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2011 National PT Month Celebrations

October, as we all know, is National Physical Therapy Month. Though it seems almost everything has an “awareness month”, our PTs, PTAs and Student PT/PTAs routinely use this month to spread the word about the importance of physical therapy and promote our role in improving quality of life.

With countless practices, universities and individuals participating, 2011 was no exception. The following summaries offer a snapshot of what some of our colleagues have done or do annually to raise awareness throughout October. If you’re looking for new ideas, take some notes from the stories below and let us know how we can help!

Akron Children’s Hospital:  In order to thank our patients and their families for their support, patients were given the opportunity to personalize “Brag Books” or calendars provided by the department.  Patients were also encouraged to color a picture and have it posted in our Rehab lobby.  Posters were on display throughout the hospital detailing the numerous specialties of our therapists and departments were given goody bags filled with candy to encourage them to join in our celebration of PT month.  The PT department organized an Appreciation Lunch for the rehab aides and administrative staff to recognize their hard work, which allow therapists to more efficiently succeed in their efforts.  Staff activities included embroidering staff jackets, providing a lunch for the staff, and organizing a spooky get-together including dinner and a haunted house. 

Barbara Piper PT, DPT: As a volunteer for the Tri-State Medical Reserve Corp (TMRC), Barbara celebrated Physical Therapy month by volunteering at a local TMRC flu-shot drive-thru. She took advantage of the age demographics for consumers of flu shots to distribute fall risk
awareness patient education handouts. (Picture)

Cleveland Clinic (Acute Care Department): Everybody's favorite PT-Month activity is the annual PT Olympics. All therapists (PT/OT/ST) come together 1 day per/week for the entire month of Oct and compete in therapy activities such as gait training, single leg stance on BOSU ball, wall squats, planks, obstacle courses, and team relay races.  Participants play as "teams" & score the rankings against each specialty: (i.e. cardiac, neurologic, pediatric, orthopedic, etc…).  Another activity was the PT-Month Table where information was given to the community regarding the importance and role of PT, including a Q/A session. Audiences were engaged with a sucker tree and either a physical and/or a question challenge.  Participants also held a Food Drive for the Cleveland Food-Bank as well as a PT-Month breakfast potluck with all IP and OP therapists to enjoy.

Cuyahoga Community College: Students along with Instructor/Preceptor, Gail Howard, PTA, posted pictures and info regarding the American Physical Therapy Association on a bulletin board in a common area located in the Health Sciences Building, which is trafficked by a large amount of CCC students. The bulletin board included benefits of belonging to the APTA and general membership information as well as physical therapy resource links, helping the APTA build a solid brand-presence at CCC.  

Nationwide Children’s Hospital: PTs used the Pediatric section’s "Move Across America" activity to encourage kids to participate in exercise in addition to their PT session. Seven children participated in the activity. In order to track progress, a large map-poster was hung in the therapy gym and each child chose a destination and earned "miles" by being active or completing activities in their home exercise program. It proved a great way to motivate the children and parents to get active, stay fit and participate in their home exercise program.

Quest Physical Therapy: Quest Physical Therapy held a weekly raffle in which patients had to answer questions as they pertained to physical therapy, specific diagnoses, general anatomy and the Quest staff. Prizes included items purchased from the APTA PT month list. The staff also participated in a separate raffle with a chance to win similar prizes. Snacks were provided to the patients to energize them for a great PT session! Patient handouts and brochures printed from the APTA website were also provided to the patients to give a little more insight on what PTs actually do, various musculoskeletal conditions and the reason for the PT Month celebration. Additionally, the clinic was festively decorated to help bring in the spirit of the month! Overall, the celebration was a success with positive feedback from patients and staff alike!

University of Cincinnati: Current PT students and faculty wanted to help one of our own this year with a fundraiser walk/basket raffle benefiting former DPT graduate Amanda Heitkamp. Amanda was diagnosed with ALS just 2 months after graduating from our DPT program at only 29 years of age.  To date, the total funds raised amount to over $13,000.  The support from the Cincinnati PT community has been exceptional and heartwarming to witness.

You can read more about this in the last issue of ACCESS or follow the links below:

The department also held a “lunch and lecture” including a box lunch for each DPT student, all Senior Health Science undergraduates, faculty and special guests, amounting to over 85 in attendance.  The guest speaker was Dr. Lynzie Schulte a current PT practicing in Cleveland.  Lynzie is a former UC Health Sciences undergraduate who received her DPT from OSU.  She was just awarded the 2011 APTA Emerging Leader Award! Recipients of this award are PTs who have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities early in their career, exemplified by Lynzie’s engagement in APTA and OPTA, volunteer roles, strong advocacy and her professional contributions as a practitioner, educator, researcher and strong role model in just 3 years of practice!

Youngstown State University:  YSU DPT 1 and 2 students participated in the annual “Where There Is A Wheel, There Is A Way” Event.  The students established stations around campus and educated other students, staff and faculty about accessibility issues, while participants got to try (and appreciate) navigation in a wheelchair by taking chairs provided by the SPTs through an obstacle course on campus!


We would like to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who shared their PT Month stories. If you feel like we may have missed you or would like to share additional ideas, please feel free to EMAIL us, TWEET us or FACEBOOK us!

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