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October is National Physical Therapy Month

by Capt. Tarri Randall, director for Rehabilitation Services at Whiteriver Indian Hospital, Indian Health Service

National Physical Therapy Month is an annual observance that provides opportunities to raise awareness about the benefits of physical therapy.  The 2020 theme “Choose more movement.  Choose better health.  Choose physical therapy Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  ,” amplifies the role of the physical therapist and the physical therapist assistant in improving physical activity through movement.  This year the physical therapists and physical therapist assistants involvement in treating patients with COVID-19 uniquely demonstrates how physical therapy can help improve and even save lives.  

The Indian Health Service recognizes that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are the movement experts.  They are called upon to evaluate and treat neuromusculoskeletal as well as cardiovascular and pulmonary impairments, such as COVID-19.   Patients across Indian Country have benefited from physical therapy treatments, including addressing the need for supplemental oxygen or advanced wound care after long stays in intensive care.  After an evaluation, physical therapists determine the right duration, intensity, and frequency of physical activity to help improve overall health and mobility. 

Physical therapists have adapted to the needs of tribal communities to assist in the treatment and recovery of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things that one can do for their health.  Physical therapists partnered with patients recovering from COVID-19, in both the inpatient and outpatient setting and created safe and effective programs to help them get moving again.  Through the implementation of progressive therapeutic activity plans, IHS physical therapists validated that you do not have to spend hours at the gym but even a 5-minute walk, some light stretching, and light resistance exercise can make a difference in recovery. 

Physical therapists improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient specific education, and prescribed and personalized movement across the lifespan whether you are recovering from an injury, managing a chronic disease, or fighting acute recovery of an illness such as COVID-19.  

Take some time this month to GET MOVING and show appreciation to your physical therapy staff. 

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Capt. Tarri Randall, director for Rehabilitation Services at Whiteriver Indian Hospital, Indian Health Service
Capt. Tarri Randall is the director for Rehabilitation Services at Whiteriver Indian Hospital. She is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy and wound care. Randall is the IHS chief clinical consultant for Physical Rehabilitation Services. She has worked for the Indian Health Service since 1997.