On last month’s intro, I presented a brief description of the three COMMON types of strokes but there is a fourth type and we will get into that in a sequel. For now, let us return to the rehab and medical vernacular of how strokes are addressed after the acute phase. Any residual symptoms that were not resolved shortly after the event or rehab outcomes that were not retained are called “late effects” and may be treated weeks, months, or years after having a stroke under insurance coverage. Unfortunately, many survivors believe their unresolved issues are permanent after they are discharged, which MAY NOT be the case, but how does one know?  We have heard the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, TRY, TRY AGAIN!”

Stroke survivo...

We all know someone who has suffered a stroke. Strokes are clinically called Cerebral Vascular Accidents (CVAs) and there are two major types: Ischemic (most common at >80% of all strokes), when a blood clot prevents blood flow to an area of the brain affecting the center of control for the body.  And Hemorrhagic (bleeding) strokes that happen when an artery leaks or ruptures usually due to high blood pressure. A third type of lesser intensity is called  Transient Ischemic Attack (TIAs), also considered precursors to a larger CVA (like warning tremors before an earthquake).

The brain is compartmentalized by lobes but here, we simplify the anatomy into two halves called hemispheres that are connected by a small structure (Cor...

At some point in our lives, we have experienced services that made us feel like we were given the same answers, treatments, and products as everyone else. It is common sense that no two patients are the same and it would be wonderful if treatment plans were uniquely designed for each patient at every clinic. Unfortunately, the current healthcare model has become more interested in the bottom line (referred to as “productivity”) and this forces therapists to look for the fastest, easiest treatment plan so they can either hand over their patient to a number of assistants or get to the finish line having met simple goals for a “successful” discharge.

When the first scenario happens, the patient will not have continuity of care becau...

As the days get longer, we are exposed to more light, and are more likely to wake up earlier and go to sleep later. For many of us living in the gray Pacific Northwest, this is our happy time! We have more daylight for gardening and outdoor recreation after working a full day and the extra vitamin D puts us in a better mood. However, if we get less than five to seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, we can age faster, increase our health risks for heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes to name the top few. Sleep deprived people complain of poor energy and brain fog and inability to perform well at school or work.  Brain studies show that lack of sleep can also increase our risk for dementia and increased depe...

In the previous installments, I have provided a brief history about the Occupational Therapy Profession, the philosophy of treating THE WHOLE PERSON by using meaningful activities that improve function and performance of self-care tasks from infancy to final stages of life. This a wholistic approach, the opposite is reductionistic, and unfortunately, the latter is the most typical practice model. Reductionism does not promote lasting results because our bodies are a part of a complex system that is interdependent. Additionally, we are also interconnected with our environment and other people in our lives.

Occupational Therapy views wholeness as a choice people make toward whole-person wellness  that leads to living a healthy and...

April is Occupational Therapy (OT) Month and it is my privilege and honor to educate people about the value and relevance of occupational therapy for healthy communities. During the late 19th Century, our profession became an established medical-rehab service and in 1917 it became an essential part of the mental hygiene movement of the early 20th century. We helped rehabilitate wounded soldiers  physically and mentally in the aftermath of the Civil War, WW1, WW2 and beyond.

Prior to WW1, OTs were instrumental in the de-institutionalization of individuals with mental illness by therapeutic use of manual crafts during the Arts and Crafts Movement that gave the in-patients a purposeful and meaningful use of their time, interests, an...

As an occupational therapist (OT), I am used to having to explain that occupational therapy does not mean I give people “work therapy” or help them find a better job. Readers of my articles know that occupational therapy is a uniquely diversified allied health profession that rehabilitates people of all ages, and in all areas of functional activity. Our training varies by our schools but overall, OT is more than just physical rehabilitation, we have roots in psychiatry and our education is strong in neurosciences. We are human skills specialists who address “occupations” that fall into these areas:

  • ADLs. Activities of Daily Living – fundamental tasks of self-care

  • IADLs. - Activities to support ADLs within the home and co...

February 2, 2020

We all love choices and health insurance plans are no exception. Most insured get their plans through their  or their spouse’s employer with two popular types of insurance plans being HMO and PPO. The HMO plans are least expensive and have many exclusions (no massage, chiropractic, or other holistic healthcare treatments). HMOs limit subscribers to an approved list of in-network providers while PPOs allow you to choose any “credentialed” provider (meaning, they must be pre-approved to bill for their services). Additionally, PPOs don’t require a PCP referral to a specialist (but still required for skilled therapies).

PPO plans offer greater flexibility and many cover things such as chiropractic, acupuncture and massage – all worth...

Let’s face it, most of us are “plugged-in” daily and some of us are plugged-in for most of our waking day because of work, news on tap from our smart phones, and social connectivity. We wake up to a cell phone alarm, check texts and emails as we get ready for work, even taking our device into the bathroom to listen to podcasts or music.

We drive to work listening to podcasts or satellite radio, get to the office and log-in to our computers while operating our cell phones on the side. We go to meetings where we have our phones either on the table or on our lap for discretely checking texts and emails while looking interested in the speaker. We check in with our spouses, elderly parents, nannies, teenagers, etc. throughout the day...

In my lifetime, I have known people who came down with a condition that was hard to understand or treat effectively, and I have joined their ranks more than once. In the absence of answers, we are told, “you will have to live with it and take medications to manage the symptoms as best you can.”  It takes a certain type of person to respond to that advice with defiance and resolve to find a solution or an advocate. As a clinician and strong patient’s advocate, I say, “don’t give up or give in!”

There are many ways to solve a problem and in my opinion, functional medicine is the most logical approach to wellness because it does not address the problem with pharmacology as the first approach. Functional medicine recognizes that a pe...

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