Interview with Lindsey at The Functional Pelvis

After featuring The Functional Pelvis on The Rehab Potential show, I received multiple private comments about pelvic health and got a small glimmer of how huge the need is in this practice area. If you have any questions about how to help someone on your caseload or how to get further training, definitely contact Lindsey. She is a great practitioner and a great person!  

When did you first become interested in pelvic health?

When I was in grad school. In our studies, I began to notice that I was really drawn to the psycho-social aspect of OT. As a side note, I was always interested in womens' health issues. When I became aware that the muscles in the pelvic floor were just like any other muscle in the body, I realized that I could make a significant on the quality of life of the people I work with. People often become very withdrawn from participating in their ADLs and IADLs when incontinence or pelvic pain becomes a struggle for them. It is so rewarding to be able to empower them to take control over the very basic function of bowel and bladder management.

How have you obtained special training in the this area?

Pelvic Health is often practiced by PTs so when I take my continuing ed coursework, I am usually the only OT present. I have begun to connect with lots of OTs in both the US and Canada who are working in this field. I really feel like it's a natural fit for OTs since within our scope of practice is both Toileting and Sexuality. In addition, our background in mental health really prepares us for some of the more significant challenges that this population faces.

Some of the coursework that I have taken includes:  

  • Biofeedback Training and Incontinence Solutions: Biofeedback Evaluation and Treatment for Elimination Disorders and Pelvic Floor Disorders and a Hands-On Biofeedback for Complex Pelvic Floor Case  
  • Marquette University: Behavioral and Rehabilitation Treatment of Bowel Disorders - An Advanced Course 
  • Herman & Wallace Pelvic Floor Function, Dysfunction and Treatment - PF1 and Pelvic Floor Function 
  • Colorectal and Coccyx Conditions, Male Pelvic Floor, Pudendal Nerve Dysfunction and finally through Maitland:  Sacroiliac Joint and the Pelvis

What led you to venture into independent practice?

My private practice in unique; I am the only one in Manhattan doing it. I provide care for my patients in the privacy of their own home. I find this leads to better outcomes because they are much more comfortable being in their own space versus a more clinical or busy environment such as a gym.  When I though of the home being an ideal place to treat this population, I found that no one else was doing it. That's when the idea of the Functional Pelvis was born.

What have you learned along the way?

The very taboo topic of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction which includes bowel and bladder issues and pelvic pain provides me with the opportunity to focus on some very interesting cases. I work with both men and women (which includes postpartum women and post menopausal women) and I find it such a privilege to enable people to talk about topics that can often be challenging to discuss. I enjoy helping them to feel more comfortable and at ease. Once they find pelvic rehab, I can't tell you how often I hear how comforting is it that someone finally understands some of the challenges that they have been dealing with. The topics that I discuss and treat are often overlooked by most practitioners either because they don't know how to ask the questions or the patient may be uncomfortable to bring it up.  I have heard topics like incontinence described as the "hand on the doorknob" conversation. If a patient actually feels comfortable bringing it up to their gynecologist or general practitioner, it may be as they are leaving. I take great pride in that these same topics are brought up when my patients walk in the door, not when they leave.

How can we contact you? 

I encourage any OTs who are interested in learning more about this specialty to reach out to me at lindseyvestal@functionalpelvis.com. I would love to help inspire more of us to be in this very rewarding field!

The Rehab Potential Show!

I am incredibly excited to be premiering the Rehab Potential Show! I am hoping this will be an effective platform for connecting clinicians with the latest developments in rehab. 

 If you have any information or questions that you would like to share with the rehab community, tweet me at #RehabPotential!

Music: The Quickening Art, Part II

For those of you who have been following this blog since the beginning (thanks, Mom!), you may recall that I posted a clip from the rough cut of the movie "Alive Inside" about a year ago. I was thrilled to see that the documentary is opening this weekend in New York.

I have been working at a state psychiatric hospital for the past year, and was constantly reminded about how important music is to quality of life. The trailer alone challenges us to think about what's working in healthcare and what isn't. I can't wait to see the whole movie!

If you get to see it before me, leave me a comment with your thoughts! 

The healthcare system imagines the human to be a very complicated machine. We have medicines that can adjust the dials…...But, we have not done anything to touch the heart and the soul of the patient.


The Functional Freedom Podcast

I periodically check in for occupational therapy podcasts on iTunes, but have never found one that releases episodes consistently. Are there podcasts out there that I have been missing?

Lately I have been listening lately to a physical therapy podcast, Functional Freedom, which has been a great resource to get my wheels turning about how occupational therapy serves are delivered. The episodes I have listened to addressed topics like: marketing your practice, working outside the 3rd party payer system, making a niche in serving the baby boomer market. They all have had carryover for OT, and I would definitely recommend it to any PT, SLP or OT.   

If you check it out, let me know what you think! 

Remarkable.

April rolls us into a month honoring and celebrating the profession of occupational therapy (OT).

A friend recently recommended (with enthusiasm) that I read a book titled, “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin.  Godin suggests that people discern and ultimately embrace becoming “remarkable” at what s/he brings the world.  (The reference to the Purple Cow is that you would remember seeing a purple cow because it would be... remarkable.)

In an effort to not only celebrate this profession and our journey in it, but to also encourage self reflection to promote a revolutionary year to come, I pose 2-3 questions today.

  1. What is there to celebrate and honor about what YOU do as an occupational therapist?
  2. What if, anything, makes YOUR OT remarkable?  
  3. Or if you find there is nothing yet remarkable about your current practices as an OT, what could you do different if you truly wanted to be remarkable?

I will risk sharing my own answers to stir the pot of a hopeful revolution into ...remarkability for us all, especially the people we serve.

What is there to celebrate and honor about what YOU do as an occupational therapist?

  • the ability to focus on what is most meaningful to a person's daily life
  • the true uniqueness and creativity of each day’s experiences
  • being a true advocate for health “care” and interdisciplinary approaches in the US healthcare system
  • helping so many adults either return home more engaged, safe, and/or independent or helping their caregiver understand ways to better meet daily needs
  • the use of teaching as a tool for therapy in the home
  • the use of a client’s own home setting as a tool for therapy
  • nearly 5 years of clinical experience working mostly with older adults
  • finding a new "OT Toolkit" that has truly helped me provide more client-centered education and training
  • being able to introduce cool and helpful equipment to people who could benefit from it

Or if you find there is nothing yet remarkable about your current practices as an OT, what could you do different if you truly wanted to be remarkable?

In all honesty, I felt I worked much of my last year as an OT “working” versus truly serving and being remarkable. I will admit that I often felt suppressed by and gave my power away to the area of practice that I had chosen for myself. After a recent switch to home health with a local non-profit, I find not only a renewed interest in occupational therapy, but in also being remarkable as I provide the service.  This one feels more like a position of service, not a j-o-b.  I digress. Now to answer the question.

Being truly remarkable=

  • carefully describing the value of occupational therapy at the start of each evaluation
  • providing and carefully reviewing appropriate handouts (OT Toolkit is badass)
  • asking at least one personal question when setting up appointments (even if it’s merely, “How are you today?”)
  • making at least one follow-up phone call per week to clients who are more sensitive
  • specifically affirming at least one team member per week
  • writing down client-centered interests or happenings to follow up with on future visits (i.e. a birthday, weekend event, etc) 

May we go forth and make this the most remarkable year as OTs yet!  The Force is with us;)

Happy OT Month!!

Living Life To It’s Fullest: Are You?

This, as you likely know, is the motto for the profession of occupational therapy.  It’s our tagline...and a powerful tagline at that. (Yes, I’m assuming that you, dear reader, are in the professional posse.)

So what do we do with this powerful motto?  We hold positions in which we are accountable as a life assistant to the people we serve so that s/he might live a more full life.  Our job is to help people live more fully.  This. Is. No. Small. Job.

Where do we even begin then?

I have a suggestion. Uh hem. I suggest we saddle up with Gandhi and start with the person in the mirror.

Gandhi encouraged us to start new legacies by “being the change we want to see in the world.”  More specifically, I am suggesting that the potent way we can BEGIN to help others live more fully is... to examine the fullness of our own lives, accept what is and is not working to create that daily fullness, and then take daily actions to BEGIN creating it or merely deepen currently experienced fullness. The fullness of our own life IS under our own influence and personal responsibility to address.

In future posts I will share a few of the most potent tips I have yet received that have truly helped me stir the pot of “full living” in my own life so that I might help more deeply and authentically provide that assistance to those I serve as an occupational therapist.

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For today: On a scale of 1-10 (1 = Not living my life to the fullest at all, 10 = Living my life to it’s absolute fullest!), where do you rate the current “fullness” of your life?  If a client were to give you the same answer, would you surmise you could help increase that rating?  What do you perceive needs to happen in order to increase your rating by 1 point?

Take a deep breath.  Life is about to inflate with even more fullness... if you are ready to allow it.