RehabVisions Continues to Value Therapy Assistants
At RehabVisions we are fortunate to have a talented group of occupational and physical therapy assistants that contribute to the quality care we provide our patients. At a time when some assistants are experiencing reduced opportunities because of CMS reimbursement reductions, we want to especially recognize their clinical contributions. Many of our assistants have years of experience and specialized training that add value to our services. While the supervising PT or OT evaluates the patient and develops the plan of care, the assistants are an integral part of the daily therapy services.
Rehab Director Steve Finn, PT, a 29-year employee of RehabVisions, has a large department at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, Iowa with eight PTs, three PTAs, three OTs and one speech therapist. Steve said he’s been in the business for 30 years and doesn’t know how to do therapy without assistants. “When I’m taking a patient to schedule their course of treatment, I explain to them that Darla and I work as a team, and we will work together to help them reach their goals.”
Many of the assistants, like Darla Hansen, PTA mentioned above, have received additional training in an area of their interest. Darla has extensive experience in wound care and has carved out a niche among the community. “She was interested when no one else was and is extremely valued for that,” Steve said.
He said he’s happy RehabVisions has provided additional education for assistants over the years. “Through RV, our PTAs have had advanced training in other things like ASTYM and lymphedema and are enabled to do everything within their scope of practice.”
Director of Operations Jennifer Flanagan, SLP said the assistants’ relationships with patients and their ongoing feedback to their supervising therapist also serves to enhance the quality of care. She cited Bobbi Hansmeier, OTA as an example. Bobbi, who has worked for RehabVisions for 21 years goes between Northgate Care Center in Waukon, Iowa and Thornton Manor in Lansing, Iowa. “Bobbi is very familiar with the community and builds great relationships with the residents and staff in the SNF facilities where she works,” Jennifer said. “These relationships are beneficial because the residents and staff feel comfortable and that increases staff follow-through and patient engagement.”
Jennifer also said assistants are another set of eyes to provide ideas and problem-solve situations to maximize patient outcomes. The value of physical and occupational assistants is multilayered, and they will continue to be an integral part of our therapy teams.