CSMR physical therapist assistant Deb Bauer works with St. Olaf student Gina Collings in the facility’s state-of-the-art gym.
CSMR physical therapist Jamin Sawyer (right) plays with 1-year-old Will McLaughlin during a “Motor Movement Evaluation” while Will’s mother Betsy McLaughlin looks on. >>> “This is not only more convenient for our clients, but the new space gives our therapists more resources to use for the therapy they provide,” she said. Children’s Therapy and Speech, which moved from its previous location off a highway access road to its new address, now has a huge, child-friendly play and observation area adjacent to treatment rooms that provide a range of pediatric services for developmental disorders. But the best-kept secret in town is the new WorkSystems Program, which is Northfield Hospital’s answer to nationally skyrocketing insurance costs due to proliferating workplace injuries. Preventive Ergonomics: The coming trend The CSMR is in the vanguard of a burgeoning national trend that advocates putting as much emphasis on preventing workplace injuries as it does on treating and rehabilitating them. “The trend in preventive ergonomics is finally catching on nationally,” Malecha said. “Businesses are more and more concerned about reducing injuries their em-
Jen Dickerson, a physical therapist at the CSMR, walks volunteer Mike Mittelstaedt through the steps of the “Balance Master.” ployees get as a means of keeping their insurance from going up.” Ergonomics is concerned with the “fit” between people and their technological tools and environments. Most of us are familiar with such maladies as carpal tunnel syndrome, which comes from using keyboards at wrong angles, putting too much pressure on nerves in the wrist. But there are other ailments that result from poor use of working spaces. While the field of ergo-
nomics draws on many disciplines, since the early 2000s, occupational therapists have been moving into the field, which is one of Top 10 emerging practice areas. Malecha, a veteran physical therapist with 20 years’ experience and CSMR’s director for two years, says she’s glad the hospital decided to invest in WorkSystems, given its potential to help curtail runaway health care costs. “Our therapists have the training and experience to evaluate work spaces for pitfalls that could cause injuries before the injuries begin to show up,” Malecha said. The program also provides ongoing education to teach both desk workers and industrial workers ways to avoid undue stress and injuries on the job. “Office workers typically suffer from back and hip, neck and shoulder, and elbow injuries,” said Monica Erickson, a physical and athletic trainer at CSMR who is skilled in ergonomics and who designs more efficient work sites for area businesses. “Industrial workers are more likely to have problems with the knees, back and shoulders.” >>>
The Center for Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation is a service of Northfield Hospital and Clinics, which also operates a CSMR facility in the Lakeville-Farmington area, which opened in 2008. The Northfield CSMR offers a full spectrum of outpatient, hospital inpatient, home health services and athletic training, in addition to WorkSystems and Children’s Therapy and Speech, plus a number of specialized services. Outpatient Services • Pre- and post-surgical care • Orthopedic bone and joint therapy • Geriatric and neurological care, including balance for elders • Occupational and hand therapy • Headaches and migraines • Custom orthotic fabrication Hospital In-patient Services CSMR provides physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech services to patients at Northfield Hospital and residents of its Long Term Care Center. Athletic Training CSMR provides certified athletic trainers to Carleton College, St. Olaf College, Northfield High School and Farmington High School. WorkSystems WorkSystems strives to promote health, safety and productivity in the workplace. Services include ergonomic evaluation, pre-work screens, early intervention for injuries, and ongoing education. — Source: Center for Sport Medicine & Rehabilitation
APRIL/MAY 2010 35C
35C April May 2010