On today’s episode, I had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Jason Falvey PT, DPT, GCS onto the podcast to discuss how physical therapists can better treat the geriatric population. Dr. Falvey is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Colorado Denver in the Muscle Performance Lab and is interested in optimizing rehabilitation for medically deconditioned older adults in post-acute and home care settings.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The push for more medically necessary research funding for the growing baby boomer population
-Are fresh PT graduates prepared to manage older adults?
-Jason’s top strategies to break cemented patient routines
-How to properly dose exercise for the geriatric population
-And so much more!
Jason explains the value of understanding optimal aging and long term health management when dealing with clients of any age and in any setting. He states, “In every practice area, knowledge of successful aging will make you a better therapist. If you’re a geriatric specialist or have good knowledge in that area, I think you would be an incredible asset to any healthcare organization.”
Some of Jason’s best treatment results come from empowering patient’s on their rehabilitation journey. “These patients we see are often homebound, their often not respected or valued or heard by medical professionals… So really getting in and promoting autonomy and putting power in their hands immediately to take charge of their care. It’s surprising how refreshing that is for patients and how much they open up after the first session.”
In order to maximize patient outcomes, clinicians need to understand the foundations of movement and address their patient’s functional deficits. To better illustrate this point, Jason proposes this example, “If I gave you a book in Spanish and I tell you to read it, you read through it and you don't understand because you don’t understand the foundation of the Spanish language and then I have you do 100 repetitions of reading that book, that 100th time you’re not going to be any better at it because I didn’t fix the foundational issue that you don’t know some of the basic vocabulary you needed to understand.”
Geriatric research is now beginning to incorporate physical function into the equation and physical therapists are at the forefront for advocating its importance. Jason stresses, “Physical function is its own independent risk factor for so many adverse outcomes like hospital readmissions, all cause emergency room visits, falls, cognition and physical function often run in tandem… I think there is increased recognition that how people move and interact with their community is not just a secondary outcome but it is a primary outcome… They haven’t included physical therapists in physician trials, so there is still work to do, but we have successfully promoted the message that mobility is important, mobility is a quality of life issue, and exercise is medicine and we need to integrate those things across the spectrum. “
For more about Dr. Falvey:
PhD Student Jason Falvey was awarded a Kendall Scholarship from the Foundation for Physical Therapy in 2014 and a Fellowship for Geriatric Research through the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy in 2015 to support his research examining the role of home physical therapy in enhancing function and reducing re-hospitalizations for medically complex older adults. He is also the primary investigator on a research grant from the American Physical Therapy Association, Section of Health Policy and Administration looking at the role of physical therapists in models of transitional care for older adults after acute hospitalization.
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