Shifting the Perspective – Injured Workers First!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

ATF Medical’s Sr. Director of Business Development Rick Wyche, ATP, CEAC will participate in the “Shifting the Perspective” webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The free webinar, produced by Workfinders USA, focuses on the positive ways that patient advocacy affects workers’ compensation claims outcomes.

Rick helps workers who have experienced complex or catastrophic injuries obtain and use the most appropriate medical equipment and adaptive housing solutions for their conditions and situations. He will share how advocacy improves recovery, reduces disability, and produces the most positive experience for the injured worker.

Natalie Torres, Senior Director of Client Solutions for Workfinders USA discusses return-to-work solutions that support the return of every worker to good health and meaningful work.

Nicole Corey, ARM, CRIS, WCCP with California Work Comp Advocacy will bring her more than 20 years’ experience as an adjuster and broker claims advocate to the panel. Nicole will focus on how an approach centered on communication, collaboration and compassion helps employers and injured workers navigate the often confusing and complex claims process in California.

The free webinar starts at 1 p.m. Eastern and 10 a.m. Pacific. Register here: https://www.workfindersusa.com/shifting-perspective#Bot

ATF Medical Makes Dream Come True for Dad

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Robert was injured when a 1700-pound pallet fell on him, leaving him a complete paraplegic. Then he developed an infection in his leg that resulted in an amputation.

He had been struggling for a year trying to get his wheelchair (not from ATF Medical) to work with his lifestyle when his case was referred to ATF Medical and he met Rehab Specialist, Kevin Wallace, ATP, CRTS.

His manual TiLite TRA was fine for indoor use, but Robert needed to be able to wheel around his roughly two-acre property. Much of his land is hilly, and he likes to hunt and fish and enjoy his creek. Also, his property sits next to a national park with trails he wanted to explore.

But most of all, he wanted to be able to take his two-year-old daughter on his nature excursions.

Upon receiving the case, Kevin called Robert to discuss his injuries and capabilities, lifestyle and terrain, and his desire to bond with his little girl. Having previously worked in pediatrics, Kevin knew nothing on the market had a toddler seat attachment.

So, he went to work designing a way to attach and remove a toddler bicycle seat easily and safely. Robert and his fabulous case manager bought into the concept, and Kevin made a mount for a rack, connected it to a freewheel extension.

The big moment came when he attached the toddler seat to the chair. The expression on Robert’s face was priceless.

“His chair has a dump to it, to keep him positioned in the back of the chair, and his daughter can sit in front, facing him. He can keep an eye on her and see what’s happening in front of them,” Kevin explained.

Kevin also switched out the rims and tires with larger, sturdier rims and big knobby tires, careful to keep the seat-to-floor height. Now, Robert can easily access parts of his property that he hadn’t laid eyes on since his injury. He can also use a single handle to easily detach the freewheel device and seat, when riding without his little passenger.

This is just another example of how ATF Medical goes above and beyond to help injured employees live their best lives. With innovation and caring about the injured person’s desire to enjoy the outdoors and introduce nature to his little girl, Kevin made Robert’s desires a reality.

CEAC Certification Goes to Karissa Peffer

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Our Senior Coordinator of Adaptive Housing Solutions Karissa Peffer recently received the Certified Environmental Access Consultant (CEAC) certification. Karissa, who coordinates adaptive housing solutions, works closely with contractors and rehabilitation specialists and therapists, to make sure injured workers’ home modifications are appropriate for the injured worker’s physical condition and lifestyle.

The CEAC course covers the impact of a disability on home and work environments as well as function and safety, along with legal and ethical obligations. Learn more here.

Applying that knowledge to housing solutions within the workers’ compensation industry requires creativity, clinical knowledge, logic, and a great deal of organization. “Karissa has them all,” said ATF Medical’s Executive Director of Rehab Technology, Erin Zablocki, CMDE, CEAC, ECHM. “The CEAC designation tells our clients and future clients that Karissa is highly qualified to help them customize solutions that maximize their injured workers’ independence, physical capabilities, and enable them to enjoy life to the fullest.”

ATF Medical strongly supports continuing education, giving its team members time off to attend courses like this and reimbursing fees.  We want to make sure our clients receive the most innovative solutions possible.

Join us in congratulating Karissa.  You can contact her at Kpeffer@atfmedical.com.

 

Don’t modify a home without an OT/ATP

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

Considering a home mod without clinical input? What could go wrong? Unnecessary changes and expenses? A shower chair that hangs out of the shower? Complete kitchen renovations and upgrades, when minor changes would work? ATF Medical’s Erin Zablocki tells you how to make sure your adaptive housing programs fit the injured worker’s condition and lifestyle in this WorkCompWire article.

No Commodities in Complex Care

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

WorkCompWire recently published Rick Wyche’s thought-provoking article on selecting sophisticated medical equipment for complex claims. “It’s not about the cost of a single item,” he says. “It’s about delivering a total solution – the right care, education and equipment to facilitate the highest levels of functionality, mobility and independence for a specific person.” How do you get there? It’s a  high-touch proposition, requiring clinical evaluation, in-depth product knowledge, and experience. Learn more here, and email Rick.

Seating & Positioning Expert Joins ATF Medical

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

ATF Medical is excited to welcome Edwina Murphy, OTR, ATP as Director of Rehab Technology. A solid expert in seating and mobility, Edwina brings clinical expertise as an occupational therapist and in-depth rehab technology knowledge as an assistive technology professional. Originally from Ireland, she is based in Houston, Texas and works with our clients and their injured employees who have complex needs. Learn more.

Meet Karissa Peffer

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

Please welcome Karissa Peffer to ATF Medical. She recently became our Senior Coordinator of Adaptive Housing Solutions.

We match clinicians (usually occupational therapists or assistive technology professionals) with contractors to assess the injured worker’s condition and home and recommend cost-effective, streamlined solutions, making the best use of medical equipment and home modifications. Karissa identifies contractors, manages the estimating and recommendation processes, oversees projects, and best of all – keeps you informed of the progress. You’ll always know what’s going on with the renovations with Karissa on the case!

Learn more about Karissa here & shoot her an email to welcome her to our team – and yours!

ATF Medical Supports Wheelchair Rugby Tournament

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

The 17th Columbus Collision Wheelchair Rugby Tournament was held last weekend (Dec. 7-8, 2019), and ATF Medical was there to support the event.  Our Rehab Support Coordinator Brad Burns plays on the Buckeye Blitz team, and Executive Director of Rehab Technology Erin Zablocki and Shawnette Duelley, Manager, Rehab Technology were on hand to cheer them on. 

“You can’t understand how exciting these games are until you see one in person,” said Jeremy Finton, co-director of the Paralympic Sports Club in Columbus, Ohio.

Played on a basketball court – this time courtesy of the Cleo Dumaree Athletic Complex – wheelchair rugby got its start in Canada during the 1970s, gradually spread around the world and is now a Paralympic event.  It’s played by athletes with no or limited function in their arms or legs.

Also known as “quad rugby” or “murderball,” wheelchair rugby features a set of four athletes from one team battling four from another.  They pass, dribble, block, and catch the ball, in a rough-and-tumble race to get it across the court. Specially crafted chairs take punishing hits, sometimes knocking players over.

“Fast-paced” is an understatement.

“Brad is an aggressive and enthusiastic player,” noted Finton, who also plays for the Buckeye Blitz and manages the team. “We were delighted to meet his coworkers, and we really appreciate ATF Medical’s sponsorship of the tournament.  Corporate sponsorships play an integral role in allowing us to provide recreational and competitive opportunities for adapted athletes throughout Ohio.”

Sports like wheelchair rugby give participants a sense of community and empowerment.  Players have a chance to interact with people who “get it,” according to Finton.

“Team dynamics do so much for your personal development, leading to organizational awareness, accountability, drive, and goal setting–things that spill over into the rest of your life, including in the professional world,” he added.

Find an event or find a team (they’re are always looking for new players) by searching www.usqra.org .

 

 

Erin Zablocki earns Master CEAC

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Our Executive Director of Rehab Technology, Erin Zablocki, CDME, CEAC, ECHM, just became a Master Certified Environmental Access Consultant. She is one of the first five people in the country to receive the Master certification.

Erin already held the Certified Environmental Access Consultant (CEAC) designation, which
was created to reduce the disparity in training and practice among professionals who evaluate the environmental access requirements of physically challenged people. Rehabilitation therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and remodeling contractors are among the professionals who can earn the CEAC.

The Master Certified Environmental Access Consultant training takes CEACs to the next level, enhancing their knowledge of home modifications and accessibility products. The course Erin took provided specific training on six core product categories: residential ramps, grab bars, platform lifts, stair lifts, bathroom remodels, and transfer lifts.

New products, technologies and techniques are developed all the time, and ATF Medical supports our professionals as they learn better ways to help injured workers achieve independence through our rehab solutions.

We’re extremely proud of Erin who leads our rehab and adaptive housing solutions teams. Give her a shout out at ezablocki@atfmedical.com.

 

 

 

 

Wheelchair rugby, anyone?

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

How about sky diving or bungee jumping in a wheelchair?

Our new Rehab Support Coordinator Brad Burns has done all these and more.

At the age of 24, Brad suffered severe injuries – a broken neck and spinal cord injury among them – in a car accident.  He went through two years of rehabilitation, and he knows the challenges of learning to use a power chair, migrating to a manual wheelchair and occasionally a walker.

During his recovery, he contemplated his future. Brad had worked construction before the accident and was studying to become a paramedic.  He knew those jobs were out, but he was determined to return to work.  So, he went to school and earned a degree in health information management and became a medical coder, and later became involved in case management.

While in rehab, Brad also thought about the things he hadn’t done yet.  “My biggest regret was that I’d never traveled, never even been on an airplane,” he said.  “So, three years after the accident, I started traveling by myself, first to a visit a friend in Portland, Oregon, and then on to Vancouver where you can bungee jump in a chair.  They strap the chair to you and throw you off a bridge. It was exciting.”  See his jump.

He later took a solo trip to Egypt where he saw the pyramids and ate dinner on the Nile.  “A problem on this trip became my ‘moment,’” he said.  The plane he was on was forced to turn around because of a sandstorm, and the delay caused him to miss the connecting flight.  He was stranded in Egypt, unable to speak Arabic, and staying in a hotel that wasn’t wheelchair accessible.

“I had to pop three wheelies just to get into the hotel and the elevator was barely big enough to fit the wheelchair,” he said.

Navigating those obstacles on his first international trip and getting home safely made him realize he could live a full life, and he continues to travel overseas.  He also volunteers as a peer mentor at OhioHealth, a non-profit hospital system with a peer support and spinal cord program, and frequently speaks to different groups.

Brad had played football and ice hockey in high school and his love of sports led him to Wheelchair Rugby, which he calls “controlled chaos” with bumper carts and wheelchairs on a basketball court.  His team has five tournaments a year, and he’s also participated in four half marathons.

“The great thing about sports is meeting new people.  Even if you don’t want to play rugby, it’s important to hang out with people who are similar,” he said.  “It’s good to see people in chairs who have jobs and play sports.  The mental aspect of recovery, the sense of losing your identity, takes longer than physical recovery, and it helps to surround yourself with people who have similar experiences and who have the right attitude.”

Brad’s journey hasn’t been easy.  He was in a Cleveland, Ohio hospital for five months and spent another two years in an outpatient program.  Before his injury, Brad was an athlete, a construction worker, a big guy who helped people move.  He wasn’t used to having other people help him. There were days he indulged in a 10-minute pity party, but he kept going with the support of a great family and skilled physicians and rehab specialists, including a locomotor training program sponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation.

“If you don’t do anything, nothing is going to happen,” he says.

Although he can use a walker for short periods, Brad stays in his wheelchair most of the time and totally understands the necessity of a good fit.  “If the chair doesn’t fit you right, it can cause back pain, wounds, all kinds of problems,” he says.  “You want to be as independent as you can and need to be able to get the right tools.”

That’s why ATF Medical professionals work so hard to equip injured workers with the tools they need, including selecting the size and type of chair that fits the best and working with injured workers to ensure a good fit.  We also check back a little later to make sure the equipment is still appropriate, and we service and maintain it so we can keep an eye on things and recommend modifications or different equipment if conditions change.

At ATF Medical, Brad helps injured workers receive the right wheelchairs and other medical equipment in a timely manner by coordinating among patients, providers and insurance adjusters. We are delighted to have Brad on board and appreciate his skills and the knowledge and compassion he’s gained from personal experience.

Say hello to Brad by emailing Bburns@atfmedical.com.