Team prescribes the right therapy for patients
By David Berkowitz
Cancer and its treatments can sometimes have lasting effects on a patient’s physical and cognitive functions.
To address the needs of patients recovering from surgery or facing challenges related to their treatment, MD Anderson’s Rehabilitation Services team offers a variety of occupational therapy and physical therapy services.
Therapeutic intervention is provided to acute inpatients, acute/chronic outpatients and the inpatient rehabilitation unit. Services are delivered in several locations, including MD Anderson’s regional care centers, with more than half of all inpatients treated at the bedside.
In Fiscal Year 2010, Rehabilitation Services logged 15,524 total inpatient and outpatient visits.
A large facility in the Main Building includes workout equipment, private treatment rooms and a model apartment with a kitchen, laundry room and bathroom for training.
When our photographer stopped by, the clinic was being put to good use:
1. Junichiro Watanabe: A neurofibromatosis patient, “Juni” was a martial arts enthusiast and practitioner before his diagnosis. He works with Occupational Therapist Jennifer Hughes and Physical Therapist Andrew Christensen to improve his balance and movement.
2. Parallel bars: Used for gait training, the bars provide support if a patient lacks balance. Colored sponges can be stepped on to challenge balance, and orange cones serve as an obstacle course.
3. Putting green: Among functional activities performed or simulated in the clinic, the putting green allows a golfer to practice while increasing standing endurance, whole body strength, eye-hand coordination and balance.
4. Exercise equipment: A range of equipment includes a Biodex Balance System machine for balance assessment and retraining, NuStep and treadmills for endurance activities, and ergometers for lower and upper extremities endurance.
5. Skeleton: Therapists use the human skeleton model to educate patients on how the disease process may be affecting their bones and joints.
6. Mat: Patients are placed on this platform for exercises that can’t be accomplished while standing. It also is a surface for activities that require sitting balance.
7. Colorful equipment: Large balls help with increased core strength exercises; wedges provide comfort for patients positioned for exercise or to encourage certain movements; target practice helps with eye-hand coordination; and the red round scooter helps pediatric patients with increased trunk extension.