ATF Medical Launches Continuing Education Series for Case Managers

Tuesday, January 16th, 2024

Newnan, Georgia (January 16, 2024) — ATF Medical, a national provider of complex equipment and adaptive housing programs in the workers’ compensation industry, has launched its “Making Complex Simple” educational series for case managers. Each of the three free courses in Quarter 1 offers a one-hour continuing education credit for Certified Case Managers and State Nursing licenses.

Designed for professionals who manage complex and catastrophic workers’ compensation claims, the courses dive into different aspects of complex rehab technology and home modifications.

“We believe it’s critical to provide credible education on these complex products and services to our partners,” said Brendan Swift, Vice President, Payer Partnerships & Marketing. “Ongoing advancements in technology drive the need for continued education and awareness. This series is just another way ATF Medical works to provide support, communication and knowledge to our partners, nationwide.”

Making Complex Simple – Quarter 1 Courses:

Introduction to Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) / January 31, 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT

Selecting the optimal power wheelchair for a specific injured worker with an overview of the types, features, and uses of equipment.

Registration link: https://atfmedical.zoom.us/webinar/register/9217049082209/WN_WWJCqRamRvyBakQhYVsE3A

 

Benefits of Standing Wheelchairs / February 28, 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT

Avoiding health risks associated with long term wheelchair use and multiple clinical and psychological benefits when standing features are added to wheelchairs. Registration link: https://atfmedical.zoom.us/webinar/register/4517049083588/WN_kyIvArIyTheXuaqy-HILHA

 

Introduction to Home Modifications / March 27 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT

Providing safety, accessibility and mobility to the injured worker after discharge. Adaptive housing products, methods, common pitfalls, ways to avoid unnecessary costs. Registration link: https://atfmedical.zoom.us/webinar/register/1417049084472/WN_CGCKZPQ3QsWtlClyDsVyEQ

Plans call for holding free educational webinars each month. Open to all workers’ comp professionals, each course makes a one-hour continuing education credit available for Certified Case Managers and State Nursing licenses in all 50 states. ATF Medical partnered with the CEU Institute to provide the CEUs. For more information on the courses, credits or registration, please contact Abbi Akstulewicz at aakstulewicz@atfmedical.com

 About ATF Medical  ATF Medical (After the Fall, Inc.) the premiere workers’ comp complex equipment and adaptive housing provider, supplies fully integrated mobility and accessibility solutions for workers’ compensation payers and injured workers nationally. The company specializes in complex cases and coordinates all rehabilitation and accessibility needs, including home modifications and vehicle modifications. Based in Newnan, Georgia, ATF Medical can be reached via www.atfmedical.com or by calling 877-880-4283.

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Media Contact: Helen King Patterson, APR, King Knight Communications, 813-690-4787, helen@kingknight.com

 

ATF Medical’s Sept. 13 on the Benefits of Standing for Wheelchair Users

Thursday, August 24th, 2023

Photo Credit: Permobil

Unless you sit in a wheelchair 14 hours a day or care for someone who does, you probably don’t realize the impacts that prolonged sitting has on the body. Health risks for workers’ compensation patients who use wheelchairs run the gamut from serious renal, circulatory and digestive issues to painful pressure injuries.

The multiple clinical and psychological benefits of adding standing features to wheelchairs will be covered during ATF Medical’s “Benefits of Standing for Wheelchair Users” webinar. For workers’ comp case managers, adjusters, and other claims representatives, the free, hour-long session starts at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT on Wednesday, September 13.

The session makes a one-hour CEU available for certified case managers (CCM). To register for the free webinar, please visit https://tinyurl.com/CEUStandingChairs.

 

 

ATF Medical’s “Intro to CRT” Webinar Coming on Aug. 16

Monday, July 31st, 2023

Complex rehab technology is, well, complex. With technology advancing at a startling rate, new mobility equipment and features come to market practically every day. How do you determine which one is the best fit for a specific injured worker and justify its cost?

To help case managers better understand CRT, ATF Medical will present a one-hour webinar, “Intro to Complex Rehab Technology (CRT),” starting at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT on August 16. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/y6r4vzmr

Rick Wyche, ATP, C.E.A.C., ATF Medical’s Executive Director of Payer Partnerships will cover the key categories of custom mobility equipment along with their functions and uses. The clinical and cost benefits of ultra-lightweight manual wheelchairs, power assist devices, power wheelchairs, and power seating will be discussed.

A one-hour continuing education credit for Certified Case Managers is available.

To register for the free webinar, go to https://tinyurl.com/y6r4vzmr.

Rehab Technology Specialist Kevin Wallace Discusses Bariatric Equipment

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

WorkCompWire just published an insightful article on bariatric equipment by our Kevin Wallace, ATP, CRTS, Rehab Technology Specialist.

Not only does Kevin bring over 30 years of knowledge and patient care experience to the topic, but he brings a deep level of sensitivity and compassion.

The topic is a tricky one – equipping a claim for an obese injured worker.  When Kevin started working with obese patients, bariatric beds, wheelchairs, and other equipment were so heavy and unsightly that injured workers refused to use chairs outside their homes or have people over to visit.

Fortunately, the industry gave bariatric equipment a makeover and the newer, cooler wheelchairs, beds and equipment help overcome embarrassment and isolation. The concept of inclusivity has finally reached this segment of the market.

Check out the article here.

And be sure to share/like/and comment on the LinkedIn posts on this and next week’s article on adaptive housing solutions by Melissa Smith.

 

New Standing Chair Expands Access and Functionality

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

Photos provided by Permobil

Advances in complex rehab technology continue to redefine accessibility and independence for injured workers. And manufacturers continue to refine their offerings.

ATF Medical stays up to date on the latest, always monitoring new products, features and benefits so we can recommend the best fit for an injured worker.  Our Manager of Complex Rehab David Bedard, ATP, C.H.A.M.P. recently checked out Permobil’s new M Corpus VS Power Chair and shared some thoughts.

This remarkable chair combines the maneuverability of mid-wheel drive with an anterior tilt feature, delivering new accessibility and functionality for injured workers.

“A lot of standing chairs have front-wheel drive and can’t turn in tight spaces,” Bedard said. “This new model features a mid-wheel drive, which cuts down on the chair’s footprint when turning.”

Even more innovative is its anterior tilt feature, which enables the seating system to move into a 45-degree anterior tilt. Typically, power wheelchairs come with a posterior tilt function.

“The forward tilt is fairly new,” Bedard explained. “Permobil calls this ActiveReachTM because it allows patients to tilt forward and reach in front of themselves.  “This way they can do more activities of daily living, help their kids get ready for school, or use a keyboard. This feature will enable some people to return to work.”

In previous blogs and Linked In posts, we have discussed the many ways standing chairs increase functionality and accessibility.  Using one, an injured worker can stand at a stove of standard height, cook their own meals and reach for something from a top shelf.

Healthwise, the standing position empowers the body to work as designed. Standing is good for circulation, bone density, muscle strength, and it helps reduce atrophy. Standing chairs also improve bladder and bowel management because they put people in position to allow gravity to void fluids from the body.  This helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). In addition, standing chairs provide one of the best pressure release techniques, helping patients avoid painful pressure injuries (wounds.)

“In fact, standing chairs help people live longer and healthier,” Bedard said.

They also provide all kinds of mental health benefits. Being more productive, being able to look people in the eyes during conversations, and being able to work again are huge. Standing chairs make it easier for injured workers to get out into the world and interact with people. They can stand at a counter to pay for something and more easily reach items on grocery store shelves. or at work and engage with friends.  In short, they facilitate confidence and independence.

ATF Medical analyzes the complex rehab technology and adaptive housing options when recommending and developing a cost-effective solution for an injured worker. Standing chairs, for example, can avoid the need for extensive home modifications. There’s no need to lower kitchen cabinets, build pull-out drawers, and install special stoves and other appliances. The new M Corpus VS with its smaller turning radius opens access to tight spaces without major remodels and increases functionality.

ATF Medical focuses on the person’s condition and likely progress when developing a solution for an injured worker. This chair won’t work for everyone, but it will literally change the lives of some.

Why don’t you review your book of claims and let us help you decide which injured workers would benefit from these new features?  If you have questions or just want to know more, please contact David Bedard at dbedard@atfmedical.com.

Customizing an Injured Worker’s First Wheelchair for a Near-Perfect Experience

Monday, April 10th, 2023

Steven Killius (left) receives his first wheelchair after incurring a spinal cord injury at work. ATF Medical’s David Bedard (right) customized the chair, which is a manual with a power assist.

Our Manager, Complex Rehab Technology, David Bedard, ATP, CHAMP gets excited when he gets to customize a workers’ comp patient’s first wheelchair. “You want the patient to have a positive experience so you need to get it as close to perfect as possible,” he said.

Recently he customized a manual chair for Steven Killius, an injured worker who suffered a spinal cord injury during a motor vehicle accident.  ATF Medical received the referral while Steven was treating at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, Florida.  David met with Steven and collaborated with his physical therapist, Erica Walling, to create this mobility solution.

“Brooks has a great neurological program. The physicians are very good about prescribing assistive technology, and the clinic has a wide variety of chairs for the patients to try out,” David said.

Steven, who is in his mid-40s, is a paraplegic with good upper extremity function and his team decided on a Permobil TiLite with its SmartDrive Power Assist that extends the length of a push. The user can push once and the chair continues to glide, sometimes twice as far.

“The amount of power you give it determines how far it will roll or how quickly it can climb a hill,” David explained. “Power assists reduce the number of pushes, preventing wear and tear on shoulders, wrists, and elbows.” With them, users can more easily traverse a large area, such as a warehouse the size of a football field.

This model features a wearable, a watch that can control the chair. The injured worker can hang their wrists on the side of the chair instead of pushing the on and off switch.

Another customization is the Invacare Matrx positioning back. Its carbon fiber shell is lightweight and durable. Because this injured worker has good torso control, the chair has a low back to allow him to reach behind himself to grab a water bottle or phone.

Steven was grateful for the power assist and wearable. “This technology will make a big difference for me when I’m using the chair to navigate day-to-day routines,” he said. “And it will help save my shoulders.”

Because he will probably spend 10-15 hours a day in the chair, selecting the right cushion was vital. The team chose a hybrid combination of air cells and high-density, positioning foam made by Roho.  The air cells in the rear allow users to immerse themselves in the material, which disperses pressure over the greatest possible area. This helps with pressure release so patients can maintain skin health and avoid pressure injuries. wheelchair cushionThe front of the cushion, composed of a higher density memory foam, carves out a place to cradle his legs to maintain natural, neutral sitting positions and sitting balance.

Its rigid, titanium frame is durable and energy efficient. Carbon fiber Spinergy wheels cut the chair’s weight. “Removing as much metal as possible keeps the chair as light as possible, making transfers easier,” David added.

David and the Brooks’ team took care to think through the patient’s needs and customize a manual chair to help him keep exercising as much as he can.  Since he was very active before the injury, he will likely want to test his physical limits in the chair.

David demonstrated the chair’s features when he went to Brooks to deliver and fit the chair.

“But I encouraged him to use it as is, first, then add the power assist features gradually,” he said. “Patients already receive so many instructions when they go home from rehab, we don’t want to overwhelm with the tech.”

Complex rehab technology (CRT) can make someone’s life better if the configuration is right – at least as close to perfect the first time. ATF Medical’s specialists pay attention to the details to set patients up for success. Next time you have a claim requiring CRT, mobility products, or home modifications, email us at referrals@ATFMedical.com.  We’re dedicated to helping injured workers regain their independence, mobility, and functionality.

 

 

Navigating Powerchair Among CES 2023 Innovation Winners

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

Photo credit: WHILL, Inc.

The Consumer Electronics Show, arguably the largest gathering of technology geeks, honored 14 assistive technologies at its 2023 show.

The CES Best of Innovation Award went to an electric powerchair that helps users navigate large, often crowded venues like parks, airports and hospitals. With the WHILL Autonomous Model A, a user selects the destination on a touch screen, hits start, and lets the chair do the rest. It uses advanced mapping technologies, the latest sensors, and automatic brakes to avoid obstacles and collisions. Reducing the need for airport staff/increasing independence … what’s not to like?

Other honorees included a bidet toilet lift to give mobility-impaired users privacy and dignity and a digital system to monitor and manage digestive disorders. There’s even a handheld smart makeup applicator! Check out the complete list in this AT Today article.

What new assistive technologies have you used or heard about? Please share!  Email Rick Wyche, rwyche@atfmedical.com

All-terrain Wheelchairs Make Outdoor Exploration Accessible

Monday, November 21st, 2022

Georgia recently made all-terrain wheelchairs available at 11 state parks and other outdoor areas. The Action Trackchairs’ tank-like tracks can climb rocks, forge streams, and clear fallen trees. In partnership with the Aimee Copeland Foundation, Georgia has made the great outdoors more accessible to people who use wheelchairs. Georgia joins other states, including Michigan, Minnesota, and Colorado in this outdoors-accessibility mission. For the details, check out this article.