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Physical Therapy Department provides service to community

Team helping three teens get their mobility back

February 25, 2011
By Terri Kelly Barta

The Physical Therapy Department at Heart of America Medical Center in Rugby is hopping with activity. In addition to taking care of all of the patients who go through the department, it is a great place to learn, as well.

John Brandt is the manager of the department. Kayla Johnso is a physical therapist. She works along with Jen Brossart, Becky Kraft, and Marie Fragodt to take care of the medical center's physical therapy needs.

In addition to providing therapy for the patients the center serves, Johnson is currently, working with two college students. Jillian Baron is working on her doctoral program in physical therapy from the University of Mary at Bismarck. Amy Flaten is working on her associate's of applied science degree in physical therapy assistance at Northland Technical College in East Grand Forks, Minn. They are each doing clinical rotations in their specialty area in Rugby.

"The students come with a wealth of book knowledge and get to put it into practice," said Johnson.

Each of the students had torn ACL's (anterior cruceate ligament in the knee) in high school. Flaten went through physical therapy as a freshman and it inspired her to become a PT assistant. Baron said she wanted to promote the good patient care she received as a patient, so she is becoming a physical therapist. She has a special interest in working with pediatrics some day.

Baron who has been in school for seven years said she enjoys being creative and in physical therapy one has to be creative to fit the situation.

What Flaten likes is that every day is different. She is interested in possibly working in a nursing home.

They are both working with therapists and assistants at HAMC to practice the skills, and learn how to work with the team. They realize that the practice of physical therapy is a critical decision-making process. The patient is relying on them.

The therapists and therapy assistants learn to communicate with physicians and develop a plan of care for the patient. Therapists do the initial assessment once the doctor sends the patient to physical therapy. They also do the re-evaluations of the patient as he or she progresses and will do the final discharge. The assistant can help the patient with the various types of therapy along with the therapist.

Both of the students along with the staff have been helping to rehabilitate three Rugby students, each with different injuries.

Senior Emily Paul who is the daughter of Brian and Patricia Paul, injured her good knee during the second game of the girls' basketball season. She injured her ACL and received a tear in her miniscus ligament, another one of the ligaments supporting the knee. She was out for the season. She had knee surgery and has been a physical therapy client since January 11. This injury could take between 12-16 weeks of therapy. The goal is to get her to resume her normal activities.

Paul has been an athlete since the fifth grade and doesn't appreciate having to slow down. She has learned that therapy is a slow process, but it helps a lot, she said. She likes to see the progress her knee has made since she started.

On Friday, her basketball coach who is also a physical therapist, Jen Brossart, arranged for Emily (in a controlled situation) to shoot the ball during the game against Rolla-Rock Lake. Of course, Paul is a long way from playing again but she enjoyed the surprise. She continues to do exercises and walks the treadmill.

Sophomore Jordan Brossart, son of Steve and Tammy Brossart, broke his femur and patella while dirt biking last fall. He had to have surgery to repair the upper bone in his leg and his knee cap. He used a wheelchair until Feb. 3 when he could start walking on his leg.

Although he is a trouper, Brossart will be the first to tell you that aggressive range-of-motion exercises and strength training when you have to broken bones is not a lot of fun. This guy is pretty tough and never complained.

He does therapy three days a week and performs exercises at home. He works on balance, increased range of motion and strengthening weak muscles. He can gingerly walk around, but the activity he is most happy to return to is driving a car.

Rugby Freshman Karson Demers broke his femur playing football last fall. It took two surgeries to put him back together. He couldn't bend his knees for two and a half months after the surgery. He has been getting physical therapy for about six weeks and expects it will take another six weeks before he is done. In PT he does leg presses, rides a specially designed bike and works with other equipment for balance, range of motion and strengthening.

He plans to be able to play football again next fall.

 
 

 

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