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  • From PT in Motion: The Role of PTs and PTAs in Healthy Aging

    Unlike R-rated movie admission, voting, and senior discounts at restaurants, the aging process isn't something that happens after you reach a magic-number birthday. It begins the moment you do.

    Or as Mindy Renfro, PT, PhD, puts it: "Children, 20 year olds, 50 year olds—everyone's aging. There's no way around it." The key, of course, is for individuals to move through the aging process in good health, which includes staying as active and mobile as possible to meet the physical challenges that can arise in later years. And according to a recent article in PT in Motion magazine, that's where physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can play a crucial role.

    "Preparing for Old(er) Age" in the February issue of PT in Motion explores the reasons PTs and PTAs are the ideal health care providers to help the public understand how the aging process works, and the steps to stay healthy throughout life.

    According to the PTs interviewed for the story—including 2016 McMillan lecturer Carole Lewis, PT, DPT, PhD—1 of the biggest impediments to healthy aging is society's attitude about what it means to age. "We have a lot of misconceptions and prejudices about the potential of people who are older," Lewis says in the article.

    Mike Studer, PT, MHS, echoes Lewis's sentiment.

    "A lot of myths need to be debunked about what normal aging really is," Studer is quoted as saying. "And we as physical therapists—the 'movement experts'—should be out there leading the way."

    "Preparing for Old(er) Age" is featured in the February issue of PT in Motion magazine and is now available to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in Local News, February 2017

    "The Good Stuff" is an occasional series that highlights recent, mostly local media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. Enjoy!

    Cristin Beazley, PT, describes the need for baseline concussion testing among youth athletes, and shares an innovative program to do just that in partnership between Sheltering Arms Hospital and FC Richmond, Virginia. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    Sheila Klausner, PT, MS, offers tips on how to become a runner. (Apopka, Florida Voice)

    Viral video: Hunter Christ, PT, uses zydeco dancing to get his patient moving. (KATC3, Denham Springs, Louisiana)

    William Carey University (MS) PT students help with cleanup after a devastating tornado. (WDAM7, Moselle, Mississippi)

    Robyn Wilhelm PT, DPT, discusses the role physical therapy can play in treating pelvic floor dysfunction. (Shape magazine)

    PT students at Central Michigan University joined with med students to explore ways to work together to improve treatment services. (Mt. Pleasant, Michigan Morning Sun)

    PTJ Editor in Chief Alan Jette, PT, PhD, FAPTA, discusses the future of the journal. (Oxford University Press blog)

    Sarah Morrison, PT, MBA, MHA, takes over as CEO of The Shepherd Center. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

    California State University-Long Beach PT students donate adaptive tricycles. (Long Beach, California Post)

    Marilyn Moffat, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA, explains the ways exercise can help individuals with Parkinson disease. (New York Times)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    2017 NEXT Registration Opens

    Groundhog-based prognostication aside, spring is in fact right around the corner and June isn't far behind, which means APTA's NEXT Conference and Exposition is getting ready to arrive on the scene in Boston, Massachusetts.

    APTA has opened up registration for NEXT, set for June 21-24. Again this year, NEXT is shaping up to be a can't-miss event, where the profession's thought leaders and experts come together to offer programming with an emphasis on interactivity and direct engagement.

    Programming highlights for 2017 include sessions on clinical reasoning, creative mobility technology, generational perspectives, and mindfulness in pain treatment. In addition to all the new topics, attendees can still expect annual favorites such as the McMillan and Maley lectures, and the almost-too-much-fun-for-a-conference Oxford Debate, returning to celebrate its 10-year anniversary.

    It all adds up to an event that will ignite your passion for the profession. Register today and experience NEXT 2017 for yourself.

    Think we're just making this stuff up? We're not. Check out news and video from the 2016 NEXT  for a taste of what you missed.

    Ready to Step Up to APTA Committee Service? Now’s Your Chance

    Ready to take a lead in shaping the future of APTA? The call for volunteers to serve on APTA committees is open now through March 1. Members interested in serving on the Ethics and Judicial, Finance and Audit, Leadership Development, and Public Policy and Advocacy committees, an Awards subcommittee, or the Reference Committee are encouraged to let APTA know of their willingness to participate.

    APTA relies heavily on its volunteers. We need the skills, passion, and varied perspectives to build an energetic, inclusive, and innovative corps of volunteer leaders.

    Apply through the Volunteer Interest Pool by updating your profile, then click "Apply for Current Vacancies" to answer questions specific to the committee. Your profile and thoughtful responses to the application question will be read carefully and will help us select the most appropriate, diverse, and inclusive teams possible. For more information, contact Appointed Group Pool.

    From PT in Motion: Could Better Financial Literacy Help Future PTs Handle Student Debt?

    The February issue of PT in Motion magazine takes a look at the financial realities faced all too often by graduates of DPT programs—who, on average, have incurred about $83,000 in loan debt—and suggests how to change those realities for future generations. According to some of the individuals interviewed, what’s needed are educational programs as early as high school to teach students basic financial literacy.

    Those interviewed include PT educators, financial aid officers, and PTs in the field. All agree that too many PTs carry a debt load that not only consumes a large chunk of their starting salary, but that actually can affect their career path. Experts such as Mary Ann Wharton, PT, curriculum coordinator at St Francis University in Pennsylvania, believe that graduates saddled with so much debt may make career choices "based on saving money," rather than primarily on taking advantage of opportunities to expand their clinical expertise.

    Part of the solution, most agree, involves helping students better understand finances early on, so that they avoid taking on so much debt to begin with. But finding the space for that education—be it at the high school, undergraduate, or DPT level—can be a challenge. The piece examines some of the ways PT schools are responding to this educational challenge.

    Also included: a quick-read sidebar on efforts by APTA to help current students more thoughtfully consider debt, and to help PTs better manage their student debt load.

    "Financial Literacy and the New DPT Grad" is featured in the February issue of  PT in Motion magazine and is available to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.

    Also newly opened for public access: the latest "Compliance Matters" column on the new current procedural terminology (CPT) codes. Check it out!

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in Local News, January 2017

    "The Good Stuff," is an occasional series that highlights recent, mostly local media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. Enjoy!

    Andrew Rasmussen, PTA, became a hero when he helped to push a car off the railroad tracks seconds before a train arrived—and a news crew was there to capture it all on video. (KATU 2 News, Portland, Oregon)

    "Another commonality, which [my PTs] share with the majority of physical therapists, is an attitudinal profile: capable, optimistic, patient, thick skinned, intelligent, empathetic. The best in the PT trade have committed their life’s work to protect and restore health."– columnist Bruce Dorries on his return to running, thanks to physical therapy (Staunton, Virginia, News Leader)

    Emillee Van Hoven, PT, explains the importance of pelvic floor muscles, and how physical therapy can make a difference. (WZZM 13, Grand Rapids, Michigan)

    Ginger Garner, PT, DPT, spoke to members of the British Parliament on the need for increased acceptance of medical therapeutic yoga. (Swansboro, North Carolina Tideland News)

    "Once I got discharged from the hospital, I went into intense physical therapy. And I still stay in it. Now, even though I'm fully recovered—I'm literally stronger than I've ever been in my life—I just still stay on that regimen, man." - Ex Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison on the importance of physical therapy in his recovery from acute transverse mylelitis. (blabbermouth.net)

    Tara Jo Manal, PT, DPT, FAPTA, and Meg Sions, PT, DPT, PhD, have developed a multidisciplinary amputee clinic described as "the most comprehensive" in the US. (University of Delaware UD Daily)

    Karen Joubert, PT, describes the benefits of restricted blood flow training. (KABC-TV 7 Eyewitness News, Los Angeles)

    Ken Wheeler, PT, DPT, points out how physical therapy can play an important role in the treatment of headaches. (Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News)

    “The determination of the girls and the outstanding work of our occupational therapy and physical therapy teams helped them do just that.” – Gail Besner, MD, on the successful separation and rehabilitation of conjoined twins from Uganda (News 6, Columbus, Ohio)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    Move Forward Radio: Country Music's Clay Walker Discusses Living With MS

    It was just over 20 years ago, and multiplatinum country music star Clay Walker was riding high, on tour with his band, when he experienced a set of symptoms—poor balance, double vision, and what he calls "lazy legs"—that seemed almost funny at first; just some weird, passing thing. On the morning of the last show of his tour, Walker woke up expecting the joke to be over, the symptoms gone. They weren't.

    "That was a scary moment," Walker said. "But that was when I knew that I should probably get to a doctor."

    It didn't take long for Walker to learn that he had multiple sclerosis (MS). His first 2 doctors told him that would be in a wheelchair in 4 years, and likely dead in 8. But here it is, 2 decades later, and Walker is still on his feet, still touring, and still living life to the fullest—thanks, he says, to his faith, an excellent physician, appropriate medications, and a mobility "protocol" he learned from his physical therapist (PT).

    Now on Move Forward Radio: Clay Walker describes living a full life with MS—from how the disease helped him deepen his faith to the physical therapy "game plan" he has developed to help him maintain mobility every day.

    Walker tells Move Forward Radio that his disease has not progressed significantly since the initial diagnosis, but he is quick to point out that what he's done to fight MS should not be taken as the only way to approach a disease that can affect individuals differently. The key, he says, is for those with MS to "take control of what they can and manage what they can."

    Physical therapy is 1 of Walker's biggest ways of taking control, thanks to a set of exercises he learned from his PT.

    "Every morning I wake up and my right leg feels like a 2x4, and I can bust that spasticity in minutes," Walker said. "For me being able to counter that, I just never knew it was possible." He calls it his "protocol" and says that he "couldn't imagine living life without it."

    In addition to continuing his music career, Walker founded the Band Against MS foundation, a charitable group devoted to helping people with MS live life to the fullest.

    "MS has been a life changer for me in a positive way," Walker said. “I feel like MS really helped me find out who I'm supposed to be, and the life I'm supposed to lead. I never looked at it as a curse. I feel 100% blessed."

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be emailed to consumer@apta.org.

    Innovation 2.0 Learning Lab to Focus on PTs as Key Players in PCMH to Address Childhood Obesity

    Managing childhood obesity in a patient-centered medical home setting is the fourth and final installment of APTA’s online Learning Labs series based on the Innovation 2.0 initiative. Interested members are invited to register for the highly interactive session, scheduled for January 18, 1:00 pm–4:00 pm.

    Like the first 2 labs, the January 18 event will enable participating APTA members to hear firsthand from the physical therapist innovators who were selected to pursue new, creative models of care. This fourth lab is your chance to hear from your colleagues about their work in a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and in population health, and learn from their experiences.

    In this innovative health care model, the physical therapist (PT) plays a key role in measurements of obesity-related signs and symptoms that affect the human movement system, including aerobic fitness and strength deficit, lower extremity joint pain, gait dysfunction, and motor control deficit. The PT also evaluates and monitors children's physical activity and sedentary behaviors, and is trained in behavioral strategies to enhance physical activity and parental support. The model measures cost-effectiveness by tracking incidence of disease rates and hospitalization for obesity-related conditions.

    Other members of the team include the pediatrician, medical fellow, nutritionist, nurse/nurse practitioner, social worker, biostatistician, and health care coordinator. Referrals to specialists (such as PTs when a cluster of impairments appear that indicate a movement disorder associated with obesity) are coordinated so that appropriate care is received. Regular follow-ups document progress and help the young patients and their families with self-management. This model also could provide support for including PTs in PCMHs that target other chronic health conditions that affect movement.

    The Learning Lab is a free online event intended as an advanced experience for providers who are currently active in innovative programs or ready to explore them. Because the event has limited seating, members interested in participating are required to answer a series of questions on the registration form to help APTA select participants who can gain—and later share with others—the most benefit from the lab. Participants will be expected to actively engage in the lab session, and materials will be provided beforehand to help them do so. If that’s you, visit the Innovation 2.0 webpage and scroll to the "Learning Lab" section to register.

    Registered participants will receive a template that will help them replicate the model presented in the lab. APTA will post a free recording of the event afterward, which will include the downloadable template and the presenter’s slide deck.

    Visit the Innovation 2.0 webpage to register for the PTs as Key Players in a PMCH Program for Childhood Obesity Learning Lab. For details on all of the projects selected for development, as well as projects that received honorable recognition, go to Innovation 2.0 Background. Profiles of each project were also featured in a September 2015 article in PT in Motion magazine.

    Helping Your Profession in 15 Minutes or Less

    APTA has a question for physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs):

    Just what do you think you're doing? Your answers could earn you a $250 Amazon gift card.

    Actually, APTA has several questions to ask of its membership, and the answers will help to inform how the association, researchers, policymakers, and payers view who PTs and PTAs are, what they do, and how much they get paid to do it. It's all a part of the current PT Practice Profile and PTA Profile surveys that have been disseminated to members.

    The surveys are the association's large-scale effort to take a snapshot of PT and PTA members across the country, including demographics of the profession, practice settings, salary data, and productivity data. The results of the survey—the first since 2013—will be used to update APTA’s workforce resources, and are typically incorporated into advocacy and other association efforts.

    The surveys take about 10-15 minutes to complete, and the form itself is easy to fill out. And to add a little extra motivation to the mix, APTA is awarding $250 Amazon gift cards to 2 randomly selected respondents.

    So be on the lookout for your survey email invitation. The deadline is January 27. Members should check their email inboxes as well as spam filters for the survey.

    Questions? Contact the APTA Research Department.

    A Very Good Year: 2016's Top Move Forward Radio Podcast

    Say what you will about 2016, but it's been a good year for Move Forward Radio, APTA's consumer-oriented podcast series from MoveForwardPT.com. From interviews that focused on different approaches to pain treatment and the #ChoosePT campaign, to a glimpse into the life of a physical therapist (PT) treating elite professional athletes, the series covered a lot of ground of interest to both PTs and their patients.

    Here, in no particular order, are APTA's picks for 2016's top 6 Move Forward Radio podcasts, all still available for listening.

    Pro volleyball star and TV host Gabby Reece on her opioid-free TKA rehab
    Reece recounts her decision to participate in physical therapy—and her commitment to recovery without the use of drugs. Along the way, Reece explains how her path is 1 that could be considered by any individual facing decisions about what to do after surgery.

    A Cleveland Clinic researcher on physical therapy as first-choice pain treatment
    Andre Machado, MD, is leading an innovative pain treatment research project that puts a combination of physical therapy and behavioral therapy at the front lines of pain treatment, and takes a cautious approach to the use of opioids. Machado shares his thoughts on opioids and the need for a cultural shift on attitudes about pain.

    Physical therapy's life-changing effects on chronic pelvic pain
    Erin Jackson's mysterious, stabbing pelvic pain, felt both internal and external, plagued her for over a decade. She saw multiple health care providers in multiple states. She was prescribed multiple medications, none of which worked. Then Jackson began working with a physical therapist who presented a new treatment approach for her pain—and things finally began to change.

    The LA Lakers' "secret weapon" on the challenges of treating elite athletes
    Judy Seto, PT, DPT, MBA, who has served as head PT for the Lakers for the past 5 years, talks about what's involved in making sure that Kobe Bryant and colleagues stay healthy through an 82-game regular season, plus preseason, postseason, and the offseason.

    The latest on blood flow restriction training
    Johnny Owens, PT, MPT, is a high-profile proponent of a relatively new training approach that involves applying a tourniquet to an injured limb to allow patients to make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads (and reducing overall stress). Owens describes how it works, shares his vision for the potential of the technique within health care, and discusses where research is going.

    A patient's journey out of extreme pain thanks to physical therapy
    When Morgan Hay broke her big toe, she assumed it was a small injury. Weeks later, however, her foot was still discolored and swollen, and the pain was intense. Hay recounts misdiagnoses, multiple painkiller prescriptions, and finally, the physical therapy treatment that is helping her make real progress.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be emailed to consumer@apta.org.