Traumatic brain injury patient lives to tell the tale

John Kaczmarczyk’s wife, Noelle, and their son, Dylan, were at home when they heard a thud. They went to investigate the sound and found the alarming cause. John, 58, was unconscious on the floor at the bottom of a flight of stairs with shattered glass around him.

Rapid response

Noelle and Dylan quickly assessed the situation. They suspected John fell backwards while walking up the stairs to take out the recycling. He was breathing and they didn’t see blood at first. Noelle stayed with John and Dylan went to call 911.

Everything that happened next felt like rapid fire to Noelle. Emergency medical services quickly arrived at their home and transported John to the Norwalk Hospital Bauer Emergency Care Center, where the trauma team examined him immediately.

Full story at News-Medical.net

APTA: New SNF Payment System Should Drive Quality Patient Care, Not Staff Layoffs

Fewer than 48 hours after the launch of a new Medicare payment system for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), APTA began receiving word from physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) that a number of providers were announcing layoffs or shifts to PRN roles with reduced hours and fewer or no benefits. Many were told by their employers that the new system, known as the Patient-Driven Payment Model, or PDPM, was the reason for reduced staffing levels and less therapy.

There’s one problem with that explanation: it isn’t true.

That’s the message APTA is delivering to SNFs, association members, and the media as it works to debunk myths surrounding a system that was designed to support clinician decision-making and push SNFs toward a more patient-focused payment model.

Full story at APTA

Interprofessional education aims to foster learning, collaboration among healthcare students

A virtual world may be a feasible learning platform for bringing together students from different healthcare professions and enhancing their understanding of collaborative patient care and knowledge of other health professions, according to a pilot study led by researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine and published online in the Journal of Interprofessional Care.

Interprofessional education (IPE) aims to foster learning and collaboration among healthcare students from different professions, with a goal of enhancing patient care. Scheduling face-to-face learning between students in different programs, however, is one of the largest barriers to implementing this type of learning. The study evaluated a virtual educational environment for its ability to provide IPE in palliative care, which is interdisciplinary by nature.

Full story at News Medical

6 ways to safely exercise in extremely hot weather

When temperatures spike in the summer, it’s important to make sure you temper your workouts to stay safe, says Sandeep Mannava, a sports medicine specialist at University of Rochester Medicine.

Here, Mannava offers tips to avoid overexertion on exceptionally hot days, which can lead to illness or potentially life-threatening issues.

1. Know your limits

Be aware of your fitness limitations and respect them. If you’re not in good physical condition and not conditioned for activity in hot weather, you’re more vulnerable than a well-conditioned athlete who regularly trains in the heat. Keep your activity low-key and brief, take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of water.

Full story at futurity.org

Is Physical Therapy a Realistic Alternative to Opioids for Treating Chronic Pain?

Taking a pill to ease chronic pain is easy, at least at first. But it comes with side effects – the most well-known of which is probably addiction. One alternative to opioids for chronic pain is physical therapy.

“Side effects of physical therapy are less pain, improved movement, improved function,” said Carrie Abraham, president of the West Virginia Physical Therapy Association. “So they’re all positive side effects versus with the opioids we have those negative side effects of dependency and addiction.” Abraham is one of almost 1,500 active physical therapists in West Virginia. She said although there isn’t exactly a lack of physical therapists in West Virginia, transportation can still be an issue. West Virginia is highly rural after all. But the bigger issue is insurance coverage.

“Now we have insurance companies that are limiting access to physical therapy care,” she said. “They’re limiting the number of visits directly in some cases, but then they also are limiting access by the amount of copay and coinsurance that patients are required to pay. So depending on their financial status they might not be able to afford to attend physical therapy visits multiple days a week.”

Full story of PT as an alternative to opioids at WV Public

FDA Clears First Device Specifically Designed to Assess Function After Concussion

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its first-ever clearance for marketing of devices designed to help clinicians assess cognitive function immediately after a suspected brain injury or concussion.

Called Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and ImPACT Pediatric, the tool was approved under a new FDA category titled “Computerized Cognitive Assessment Aid for Concussion.” The test battery is already used by more than 7,400 high schools, 1,000 colleges and universities, and 900 clinical centers as a way to test cognitive skills such as word memory, reaction time, and word recognition. ImPACT is designed for use on individuals aged 12 to 59, and operates on a desktop or laptop computer; ImPACT Pediatric is intended for children aged 5 to 11, and is run on an iPad.

Full story of ImPACT device at APTA

Quick Quiz: When Medicare Says You’ve Been Overpaid

There you are, hard at work. Your patients are making progress, you’re feeling good, things seem to be going along just fine, and then—boom—you get a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) saying they think they’ve overpaid you on a claim. It’s enough to ruin anyone’s day.

Think you know your way around the overpayment process? Take this quick quiz, and then check out this CMS fact sheet for more details on the options available to you if CMS says you’ve been overpaid on a claim. (Quick tip: When it comes to the overpayment process, deadlines matter and are taken seriously. The CMS fact sheet also lays out timelines clearly—you may want to keep a copy handy.)

Ready? Here we go.

To take the full quiz, visit APTA

Light-Intensity Short Walks Can Prevent LE Vascular Damage Caused by Sitting

Long bouts of sitting can have serious effects on blood flow that could increase risk of cardiovascular disease, but a new study proposes that lower extremity vascular damage can be prevented by walking as few as 5 minutes every hour—and not even at a particularly fast pace.

In a study e-published ahead of print in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers from Indiana University monitored the ways in which the superficial femoral artery reacted to 3 hours of sitting without leg movement, and compared those results with study participants who took 5-minute walks at 2 miles per hour every hour. What they found was that prolonged sitting does lead to a “significant impairment” in endothelial function, but that the short walks prevented the damage from taking place altogether.

Full story of vascular damage and sitting at APTA

FDA: Beware of Dietary Supplements That Claim to Speed Concussion Recovery

Think those claims that dietary supplements can help speed concussion recovery sound too good to be true? You’re right. And the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees.

This week, the FDA released a consumer update on companies that market dietary supplements that purport to heal—and in some cases prevent—concussions. The advertising has received more attention with the start of fall school sports, and the agency is stepping up its enforcement actions to warn companies when their claims are false.

Full story of dietary supplements for concussion recovery at APTA

PT’s Movie Review on ESPN Also Educates on Consecutive TBI

An APTA member’s review of a new documentary on traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been featured on ESPN. Stephania Bell, PT, CSCS, OCS, senior writer for ESPN, gave a strong, positive review for the new documentary “The Crash Reel,” but perhaps just as important, seized the opportunity to provide readers with valuable education on consecutive TBI and its impact on developing brains.

“The Crash Reel” follows the rise, devastating injury, and recovery of elite snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who at age 22 suffered a head injury during training for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Pearce’s recovery continues, and he is now a motivational speaker and sports equipment consultant. Earlier this month he carried the torch at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Full story on the movie review and TBI at APTA