E-Stim. Shortwave Diathermy. Virtual Reality Therapy. What does it all mean?
At Heartland Health Care Centers and ManorCare Health Services, state-of-the-art rehabilitation treatments are available and explained to patients in terms that mean something to them and they can understand, such as relief from pain, quicker wound healing and back on your feet. According to Rick Black, PT, DPT, MS, GCS, Corporate Rehabilitation Consultant at HCR ManorCare, it’s important for patients to have a good understanding of why they’re being asked to perform a particular activity or using a specific piece of equipment. When a patient understands the purpose of the treatment and how it will aid recovery, he or she can more fully engage in the healing process. The patient becomes a partner in the recovery rather than simply a passive participant. “We want to educate our patients so that they are their own best advocates for getting better,” said Black. A new website, http://roadtorecovery.heartland-manorcare.com/, provides patients brief video glimpses of the equipment in use while a therapist explains how and why it works. Therapies for stroke, cardiac, orthopedic, neurological, pulmonary and oncology recovery are covered.
At Heartland and ManorCare, patients are assessed not only on where they are at the moment they are admitted, but where they need to be to go home. The benefits of some exercises are obvious, such as relearning how to go up and down stairs confidently. Less familiar are the benefits of patients playing a virtual therapy game that keeps them on their feet for an extended period, which may result in being more confident standing and preparing a meal in the kitchen. “The average meal preparation takes 30 minutes, and some patients need to improve their balance, strength and coordination to complete home management tasks,” said Cathleen Johnson, MS, OTRL, Corporate Rehabilitation Consultant – Occupational Therapy. “Using a Wii game or OmniVR (3D virtual rehabilitation) system therapy tool helps us strengthen patients and engages them so they spend more time standing than with traditional therapy methods.” Standing and lifting weights at the LifeFitness machine might prepare a patient for loading a dishwasher or emptying a dryer of clean clothes. “Building strength and aerobic capacity on a NuStep machine or Omnicycle might be the difference between simply watching grandchildren play and being able to actively participate in a game,” said Johnson. “Tools such as Electrical Stimulation (E-Stim) and Shortwave Diathermy sound scary, but they can be used for a wide variety of therapeutic purposes,” said Black.
E-Stim is a very low electrical current applied through electrode pads placed on the skin. The position of the electrodes, the type of waveform used and the intensity of the current are all based on the particular needs of the patient. E-Stim can help retrain muscles, reduce pain and increase muscle strength. E-Stim can also be used to facilitate wound healing, to reduce the risk of falls, for post-operative rehabilitation and as treatment for a variety of joint conditions such as arthritis or tendonitis. Shortwave Diathermy uses electromagnetic waves to increase circulation in the body's tissues. Diathermy is often used for larger treatment areas such as knees, hips and back. It helps with soft tissue injuries, slow-healing wounds, arthritis, scar tissue and contractures. “Modalities such as diathermy and electrical stimulation when used in conjunction with or in preparation for more physically active forms of therapy facilitate healing and a return to maximum function,” said Black.
The HCR ManorCare health care family comprises centers that are leading providers of short-term post-acute services. With more than 50,000 caregivers nationwide, the HCR ManorCare centers are preeminent care providers in their communities. These locations operate primarily under the respected Heartland and ManorCare Health Services names. Our skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers provide post-hospital care for patients transitioning from hospital to home. Our clinical teams have the demonstrated track record and commitment to impact the success of patients needing this level of post-acute care so they can return home to a meaningful lifestyle. To view our video vignettes on the post-hospital experience at Heartland/ManorCare, click on http://roadtorecovery.heartland-manorcare.com