No matter the condition, having a team of different disciplines that is able to work together is beneficial to patient care. This is called interprofessional care, which is care where different health care professions work together to optimize patient care. Engage therapy has three different therapies including physical, occupational, and speech therapy. To discuss the benefits of interprofessional care, I asked Dr. Liz Yates Horton, PT, DPT, NCS, owner of Engage Physical Therapy, several questions about how interprofessional care can be beneficial for patients with neurological disorders.
A lot of times it can be difficult for patients to differentiate between different disciplines, so can we first start with describing the main purpose of PT, OT, and SLP?
All 3 therapies really work well together.
Physical Therapy works on mobility, balance, strength, and ability to do everyday activities. Occupational therapy works on things that fill your days. That can be an occupation like a job, things you want to do for leisure or things you need to do, like being able to make a cup of coffee or get into your bathroom. There is a lot of crossover between physical and occupational therapy and we work really well together to help an individuals maximize their potential and be as independent as possible with their goals for their everyday life.
People often think speech therapy is just related to speech. So, yes it does work on speech. It can work on voice production and clarity, but they can also work on swallowing and strengthening muscle of your throat. Speech therapy also works on thinking and cognition. There is a lot of overlap in terms of cognition or thinking skills with occupational therapy. A lot of times occupational and speech therapy will be working towards a similar goal just in different ways.
All 3 disciplines can really work together holistically to maximize function and can also have a lot of overlap between what we are all working on together.
Is there a benefit of seeing the different concentrations at the same time versus sporadically?
Everyone is slightly different.
For some people, having everyone work together as a team can be so beneficial [because] we can work on collaboration and cross over strategies. This often happens with physical and speech therapy when working with someone with Parkinson’s. They’re working on their voice and their loudness in speech and I will carry that over during our physical therapy exercises. The opposite can also happen. I may be working on how someone gets up from a chair and staying big and working on a big posture and speech therapy may also be working on that to help with voice production. For some people it is really beneficial to be teamed up.
Sometimes, because of fatigue, transportation issues, or a variety of things, we are not able to make that happen. That is such a great conversation to have when you meet with a therapist, especially a team of therapists like we have here at Engage, to help figure out what is the best strategy to meet your goals.
Here at Engage, you have all 3 therapies available for patients, what is the benefit of having those in house versus seeing different people in different locations?
Here at Engage, we work collaboratively as a team so we really keep in mind what the big picture goals are for each person that we are working with and if there are specific strategies that we are really finding to be beneficial or specific things that we are really targeting.
We’re able to come together and discuss that as a team so that rather than just happening in one session it may be happening in two or even three sessions causing lots of repetition. What we know about training our brain is lots and lots of repetition is where we get a lot of benefit.
Does every patient you encounter always require more than one service?
No! So people come to see use at different points in their journey with a variety of medical conditions. That is a great conversation that we have when meeting with someone. They may just need that one service and as we are getting to know someone we may suggest, “Hey if you’re having issues with handwriting, how about we get set up with a session with our occupational therapist?” Or if during our sessions someone mentions they are having swallowing issues with their medication, thats a great time to pull in speech therapy. We don’t all have to work together from start to finish. There may be times when someone comes in and is working on a really targeted focus and then is able to step back.
Do patients require a separate prescription for each service?
In New York and with most insurances, it is helpful to have a prescription. Given that we work with individuals with neurologic conditions, it is really great to have a provider that is part of our team. If during a session someone mentions they are having side effects to a medication, we have someone who is on board who we can reach out to and express what is going on. One of the benefits of therapy is we get to spend so much more time with the individuals we work with compared to primary care doctors or neurologists. We are able to get to know our clients a lot better and we may be the ones that are hearing about challenges with medications, side effects or new symptoms. It is great to have that prescription so that way we can have that provider as a part of our team.
If I have more questions, where can I learn more?
There are two ways to learn more about us. One is our website, engagebrainbodybetter.com, or you can give us a call at 315-810-2423