Category: Uncategorized

Physical Therapy as Preventative Care

Blog written by Kiara Tucker, University of Northern Colorado Student and past Covell Care Intern.

Preventative care is extremely important throughout your lifetime, but especially as you age. The aging process takes a toll on your body and makes everyday tasks become increasingly difficult. With a proactive approach you can lessen this impact by the use of physical therapy. Physical therapy will reduce the risk for injury by increasing your flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. With increased abilities, you can regain your independence and maintain a higher quality of life. Another added benefit from physical therapy is you can stay away from more medication and reduce your pain naturally. The most common argument to physical therapy is the cost, but when you look at all of the costs for avoiding physical therapy, you can see that it is one of the more cost-effective options. If you wait until your pain is too bad, you will most likely not be able to fix it without undergoing surgery. The cost of surgery and all the medication that comes with it is typically far more than you would spend on physical therapy.  By waiting until surgery is necessary, your quality of life diminishes daily. Even after surgery, there can be a long recovery period. This is all in hopes that the surgery will be successful. The best option is to start physical therapy sooner rather than later when you feel your physical abilities are being limited.

Give Covell Care a call today to ask more about physical therapy and the benefits. (970) 204-4331

Is your bowel or bladder controlling you???

People of all ages live with bowel and/or bladder issues. Bowel and bladder dysfunction arise for various reasons: childbirth, prostate issues, a recent surgery, cancer treatment, lack of pelvic floor strength, the food & drink a person consumes and the list goes on.

There is even a thought that incontinence is just a normal part of aging. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Whether you suffer from stress or urge bladder incontinence, bowel incontinence or mix…You can take back your life and make changes NOW!

It is good to understand what a healthy bowel and bladder look like.

  • The average bladder can hold 2 cups of urine before needing to be emptied.
  • We should urinate 6-8 times in 24 hours, and have a bowel movement 3x/day-3x/week. As we age we may need to go more because our bladder shrinks but should not need to go more than every 2 hours.
  • Urine should flow out easily without straining and should come out in a steady stream.
  • An urge is the sensation you feel as the bladder stretches and fills. It does not always mean your bladder is full and urges should be controlled.
  • Your bladder should be completely emptied when you use the toilet.
  • Void positioning: knees higher than hips, lean forward and put elbows on your knees, bulge out your abdomen and straighten your spine (squatting position).
  • Holding your bladder for an excessive time (more than 4 hours) is NOT healthy for your bladder.
  • Don’t go to the bathroom “just in case” or more than every 2 hours.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water everyday unless your physician advises otherwise. When your urine is dark and has a foul odor, you may not be taking in enough fluid.
  • Avoid food and drink irritants. Limit alcohol! Alcohol actually increases urine production and also makes it difficult for the brain to coordinate the bladder control.
  • Too much sugar and/or fatty foods, a sedentary lifestyle, medications, ignoring the need to have a BM are all potential causes of constipation.
  • Avoid constipation by having a balanced diet of fiber. Gradually increase fiber intake to 25-35 grams per day.

Did you get all of that? Follow these bladder/bowel guidelines and see if anything changes.

Have questions about irritants or fiber? Join Covell Care for an intimate presentation on on this topic March 7th 11:30-1:15 (includes lunch!), next week at The Hillcrest of Loveland, 535 Douglas Ave, Loveland, CO 80537. Contact the Hillcrest with questions & to RSVP: (970) 541-4173. https://www.mbkseniorliving.com/senior-living/co/loveland/hillcrest-of-loveland/

Speech Therapy for MS Patients

In the US, the number of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is estimated to be about 400,000, with approximately 10,000 new cases diagnosed every year (that’s 200 new cases per week). That is a startling statistic and many of symptoms are as well. One being the loss of speaking abilities over time.

Speech problems are a common concern for people with MS. Because MS affects the way the brain communicates with the rest of the body, it is hard for some people with MS to control the muscles used to talk. Speech therapists are trained and able to help regain or maintain speaking abilities.

Speech therapy treatment will begin by finding a baseline of the patient’s speech quality.  Establishing this baseline is important, because it gives both the patient and the therapist a clear starting point from which to judge progress. This will be followed by developing a plan to improve the patient’s speech. These plans often include exercises that will build control of facial muscles (may improve enunciation), breathing exercises (may reduce # of pauses in speech) and address other issues surrounding the use of facial and vocal muscles (i.e. difficulties swallowing).

Often forgotten, is a speech therapists ability to help MS patients with cognitive changes such as:

  • Information processing (dealing with information gathered by the five senses)
  • Memory (acquiring, retaining and retrieving new information)
  • Attention and concentration (particularly divided attention)
  • Executive functions (planning and prioritizing)
  • Visuospatial functions (visual perception and constructional abilities)
  • Verbal fluency (word-finding)

If you have more questions about Speech Therapy in regards to MS patients or in general please contact us directly. (970) 204-4331 or visit https://www.nationalmssociety.org/

Sunburn in Winter

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Scary, right? The good news is that it is the easiest to prevent. Many people have the notion that on cloudy days or in the winter months the use of sunscreen is not as important or the rays are not as harmful. We are here to tell you that is not the case!

The sun’s rays do NOT retreat in winter. In the Northern Hemisphere the atmosphere does block some of the rays and those rays tend to be further away in the winter months. But don’t let that fool you. If you are outside, you are still at risk for sun damage. And in some Southern parts the amount of UV radiation does not change much from winter to other seasons.

Higher altitude also means higher risk. UV rays are more intense and the thinner atmosphere does not block as many harmful rays. To make things worse snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays.

Throughout the year we encourage you to practice these guidelines to keep you and your loved ones safe from our sun’s harsh rays.

  1. Wear sunscreen EVERYDAY, 30+ SPF.
  2. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure & reapply every 2 hours.
  3. Cover up as much as possible with clothing.
  4. Wear 100% UV protection sunglasses that offer good coverage of the sides of your eyes.
  5. Try to stay out of the sun between 10am to 4pm, when rays are most intense.

Just one blistering sunburn increases your skin cancer risk and should be reported to your doctor. Five or more sunburns doubles your risk for Melanoma.

Enjoy the outdoors but me smart in doing so. Take these tips with you to protect your skin!

We dedicate this blog post to Andrew M. Potts, Occupational Therapist who lost his battle to Melanoma & is a cherished colleague of ours. Visit https://www.covellcare.com/team-a-m-p/ to learn more about Andrew and our efforts to continue his legacy.

Going Beyond Continuing Education Credits

Last week someone asked me about our monthly education program called Clinicians and Comrades. She asked me if it was free. I said yes. She asked if we give continuing education credits and I said yes. With eyebrows raised she asked me why we did this. I smiled and said, “Because I believe in education no matter how long someone’s worked in their field and I believe in my heart that learning together helps us all work better together, too.” But, there’s more to it than that.

Most licensed clinicians are required by their state and/or national organizations to maintain a certain number of continuing education credits to maintain their credentials. In my opinion, this should be simply eyed as a technicality. If you are a clinician, you need to continue learning for the sake of the clients you treat and the teams you lead.
Governing agencies are requiring a certain level of new learning to help the respective field stay viable, current and ethical while ensuring practicing clinicians are credible and current. Hopefully, if you are a clinician, you are requiring more from yourself to be the best clinician you can be and that means learning new research, treatment techniques, understanding changing theories and best outcome strategies for clients.
There are countless seminars, webinars, online continuing education classes, conferences around the country for clinicians to access. Clinicians and Comrades provides education from our local colleagues which changes the dynamic of what we learn.
For example, this last week we learned about Cancer Harbors and how to help clients navigate life after cancer treatments. And we are learning how to do this in our own community. Not in Cleveland or Orlando where other classes may be held. Another session we learned about driving rehabilitation. We took turns on a computerized assessment that the instructor led us through that she uses in real time with her clients. She helped us know how to access this, what to look for, how to help clients in our community. Not in Chicago or even Denver.
 
We are more than clinicians with licenses. We are helping other people live fuller lives and we need to connect with our community, gather helpful, evidenced-based and practical strategies to maximize our time with clients and learn from on another. If you are only gathering continuing education credits because you are required to, think again. Your knowledge impacts people’s lives. The more you know, the more you grow. And together we can be a more powerful community.
Blog written by Krista Covell-Pierson, OTR, BCB-PMD & owner of Covell Care.