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Perception + Deduction + Follow-Through = Stellar Care

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on May 16, 2015 10:40:00 AM

Residential in the Real World

When his patient struggled, Residential physical therapist Eduardo trusted his insight, and advocated to quickly resolve a medication issue.The first step in problem-solving is observation; it is also the simplest. An experienced clinician is trained to notice numerous signs, no matter how subtle, that could point to a health issue. The next step, interpretation, takes a bit more time and energy. It takes keen analysis to connect a few small, seemingly unrelated observations. The final step is the most challenging: taking action, and possibly getting others to do so too, requires perseverance and conviction. But if the end result is a patient’s better health and quality of life, there’s no doubt the effort is worthwhile.

Residential Home Health physical therapist and therapy preceptor Eduardo is living proof of the power of such persistence. Read on for Eduardo’s story of noticing a symptom, inferring the problem at its root, and pursuing an adjustment that made a huge difference.

From Awareness to Advocacy

The patient was receiving home health care after triple bypass surgery, working with his Residential Home Health Care Team to recover and to better manage his coronary artery disease. Upon starting physical therapy, Eduardo noticed the patient’s generalized muscle weakness and difficulty walking, and tailored his exercises toward moving around the house with safety and confidence.

One day, as they worked together on gait training, the patient reported feeling dizzy. Eduardo stopped the exercise for the patient’s safety, and performed a blood pressure check to see whether this was the source of the symptom. In fact, the level was quite low, which suggested to Eduardo that his patient was experiencing orthostatic hypotension (i.e. a drop in blood pressure upon standing). Although this condition can occur in any person at any age, it can increase the risk of falling for seniors or for individuals with difficulty walking, like Eduardo’s patient. Considering the patient’s heart disease and the medications he was taking, Eduardo began to suspect that one of the drugs in his regimen was actually lowering his blood pressure too much.

Sensing the need for immediate action, Eduardo called the patient’s cardiologist. The patient was offered an appointment time more than a month away, but Eduardo couldn’t let this safety concern linger for that long — he firmly requested an earlier appointment. Although the office could not arrange an earlier visit, the nurse on the phone asked Eduardo to fax a list of the patient’s medications for the doctor to promptly review.

Swift, Satisfying Resolution

Eduardo’s advocacy in response to his patient’s unusual symptom got results: the cardiologist agreed that an adjustment in medication was advisable. After the medication change, the patient’s blood pressure rose to a safer level. He not only felt better, he was better able to complete and practice his physical therapy exercises, which gave him more confidence. He was able to ambulate more safely and independently using his walker without feeling lightheaded, helping reduce fall risk and avoid re-hospitalization.

For additional assurance and independence, Eduardo also confirmed that the patient and his caregivers understood how to use his blood pressure monitor, so that he could check his level any time. Thanks to Eduardo’s care and conviction, his patient’s quality of life was clearly enhanced.

To determine whether you or your loved one might benefit from in-home physical therapy or other home care services from Residential Home Health, call (888)930-WELL (9355) to discuss your specific situation with a Home Care Specialist today, or click the image below to take our 60-second, 15-question Home Care Assessment.

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Topics: Real World Stories, Medication Management, Heart Disease