Category: nursing

Fearing the deadly combo of COVID-19 and cancer

Three Tuesdays each month, Katherine O’Brien straps on her face mask and journeys about half an hour by Metra rail to Northwestern University’s Lurie Cancer Center.

What were once packed train cars rolling into Chicago are now eerily empty, as those usually commuting to towering skyscrapers weather the pandemic from home. But for O’Brien, the excursion is mandatory. She’s one of millions of Americans battling cancer and depends on chemotherapy to treat the breast cancer that has spread to her bones and liver.

“I was nervous at first about having to go downtown for my treatment,” said O’Brien, who lives in a suburb, La Grange, and worries about contracting the coronavirus. “Family and friends have offered to drive me, but I want to minimize everyone’s exposure.”

Full article at News Medical

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

Pandemic forced insurers to pay for in-home treatments. Will they disappear?

After seven days as an inpatient for complications related to heart problems, Glenn Shanoski was initially hesitant when doctors suggested in early April that he could cut his hospital stay short and recover at home — with high-tech 24-hour monitoring and daily visits from medical teams.

But Shanoski, a 52-year-old electrician in Salem, Massachusetts, decided to give it a try. He’d felt increasingly lonely in a hospital where the COVID pandemic meant no visitors. Also, Boston’s Tufts Medical Center wanted to free up beds for a possible surge of the coronavirus.

With a push from COVID-19, such “hospital-at-home” programs and other remote technologies — from online visits with doctors to virtual physical therapy to home oxygen monitoring — have been rapidly rolled out and, often, embraced.

Full article at News Medical

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

APTA, 52 Other Organizations to Congress: Stop Proposed Medicare Cuts to Avoid Post-COVID Disaster

It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a profound effect on the nation’s health care system for years to come — a fact that only strengthens the argument that CMS’ proposed 2021 cuts to Medicare payment are monumentally ill-advised. That’s why we’ve joined with 52 other health care organizations and signed on to a letter to congressional leaders urging them to do something before it’s too late.

The letter, just a part of our extensive advocacy efforts to stop the proposed cuts, is directed at U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and urges Congress to “help fortify the health care delivery system and ensure long-term recovery” by suspending budget-neutrality requirements in the Social Security Act. Creating this kind of waiver would allow CMS to pursue its goal of increasing payment for evaluation and management codes, known as E/M codes, without being required to offset the cost through cuts to other areas.

Full article at APTA

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

Telemedicine helps patients with chronic pain receive support during lockdown

The covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated conditions for people living with chronic pain around the world and its long-term consequences are likely to be substantial, according to a new paper from researchers at the University of Bath’s Centre for Pain Research.

Their Topical Review, published recently in the journal PAIN, suggests that with many doctors specializing in pain being redeployed to focus on the immediate crisis, access to traditional services for patients suffering from acute conditions, such as nerve damage or arthritis, has been severely disrupted. Whilst this creates an immediate capacity challenge for healthcare professionals, it has also provided them an opportunity to move towards the greater use of ‘telemedicine’ with online consultation, say the researchers.

Chronic or persistent pain is characterized as pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment. Whereas most people get back to normal following an injury or operation, sometimes pain carries on for longer, or comes on without any history of an injury or operation. Common examples include lower back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and persistent and frequent headaches. Globally the burden of chronic pain is as high as 1 in 4 of adults. Data from young people are similar.

Full article at News Medical

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

Majority of hospitalized patients with advanced cancer have functional impairment

New research from Mass General Cancer Center, published in the June 2020 issue of JNCCN–Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, found 40.2% of hospitalized patients with advanced, incurable cancer were functionally impaired at the time of admission, meaning they needed assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like walking, bathing, getting dressed, or other routine tasks. Patients with functional impairment also had higher rates of pain, depression, and anxiety, and were more likely to have longer hospital stays and worse survival.

“We are also actively exploring interventions to help patients transition from the inpatient to the outpatient setting, which we have identified as a key challenge for patients with functional impairment,” added senior researcher Ryan D. Nipp, MD, MPH, Mass General Cancer Center.

“Future work is needed to develop novel models of care to enhance access to palliative care services and address barriers that limit appropriate access to palliative care among patients with advanced cancer.”

Full article at News Medical

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

APTA Advisory: Small Business Paycheck Protection Program to Become More Flexible

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is likely to become more flexible for small business owners, thanks to a set of changes that will expand how PPP funds can be used and will extend deadlines for repayment, among other provisions.

The changes, included in a bill dubbed The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, were approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in late May, and passed the Senate on June 4. The bill is now on its way to the president”s deskfor his expected signature. The changes are anticipated to be put into effect relatively quickly after that.

Here’s a rundown of what’s changing:

The loan repayment period will expand from two to five years. PT private practices and small businesses that received the PPP loans and are not eligible for loan forgiveness will have their deadlines for repayment to extended to five years after receiving the loan.

Full article at APTA

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

2020 Presidential Address

Madam Speaker, delegates, and APTA members, I am grateful for this opportunity to address you tonight in these unprecedented times. The presidential address and the House of Delegates are longstanding rituals in our association’s history, but never have we conducted them like this.

I am delivering this address from our media center at LSU Health-Shreveport to the sound of silence. You are receiving this address wherever you are — spread across the country and time zones, staring into your computer in a quiet workspace, or just as likely from the kitchen table of a hectic home, surrounded by family members doing the same thing we’re all doing right now: adapting to our unusual new normal.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in America was reported on January 21. Less than two months later, there were confirmed cases in all 50 states, President Trump declared a national emergency, large public gatherings were canceled, schools were closed, and Americans were instructed to stay at home in most instances.

Full article at APTA

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

Message From President Dunn on Racism and Systemic Inequality in America

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the House is being conducted virtually this year, so a few weeks ago I recorded my address from the media center at LSU Health-Shreveport. As you’ll see when we post the address widely tomorrow night, my address touches on the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus, about its effect on our profession, and about our need to act.

What it doesn’t touch on, given when I recorded it, is what’s top of mind for so many of us right now — the death of George Floyd and the unrest that has followed as Americans have responded to what’s only the latest act of unnecessary violence and intimidation against a person of color in this country.

George Floyd’s death was horrific and entirely preventable. Because it was captured on video it has forced us, yet again, to confront the deeply seated racism in this country that many of us — mainly those like me with the privilege of whiteness — have spent too long complacently believing was largely a relic of our past. Yesterday as Americans celebrated the launch of humans into space while protests filled our streets, I couldn’t help but wonder what decade we’re in. For all the progress we’ve made as a society, we have an inexcusably long way to go, and we must make progress faster.

Full message at APTA

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

Soft robotic exosuit improves biomechanical gait functions in stroke patients

Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the US with approximately 17 million individuals experiencing it each year. About 8 out of 10 stroke survivors suffer from “hemiparesis”, a paralysis that typically impacts the limbs and facial muscles on one side of their bodies, and often causes severe difficulties walking, a loss of balance with an increased risk of falling, as well as muscle fatigue that quickly sets in during exertions. Oftentimes, these impairments also make it impossible for them to perform basic everyday activities.

To allow stroke patients to recover, many rehabilitation centers have looked to robotic exoskeletons. But although there are now a range of exciting devices that are enabling people to walk again who initially were utterly unable to do so, there remains significant active research trying to understand how to best apply wearable robotics for rehabilitation after stroke. Despite the promise, recent clinical practice guidelines now even recommend against the use of robotic therapies when the goal is to improve walking speed or distance.

Full article at News Medical

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

CMS Coding Reversal Will Apply to Claims Made Beginning January 1, 2020

Details are still emerging around exactly how CMS intends to walk back a decision to change coding methodologies that prevented PTs from billing an evaluation performed on the same day as therapeutic activities and/or group therapy activities. But we know a little more now: namely, that the decision is retroactive to January 1 of this year, the date when the short-lived system was set in place.

APTA pressed CMS for the logistics of how its do-over would be worked out as soon as its decision was announced on January 24. On January 28, CMS informed the association that while the agency is still working on its messaging to the Medicare administrative contractors, or MACs, the reversal will be extended to claims made from January 1, 2020, on.

Full article at APTA