A compendium of the latest

NEWS

about care for injured workers

News

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.

 

Chair friendly grocery carts arrive at popular grocery store chain

Friday, November 1st, 2019

 

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

Highly Experienced Rehab Consultant Melissa Freeman Joins ATF Medical

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

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 mfreeman@atfmedical.com.

Visit ATF Medical at the Georgia Work Comp Show

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

ATF Medical will be exhibiting at the State Board of Workers’ Compensation Educational conference (aka the Georgia Work Comp Show) and we’d love to meet you there! The conference will be held August 25-28 at the Hotel at Avalon & Alpharetta Conference Center in Atlanta Georgia.

Visit Booth E-125 to find out how we “own” the whole durable medical equipment piece of your workers’ comp claim. We do it all – evaluate housing and DME needs, select and order the right equipment, educate and work with your injured worker and caregivers, and provide efficient adaptive housing solutions.

We specialize in catastrophic claims and our service will knock your socks off! Drop by our booth and we’ll give you a new pair.

Meet Us in Maryland

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Educational Association’s annual conference – known as MWCEA – will be held September 22-26 at the Clarion Resort in Ocean City, Maryland.

Meet us there to learn how we can staff all the durable medical equipment – including all the rehab technology, mobility equipment and adaptive housing solutions – your claim needs.  We provide comprehensive solutions for all your equipment needs.  And, we don’t just deliver & drop; our specialists train injured workers on the benefits and use of each tool, maintain and repair equipment, and monitor its ongoing use.  In short, we become the injured worker’s go-to for all things DME.  It’s just another way we take work off your desk.

Mobile Reptile

Monday, July 15th, 2019

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.

 

Contact us today!

Our expert staff is ready to oversee the selection, fit, client education and user satisfaction. We take the long view - responding to inquiries promptly and staying in touch, one-on-one - for the duration of the injured workers’ recovery.