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.
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.
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.
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!
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 .
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 email@example.com.
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.
Publix, a popular grocery store chain with stores in the Southeast, has long lived by its slogan: “Where shopping is a pleasure.” Now, Publix is making shopping more pleasurable for customers in wheelchairs. Designed to hook onto the front of a wheelchair, the cart enables people in chairs to roll themselves up and down the aisles without having to push the cart. Watch this news story: https://www.fox13news.com/news/publix-rolls-out-new-shopping-carts-for-wheelchair-bound-customers-1
We are delighted to welcome Melissa Freeman, ATP, CEAS to ATF Medical as Senior Rehabilitation Consultant.
Melissa brings more than 30 years of experience in assistive technology, vocational rehabilitation, disability training, and seating and mobility services. Her main responsibilities are to analyze our all-inclusive medical equipment and adaptive housing recommendations and prepare rationales for the recommended solutions. These explanations will help adjusters better understand the equipment and housing needs and enable them to authorize critical equipment needs faster and more smoothly. Learn more about Melissa and email her hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s all about creativity – DME and mobility solutions don’t have to cost an arm – or in this case – 2 legs. Check out this cool story about an innovative veterinary team that developed a mobility solution for box turtle.