Therapeutic Versatility and Value of Aquatic Therapy Webinar On-Demand

Therapeutic Versatility and Value of Aquatic Therapy Webinar On-Demand

On January 28, 2016, we hosted the webinar, “Therapeutic Versatility and Value of Aquatic Therapy.” Dan Siedler, PT, MS, Executive Director of WSPT located in Bronx, NY, presented about the versatility of aquatic therapy, specifically related to how he utilizes it at his clinic in New York.

WSPT sees a variety of patient types from high level athletes to 90-year-old men and women who need post-surgery rehabilitation or are having trouble with ADLs. Because of this wide range of patient types, Dan and his team decided to integrate a HydroWorx aquatic therapy pool into their practice because its versatility helps them meet all of the needs of their patients.

“For those of you who have not utilized aquatic therapy in your practice, it’s an amazing tool to have. Any time I introduce someone to the HydroWorx pool, or even aquatic therapy in general, I will say, ‘This kind of pool is really the best tool that most PTs never get to utilize.’”

Aquatic therapy provides benefits for many types of patients. Dan touches on a few of those advantages, such as:

  • Assistance: the water is ideal for assisting movements
  • Natural resistance: increases muscle strength
  • Buoyancy: beneficial with patients who have weight-bearing restrictions
  • Warm water: creates a relaxed environment conducive for healing

Aquatic therapy can benefit almost everyone. Dan provided a list of several uses for aquatic therapy including:

  • Arthritis/chronic pain
  • Post-surgical
  • Neurological
  • Sports therapy
  • Balance and falls prevention
  • Pediatrics
  • Pre/postpartum
  • Weight loss
  • Swimming lessons
  • Research
  • Wellness

“We have a 275 lb. football player who had a traumatic brain injury, and we typically will not let him in the pool with less than two people. He can be a bit impulsive at times and his movements can be erratic, but he leaves here with the biggest smile on his face, every time he gets out of the pool.”

At WSPT, the most common patient type they see are those suffering from chronic pain, more specifically individuals suffering from Fibromyalgia. Dan shares that his pool has been a tremendous healing tool for these patients because movement is the best treatment, but it’s difficult to get them to move on land and keep coming to therapy when they are in so much pain. The warm water enables patients to relax and move freely without pain.

For the remainder of the webinar, Dan describes a variety of exercises he uses for different conditions including chronic pain, shoulder rehabilitation, osteoarthritis, joint replacement and more.

The following images represent a number of the exercises discussed in this presentation. The exercises are focused on mobility, balance training, core stability and increasing muscle strength, all of which can be applied to nearly all of his patients.

We do have a patient with muscular dystrophy, and he can barely move. We get him in the pool and sit him in the chair and he gets things activated, he gets his muscles activated. Changing his position is a challenge for us on land, even lying on a table, but in the pool, the world changes for him.

Dan included more details and images of how they are using the pool to its fullest potential at WSPT. Learn more about how versatile aquatic therapy can be by watching this webinar on-demand.
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Following the webinar there were many questions:

Question and Answer Highlights:

“What staff member do you typically have monitoring your aquatic therapy sessions?”

  • For the pool it’s a PT. And our pool is within view of our PT gym. We do have patients who know their program and they will be directly supervised by an aid. And higher level patients require more supervision and might require a PT to be in the pool with them.

“If you have two patients in the pool for 45 minutes, can you bill 15 minutes for one patient and 30 minutes for the other with the individual code rather than use group code?”

  • I don’t know the answer to that specifically. What we do here typically is we have 6 or 7 PTs on the floor at one time and each of them might have a patient in the pool. It’s highly unusual for me as a practitioner to have two patients in the pool at the same time. I’m not sure I have come across that, having two Medicare patients in the pool at the same time. Each individual PT is billing for their individual patient.

“In your experience what would you say are some of the contraindications to consider before getting someone into the pool?”

  • We have a whole list and protocol for that. Some of the things we consider are:
    • Seizures
    • Cardiac conditions
    • Incontinence
    • Any sort of open wound
    • Any many others

“Do you do anything in particular to prevent falls say from the locker room to the pool? For example would you have a therapist walk with each patient and would they be supervised in the locker rooms?”

  • It really depends on the patients. Most of our patients are safe to get from the locker room to the pool. But it’s a great question because we do require patients to shower here, at our facility, before they go in the pool. If there is any risk the PT will walk with them.


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