Caregivers Learn New Techniques For Wounded Warrior Care
August 14, 2008
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas --- More than 70 physical therapists, prosthetists and physicians gained a better understanding of how to actively care for wounded warriors outside of the Army community after attending a workshop July 22 to 24 at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Center for the Intrepid.
The Military Amputee Advanced Skills Training High Performance workshop was designed to provide education for rehabilitative professionals who actively care for veterans who are amputees as well as amputees from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. The workshop drew participants from the military, civilian and private sectors.
Workshop participants were trained to use the therapeutic and prosthetic-fitting techniques developed within the Armed Forces Amputee Patient Care Program "through hands-on experience with the program that we use here at the CFI for physical therapy and prosthetic care," said Maj. Stuart Campbell, officer-in-charge of CFI physical therapy and workshop presenter.
Campbell said the participants gained "a greater understanding of the total rehab process that our wounded warriors complete and the importance of team work between rehab professionals, and the ability to clearly communicate with each other."
A field of experts, who have been on the front lines of rehabilitation and prosthetic care for service members injured in conflict, taught the interactive workshop, which began with a day of presentations at BAMC's fourth floor auditorium.
By the second day, participants were divided into groups and required to dress in workout clothes for a series of round-robin laboratory sessions, to include agility drills and floor exercises, with the warriors. The day wrapped up with a game of water volleyball and a presentation given by the three warriors tackling waves in the Flowrider.
"I don't think they (the attendees) understood the level of intensity and the level of function that the wounded warriors work at," Campbell said. "During the interactive activities, the rehab professionals got a better idea of the level of function that they can expect from the wounded warriors that they will be seeing."
In turn, wounded warriors were able to observe health care professionals learning about them and preparing to continue their care at the highest level possible, he said.
The final day concluded with the Sport Performance Enhancement Evaluation, Training and Special Considerations for the Amputee Athlete in running, cycling, basketball and golf at the Jimmy Brought Fitness Center here.
Featured guests included Paralympic Champion Brian Frasure; Ironman Champion Sarah Reinertsen; Dave Leeka, a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran; triathlete and author Paul Martin; and world-record hand cycle triathlete Carlos Moleda. The guests held demonstrations in the various sports arenas with the wounded warriors.
During a wheelchair basketball exercise, workshop participants and warriors headed for the court, switching places from the wheelchair to standing basketball to experience various techniques in using sports as therapy.
"Make the sport (basketball game) therapeutic," said John Fergason, CFI chief prosthetist, told workshop attendees. "Go all out in the game; make it their therapy. The warriors are going to go out no matter what. You have to do more than walk around in nice clothes."
Fergason said there are many ways to get people active. Reiterating the importance of the MAAST-HP workshop, he suggested a few.
"Keep them (amputees) engaged in a sport they like," he said. "There are resources in your community; tap in and use them."