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New Technology to Benefit Rehab Services 

OT Frank Grispino describes how patients have neurological functions assessed with the nerve conduction study machine.With the increasing elderly population as well as the baby-boom generation entering the prime age for chronic illness or injury, there is an increasing demand for physical rehabilitation. The need for medical technology and the use of evidence-based practices to treat the expected influx are just some of the many considerations made by Frank Grispino, MOT, OTR/L, CHT, Director of St. Francis Rehab & Sports Medicine, as he plans for 2012 and beyond.

St. Francis Rehab & Sports Medicine has long been recognized for delivering comprehensive, individualized, highly skilled care to patients. The physical, occupational and speech therapists are dedicated ambassadors to the diverse needs of the communities they serve. However, as medical developments permit a greater percentage of trauma victims to survive and facilitate the treatment of an increasing number of disabling conditions that were untreatable in the past, the need to stay on the leading edge of technology is one of the challenges being faced by the St. Francis staff. 

Enhanced technology and increasing volumes were two of the factors for selecting new and replacement equipment for the Rehab department for the coming year. Vestibular goggles, a recumbent cross-trainer and replacement for the nerve conduction studies machine were placed on the capital equipment “wish list” for 2012 and have since been selected to receive funding through the 2012 St. Francis Gala, to be held February 25 at the Maryville Community Center.

PT Sharon Meyer with patient Mary Cordell on the recumbent cross-trainer.The purpose of vestibular goggles is to enhance the diagnosis and aid in the treatment and education to those who are experiencing dizziness. Currently St. Francis offers vestibular therapy which is needed for those who are experiencing dizziness and or balance problems. 

“What is missing is the ability to evaluate the eyes in a darkened state which does not allow the patient to focus on an object,” explained Chad Jackson, DPT, OCS. “The importance of viewing the eyes with infrared goggles (simulates a dark room) allows the therapist to view and record the eyes to make a more clear diagnosis and the ability to educate the patient about their condition while evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and exercises. “

Although the physical therapists at St. Francis have access to a recumbent cross trainer through the cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation department next door, the volume of both services is making it necessary to purchase an additional unit. According to Sharon Meyer, PT, it combines comfort and security (more stable structure) with a great workout for all levels of patients at all mobility statuses.

The recumbent cross-trainer provides simultaneous upper and lower body motion to work all the major muscle groups helping patients build strength and improve overall fitness. It simulates a natural walking motion while eliminating undesirable joint stress and promoting functional fitness.

In 2005, nerve conduction studies were added as an occupational therapy service at St. Francis. New equipment is needed to replace the present machine. A nerve conduction study is a detailed neurological function assessment, without the use of needles, to help physicians diagnose and differentiate between different types of proximal and peripheral nerve conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

“The nerve conduction studies allow us to quantify nerve dysfunction in the extremities,” Grispino said. “It (the machine) tells us if there is nerve compression and helps us rule out compression of other areas such as the neck.”

“The new equipment will allow us to be more effective,” Grispino explained. “We’ll be able to get our patients better, and get them better quicker.”

PT, OT and Speech services at St. Francis have a rich history dating back to the 1950’s. The values of the existing service were shaped by a series of dedicated professionals and practice leaders who stressed the importance of the clinical education and a service-oriented, patient-centered philosophy.

“Our therapists are committed to continuing St. Francis’ tradition of exceptional care for all patients,” said Grispino. “We provide each of our patients with compassionate care guided by the latest developments in rehabilitative practice.”

For more information about rehab services at St. Francis or to learn more about the St. Francis Gala, visit www.stfrancismaryville.com online or call (660)562-7933.

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