During the week of July 7-11, I was with Jody Moyer and the other staff members at the Hanover Hospital Medical Fitness Center (MFC) in Hanover, PA. The Medical Fitness Center is a place that is designed to promote health and fitness to individuals with medical conditions and to some who are seeking general conditioning. The staff makes individualized programs for every person. In the MFC you see different diagnosis such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and more. The average age of the patient is around 69. Jody Moyer is an Exercise Physiologist and an Athletic Trainer.
I experienced many new things this week. One of the things that I spent a lot of time with were the aquatic exercise programs and classes. There are many different kinds of programs. There are cardio, strengthening, yoga, relaxation, and arthritis classes. These classes utilized different items such as pool noodles, kick boards, underwater dumbbells, and more. Usually once, if not twice, I would join in on some of these classes. It was very interesting to see the different types of classes that they offer at the MFC and the beneficial effects they have on the patients.
I sat in on two new patient assessments with a staff member. I learned what kinds of things are done to determine how to move forward with this patient. The staff member tested strength, stability, posture, flexibility and more. With this assessment, the professionals are able to make a plan for the patient and give them exercises to do whenever they are able to come.
At the MFC, the trainers run an employee wellness program. This program gives options to different employees of Hanover Hospital to better their health. If they participate, their insurance premium is lowered. There is the water challenge (where you have to drink 8, 8oz bottles of water a day for a month), the START program (30 minutes of exercise every day for 3 months), and many other options similar to those.
Also there is a new program at the MFC for improving speed and agility. Two younger girls (16 and 14) are a part of the program. I think it is a really great idea for this program. I personally did one of these programs before soccer season and it prepared me so well for the season. Not only did it get me in shape and increase my strength, it prevented injuries that could have been caused during the season.
I also sat in on a physical therapy evaluation. This was different from the other MFC’s assessments because they were focused on one area of the patient. I was talking to the physical therapists about my possible career goals and they gave me great input and advice. I really enjoyed this look into the physical therapy occupation because this is what I believe I would want to do in the future.
A major thing I learned about during this externship is pulmonary rehabilitation. I saw for the first time someone with a tracheostomy. I learned all about how, why, and when a patient needs one. I also learned what type of things a patient could do in a pulmonary rehabilitation center to help them. This patient with a tracheostomy is not on the transplant list yet. I learned that John’s Hopkins Hospital wants the patient to be able to walk 30 minutes straight before they are eligible for a transplant. When I was talking to this patient, who couldn’t speak but mouthed words, she said that when she first started coming to therapy she was walking only 2 minutes straight. She is now walking 15 minutes straight. This shows first hand how much pulmonary rehabilitation helps.
After I learned some more details about the patients, the pulmonary therapist gave a lesson to some of the patients with COPD. She said that many doctors don’t provide all of the details you need to really understand the illness. This class was very enlightening and I learned so much, as I’m sure many of the patients did. The therapist was very detailed and made it easy to learn about lung diseases making it very interesting.
Overall, this externship was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I was able to participate. This location was perfect for my career aspirations because I was able to look into many different health profession options. This week has helped me narrow down the possibilities of what I want to do in my future while also giving me new ideas.