bearing exercises (such as walking, yoga, and tai chi) in combination with resistance training of varying loads were most effective in increasing bone mineral density in susceptible fracture locations such as the hips and base of the spine.

These guidelines are not universal. Fitness plans and treatments should be customized by a trained professional for each individual.

RVNAhealth is pleased to offer several upcoming and ongoing programs, aligned to osteoporosis prevention and treatment:

  • Ongoing class: Balance & Beyond – Every Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00-1:00pm at RVNAhealth. An ongoing drop-in class (come for one or come for all!) that focuses on building muscle, restoring balance and improving your walk or jog, all while giving your brain a great workout! Learn more and register here.
  • Ongoing class: Strength & Beyond – Every Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00-2:00pm at RVNAhealth. This class is a level up from the Balance & Beyond class and will have you moving through a series of upper and lower body strengthening, functional mobility, balance and cognitive stations all customized to meet your fitness level and goals. Learn more and register here.
  • Past class: Beating Osteoporosis with Targeted Nutrition and Exercise – January 25th from 12:00-1:30pm. Join us at the Ridgefield Library to hear RVNAhealth experts discuss (and demonstrate!) key exercises to optimize bone health and how nutrition can help to prevent and improve Osteoporosis. Come prepared to move! Watch presentation HERE.
  • Past class: Interactive Cooking Class – Three Bone-Building Recipes – January 27th from 4:30-5:45pm at RVNAhealth. Separate myth versus fact on all things osteoporosis and discuss mechanisms to promote bone health while cooking alongside RVNAhealth’s registered dietitian. Check back to our nutrition calendar for future offerings.

If you have questions regarding any of the above programs or would like to schedule an appointment with our therapists to create a program specialized to fit your needs, please contact us at 203.438.7862 or rehabcenter@RVNAhealth.org. We hope to see you soon!

[1] https://journals.lww.com/jgpt/Fulltext/2022/04000/Physical_Therapist_Management_of_Patients_With.9.aspx

Parkinson’s Disease and Exercise – An Important Pairing

Approximately 1 million people in the U.S. are currently living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), with 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Chances are you know someone with this degenerative condition. RVNAhealth Physical Therapist, and Outpatient Practice Manager, Kate Campbell, PT, DPT, SCS, Cert. MDT, CSCS, LSVT BIG is on a mission to spread the word about Parkinson’s treatment and early intervention techniques. “Many PD-diagnosed patients are not aware that exercise and physical activity can have tremendous positive impact on the symptoms and progress of Parkinson’s Disease,” says Campbell.

The Parkinson’s Foundation, along with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), recently published an updated recommendation for exercise and physical activity for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s. This recommendation includes exercise frequency, intensity, time, type, volume, and progression of exercises that are safe and effective. Its suggested activities span across aerobic activity, strength training, stretching, and balance, agility, and multitasking. It also recommends starting any physical activity program with a visit to a physical therapist specializing in Parkinson’s!

“RVNAhealth has invested in research-backed certifications and rehabilitation therapy and exercise programs for those affected by PD,” says Campbell. “We want people diagnosed with Parkinson’s to understand there are proactive steps they can take, within their control, to help slow the progression of the disease. An RVNAhealth Parkinson’s-specialized therapist can help customize and layout those recommended steps.”

RVNAhealth therapists are certified in LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD – research-based, gold standard programs used in the evaluation and treatment of people with Parkinson’s. In addition to offering home-health treatment programs, we also offer treatment and exercise programs at our Ridgefield-based Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. “In alignment with the Parkinson’s Foundation and ACSM exercise recommendations, RVNAhealth offers many types of programs that can benefit anyone affected by PD.  Our weekly classes are open to anyone in the public that would like to register and drop in for a class. While we encourage anyone with PD to engage in healthy, stage-appropriate exercise routines, we really want to spread the word to encourage individuals to start a routine early and often following a PD diagnosis,” says Campbell.

More information about RVNAhealth’s Parkinson’s programs, please visit our website or contact us at 203.438.7862 or rehab@rvnahealth.org.

Learn More About Our Current Ongoing Class Offerings Open To The Public:

Balance and Beyond   – Every Tuesday & Thursday, 12 – 1pm. An ongoing drop-in class (come for one or come for all!) that focuses on building muscle, restoring balance, and improving your walk or jog, all while giving your brain a great workout! Location: RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Register here to attend. Nominal fee for each class.

Strength & BeyondEvery Tuesday & Thursday, 1 – 2pm. An ongoing drop-in class (come for one or come for all!) that focuses on building muscle and bones, improving cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and beyond!  Location: RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Register here to attend. Nominal fee for each class.

Living BIG – Ongoing weekly drop-in class. Living BIG addresses the problem of patients’ movements becoming smaller and more tentative as Parkinson’s Disease progresses. Each class, the therapist takes the patient through a series of whole-body LSVT BIG exercises aimed at improving strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination. Exercises are all exaggerated to reinforce that the patient needs to make his or her movements bigger. Location: RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Email RehabCenter@rvnahealth.org to sign up. Nominal fee for each class.

Living LOUD – Ongoing weekly drop-in class. Living LOUD tackles the soft voice, mumbled speech, monotone speech and hoarse voice that often afflict Parkinson’s patients. Structured activities that work the patient’s vocal range teach them to increase volume without straining their voices.  In each session, the therapist takes the class through a series of rigorous vocal exercises that alternate between loud and soft. Location: RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Email RehabCenter@rvnahealth.org to sign up.  Nominal fee for each class.

 

Living BIG Classes

Living BIG addresses the problem of patients’ movements becoming smaller and more tentative as Parkinson’s Disease progresses. Weekly activities will include group work as well as individual exercises with other participants facilitated by an LSVT BIG therapist. Classes take the patient through a series of whole-body LSVT BIG exercises aimed at improving strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Exercises are all exaggerated to reinforce that the patient needs to make his or her movements bigger.

To learn more about the Living BIG program, please call (203) 438-7862   or email rehabcenter@rvnahealth.org.

Strength and Beyond – A New Class!

As an enhancement to RVNAhealth’s Balance & Beyond classes, we are pleased to present our new class, “Strength and Beyond”!

This class, a level up from our original Balance and Beyond class,  is designed to build strength, restore balance, improve your mobility all while giving your brain a great workout!

This higher intensity interval training class will have you moving through a series of upper and lower body strengthening, functional mobility, balance and cognitive stations all customized to meet your fitness level and goals.

This program is geared towards everyone with a focus of those finding it difficult to start an exercise program or those who need help progressing their current exercise program.  Exercises are also specific for osteoporosis treatment and prevention. What a great way to exercise in a group and meet new people. Bring your friends and exercise together!

Andrea de Lange is experienced Physical Therapist and certified LSVT BIG practitioner with a long history of working with the outpatient orthopedic and neurological population. She possesses a strong background in the treatment of spine, extremity injuries and pain, as well as neurological impairment, with a focus on people with Parkinson’s disease.

RVNAhealth’s Strength & Beyond classes start November 1st , and are offered every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00pm-2:00pm at the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center located at 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Class fees are $30 per class and registration is required in advance, as attendance is limited.  Register HERE. For questions, please contact the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center at 203.438.7862 or rehab@rvnahealth.org.

RVNAhealth Introduces a New Wellness Class, “Balance & Beyond”

RVNAhealth is excited to announce the introduction of its new public fitness class, “Balance & Beyond.” An ongoing twice-weekly drop-in class (come for one or come for all!) that focuses on building muscle, restoring balance, and improving your walk or jog, all while giving your brain a great workout!

Balance can be a life essential to preventing falls and keeping daily activities of life within our control. The old adage of “use it or lose it’ doesn’t ring truer when it comes to strength. This is why Andrea deLange, RVNAhealth Physical Therapist, is so passionate about bringing balance and strength classes to the public.

“This program is beneficial for so many people — whether you are looking to improve your strength or balance for quality of life, or you are looking for a customized fitness program to assist with medical conditions such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, or autoimmune disorders,” says deLange. “This circuit training class will have you moving through a series of stations including boxing, agility training, and functional mobility conditioning – all customized to meet your fitness levels and goals. And there is plenty of time for questions and personalized instruction and feedback!”

Andrea deLange is an experienced Physical Therapist and certified LSVT BIG practitioner with a long history of working with the outpatient orthopedic and neurological population. She possesses a strong background in the treatment of spine, extremity injuries and pain, as well as neurological impairment, with a focus on people with Parkinson’s disease.

RVNAhealth’s Balance & Beyond classes are offered every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30pm-2:30pm at the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center located at 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Class fees are $20 per class and registration is required in advance, as attendance is limited. To register or for questions, please contact the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center at 203.438.7862, or email RehabCenter@rvnahealth.org.

If I Could Pick an Exercise to Do Every Day…

What one exercise would you pick to do every day for the rest of your life? RVNAhealth’s Outpatient Practice Manager and Physical Therapist, Kate Campbell, DPT, shares her own answer!

Kate Campbell, DPT, RVNAhealth Outpatient Practice Manager and Physical Therapist

I’ve been working in sports and orthopedics for over 15 years and added geriatrics to the mix since 2015. I’ve seen athletes in the prime of their physical condition. I’ve seen active dads and moms in shape from running after toddlers and lifting kids. And I’ve seen the workaholic train commuters lucky enough to not have chronic physical conditions…yet. But, with the normal progression of life and retirement from work, most will see their physical activity decrease.

Our bodies no longer need to maintain the ability to chase toddlers, lift multiple grocery bags up the stairs at once, or run to make that train. This means our bodies are not utilizing their full capabilities. My geriatric patients are shocked that their bodies can no longer do what they expect. “If you don’t use it, you lose it” couldn’t hold more truth!

I went on a personal mission to figure out what exercise I could tell anyone to do every day to maintain physical performance — enough for safety and success in “super senior” years (age 80+). I asked myself, “Does this exercise help maintain strength in the legs, arms, and core, maximize balance, flexibility, and joint motion?”

Then, I found a simple answer! Get on the floor and get back up again. It was found in the Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine in 2015 that those who cannot do it in 8.8 seconds have poorer balance and are more likely to fall.

To start, put both knees on the ground one at a time and lower yourself to your belly. Then, roll yourself over to lay flat on your back. This is also a great opportunity to stretch out your spine! Then to come back up, roll to your belly and press up to all fours and gently lift yourself. If needed, use a chair for stability.

Doing this simple exercise daily strengthens basic core muscles and those needed to recover from a potential fall. For other balance-building exercise demonstrations, visit: https://rvnahealth.org/balance/.

For more information about RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation and Wellness services, call: 203.438.7862 or visit our website.

In the Words of our Patients and Loved Ones

Did you know RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation & Wellness Center in Ridgefield offers monthly memberships to use the facility for ongoing personal strength and fitness conditioning, following rehabilitation services with us? Ideal for past patients looking for accountability from supportive staff or those who like the idea of exercising in a facility surrounded by rehabilitation and conditioning experts – the Ridgefield facility offers a great way to stay in shape!

Mrs. Morrisroe works on her balance exercises.

But don’t take our word for it. Meet Mrs. Mary Morrisroe — one of our most loyal wellness program members at RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. Though she is not there for rehabilitation therapy – not anymore! Mrs. Morrisroe comes to our center regularly as a wellness program client so she can work on continued strength and fitness.

After experiencing a leg fracture, Mrs. Morrisroe received RVNAhealth home nursing services to help her recover, followed by outpatient therapy at our Ridgefield center. “After my recovery program at home with RVNAhealth visiting nurses, I continued with their outpatient rehabilitation. Then at the end of that, I went right into their wellness program, and I am still there! I have a schedule so I know when I can go in and I do the fitness program that they designed just for me. It has helped me to physically keep going and do everything. And I like knowing that there are professionals there that can make sure I’m doing exercises correctly if I need help. I would not go without the wellness program. It really has made such a difference and I recommend it to all my friends!”

Thank you, Mrs. Morrisroe, for your kind words and we are proud of your dedication to your health and wellness!  For information on RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation & Wellness Center and programs, please contact us 203.438.7862 or visit rvnahealth.org/rehab.

 

In the Words of our Patients and Loved Ones…

When over 95% of people using our Rehabilitation & Wellness Center say they would highly recommend outpatient therapy at our Ridgefield office locations, we nod and smile in acknowledgement of the tremendous efforts put forth by our rehabilitation team.

In recognition of our therapists and office staff, we proudly share a few words provided by recent patients about their experiences with us.

  • “Everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable, which made me feel very comfortable in understanding the treatment for my injury.” – Alex L., Ridgefield
  • “Elaine is excellent and communicates clearly what needs to be done between visits.” – Anonymous
  • “Professional – from workup to discharge. Constant checking on progress with exercises, adding new ones. Encouraging, friendly. Jeff was great! Staff friendly. A great experience.” – Myrna S., South Salem
  • “Therapists were very easy to work with and willing to try new approaches.” – Anonymous
  • “Kristine and Jeff were great. Enjoyed working with them. Peggy at the front desk was very sweet. They were all great. I looked forward to coming. They worked their schedule around me. Friendly and very helpful.” – Victoria L., Ridgefield
  • “Sarah did a great job. Cannot Improve!” – Anonymous
  • “Ever want to peel back the onion on how you run? I HIGHLY recommend the Running Evaluation at RVNAhealth…Kate is AMAZING. – Anonymous
  • “RVNAhealth has been a top notch therapy program to me. Susan, Sarah and Kristine have been great in my recovery. Always enthusiastic and positive. Provided great exercises to do at home and follow up at appointments.” – Lisa L., New Fairfield

Thank you to all of our patients for sharing your feedback! RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation & Wellness Center specialties include physical, occupational, speech, and vestibular therapies, orthopedic programs for joint replacement recovery, balance and falls prevention, LSVT BIG & LOUD, and sports injury rehabilitation.  Additionally, the Center also offers running assessments, custom orthotics, and other personalized fitness services. For more information, contact us at 203.438.7862 or click here to learn more about us.