Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Verdant Health Commission 2016 Healthier Community Conference at the Lynnwood Convention Center. I wanted to share some of my take-aways, so buckle up!
First, we have such wonderful resources in our community to help people live healthier lives. Check out everything that the Verdant Health Commission offers: http://verdanthealth.org/ There is a wealth of information there, as well as a calendar of all of the free events that are offered. I also learned about Senior Services of Snohomish County (SSSC): http://www.sssc.org/index. They also have resources from all aspects of life (housing, social, transit, medical, etc) for seniors in our community.
I listened to a panel of providers discuss how to improve patient advocacy. First up was Dr. Blakeney of Edmonds Family Medicine. She discussed the importance of setting SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Change is a process, not a single event. Ever small changes can have huge impacts on your health. Example: walking 30 minutes/day, 5 days/week can reduce your blood pressure by 10 points—every 5 points it drops, your risk of stroke decreases by 34%!
The second speaker was Dr. Sinnett from Proliance Surgical Specialists of Edmonds. She spoke about how to manage your own advocacy when your health decisions become more complicated. She suggested that first and foremost, maintaining your health NOW can help minimize the complications during a medical emergency. For example, your tissues will heal better after an injury if your blood glucose has been managed beforehand and you’re not diabetic. She recommended that all carry a wallet summary of your health history, which could include your meds, your med history, and members of your care team. Her last point was to come to your appointments prepared—bring a second set of ears and bring a list of questions.
The final sessions I attended were about supporting those in need, how medical and social services are working together to improve care, and how to achieve health equity. There were great discussions in each session and I left feeling inspired by the things that are happening around us. My eyes were also open to how far we have to go though, too.
Here is one example of a program in our community that has come from partnership and passion: Move 60!
Please ask away if you have any questions for me about my experience. I would love to share more!
September is National Healthy Aging Month! I’m all about folks aging well. I firmly believe that aging should not be a dreaded thing—it should be celebrated! Physical health and wellness is my passion within my tiny of scope of healthcare. Therefore, I want to take the opportunity to talk about falls. Falls are way too common, way too costly, and can lead to some pretty serious disability (or worse in some cases)1. The research is there and it isn’t hard to find.
I love being able to help someone recover from a fall and regain their strength and confidence. I would love to prevent falls even more, however. This can save someone a lot of money, and it can save them from a lot of unnecessary pain and disability. I think physical therapists are in a unique position to help reduce falls in older adults.
Physical therapists have the time to really sit down with patients and review medical, social, and fall history. We can talk to them about their vision, their confidence, their home layout, their current diets and exercise routines. We have the medical training to recognize when someone’s falls are due to a more serious pathology and we can refer out as needed. We have a battery of tests and measurements to predict risk and track progress. Our interventions are safe and cost-effective. It is my hope that both healthcare professionals and the public think #getPT1st when it comes to preventing falls.
In honor of the month, please take a few minutes to talk to the older adults in your life about falls. Tell them about physical therapy. And if you have any questions, please leave a comment! In you are interested in an evaluation by one of our doctors of physical therapy, give us a call at 425-673-5220. We would love to be a part of the solution. Learn more about MOSAIC Physical Therapy at www.mosaicrehab.com/MLT.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/