Webinar Recap – Preparing Medically Complex Participants for Aquatic Sessions

Webinar Recap – Preparing Medically Complex Participants for Aquatic Sessions

We were pleased to welcome back Rachel McDermott (PTA) for another incredibly informative webinar, Preparing Medically Complex Participants for Aquatic Sessions. This webinar contained a wealth of information, and if you were unable to attend, we highly suggest viewing it on demand.

One of the most important things when it comes to treating ANY patients, but definitely medically complex patients, in an aquatic setting is to ensure that the water chemistry is being tested daily. Preferably, this is completed at least an hour prior to the first patient of the day, which will allow water chemistry adjustments to be made safely. In addition, alkalinity and water hardness should be tested weekly.

While there are many precautions that can be taken for specific patient populations, there are some things that can be done for any medically complex patient to ensure they receive safe, effective treatment.

  • Wash any open ports/incisions with warm, soapy water prior to treatment
  • Dry the area thoroughly after washing
  • When applicable, completely cover the area with a waterproof dressing
  • Ensure all feeding tubes, catheters and port sites are secured in order to eliminate the chance that they get pulled on during treatment
  • Use fitted clothing or swimsuits to ensure all medical equipment is kept tight to the body
  • Lower the water temperature to 88-90 degrees or have a fan available for certain diagnoses
  • Keep plenty of towels and other supplies (different sizes of tape, bandages, etc.) nearby in case they are needed
  • Consult with the physician to make sure they are on board with the treatment plan

In addition to these general best practices, Rachel delved into specifics about treating particular patient segments and what she has found most effective during her almost 25-year career treating this population. The specific patient groups she discussed were those with additional complexities:

  • Oxygen
  • Urinary Catheter
  • Incontinence
  • Stoma / Colostomy Bag
  • Feeding Tube, G, GJ, J, Peg Tubes
  • Vascular Access Devices (PICC’s and Ports)
  • Incisions

Many people have understandable concerns about treating medically complex patients with aquatic therapy. However, Randy Cohen of the University of Arizona indicates there is no need for alarm. “In 20 years of treating patients using pools I have not seen wound infection, wound dehiscence, separation or a decrease in the speed of wound healing arise, provided appropriate wound coverage is utilized.”

To see specifics on treating each of these patient types, watch this webinar on-demand.

All of our webinars, including this one, are available in their entirety on the the Research and Education section of our website.

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