Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Health & Wellness
Baby boomers step up as health care volunteers By ELIZABETH POPE New York Times News Service
system. Another 300 volunteers are advocates who educate others about health care Policymakers and punissues in formal and informal dits warn that the baby settings. boom wave could swamp the At the Spring Institute for nation’s health care system. Intercultural Learning, also What if the 77 million boom- in Denver, older volunteers ers, who have just begun to help teach health literacy, turn 65 could help solve the arrange transportation and health care crisis? accompany Bhutanese and “There’s a lot of talk about Burmese refugees and immithe challenges that boomgrants to medical appointers will present to health ments, said Brandy Kramer, care, but we see them as the institute’s volunteer coorour country’s greatest natudinator. ral resource,” said Barbara “Our boomers are wonderRaynor, managing director of ful advocates for our comBoomers Leading Change in munity members; they are Health in Denver. tenacious and won’t take no Her 18-month-old profor an answer from a health gram, financed by the Dencare provider.” ver-based Rose Community Through local providers, Foundation, trains older volunteers have helped the adults as volunteer patient institute’s clientele acquire navigators, advocates and free or low-cost hearing aids, community health workers eyeglasses and even a new assigned to local organizaset of teeth. Other volunteers tions serving city residents. have untangled Medicare Some 125 older adults bills, advised when (and have been trained as naviga- when not) to call 911 and tors or community health coached diabetics on healthy workers who help individudiet and exercise. als and families master the Encouraged by the 2010 intricacies of the health care health care act’s emphasis on
Submitted by Contributing Community Author
Julie Ament, PT,
primary care, care coordination and chronic disease management, pilot programs are emerging to try to improve the fragmented medical system. Many programs rely on coaches, navigators and advocates. The paid or unpaid work they do is well suited to older adults seeking encore careers, said Phyllis N. Segal, a vice president of Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based research group. While there are no firm numbers on new programs, she said, “this area is poised to explode because of expanding needs for health prevention and services.” Entrepreneurs will also find opportunities to start small businesses in consumer-centered care, she added. The federal government’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation recently dedicated $1 billion in grants to develop new ideas to improve care and lower costs for Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries.
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Total Knee Replacement: What should you expect from your Physical Therapist? What kind of activity should you expect to get back to? The medical terminology for your total knee replacement is a total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Rehabilitation of your TKA will likely include inpatient physical therapy for a few days while you are in the hospital. This will include exercises for flexibility of your knee; practice walking with a walker; negotiating steps; and practice getting in and out of bed and to the bathroom. Once you return home, outpatient physical therapy is expected 2-3 days a week for 6 weeks and then 1-2 days a week for 4 weeks before discharge from physical therapy to an ongoing independent exercise program. Your physical therapist will help you to continue exercises for flexibility of your knee; progress your walking ability; work on your balance and agility; and strengthen your knee and hip muscles. Additionally, your therapist will likely work on mobilization of other stiff joints and soft tissues and may include electrical stimulation of your thigh muscles to help regain your strength. Most basic functional improvements in walking speed, stair climbing and activities of daily living will occur in the first 12 weeks after surgery and will continue to improve for 26 weeks. At 6 months, you should expect your pain to have improved 63% over pre operative levels; knee bending to be about the same as pre operative; knee straightening to be about 5 degrees more than pre operative; the ability to get up and walk about 20 feet to have improved 21% over what you had pre operative; stair climbing to be 40% better than pre operative; and your opinion of the ease of daily activity (as measured on a questionnaire) to be 57% improved over pre operative levels. You can expect the strength of the front of your thigh to be at pre operative level at 6 months. However this strength will not be equal to your uninvolved side even at 6 months so you should continue your home exercises at least one year. At 1 year, walking speed should be such that you can walk between 1275 feet and 1500 feet in 6 minutes. After 6 months you can expect to participate in low impact sports such as cycling, swimming and rowing. With previous experience, down hill skiing, cross country skiing, canoeing, doubles tennis, horse back riding and rowing are recommended. Your TKA can be expected to last 15-20 years. Your surgeon will usually refer you for outpatient physical therapy to start right away when you return home after your surgery. You can find a physical therapist near you by clicking on “find a PT” at http://www.apta.org/ . You can find a therapist who is a board certified specialist in orthopedics by looking for those with an “OCS” and the clinical specialist logo. Our Thanks to Julie Ament for contributing this column. The article is intended to be strictly informational.
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Located at 1275 Sadler Way, 1st Floor in the Steese Medical Center Building (just behind Boston’s and Home Depot).
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Published on Mar 14, 2012