With all the challenges that 2020 has brought to our doorstep, one that stands out to me specifically regarding the CRT industry is a change in the evaluation process. With telehealth evolving in the CRT space, I’m sure many of you have found yourselves in a “non-traditional” mobility evaluation. While I see a rise in new techniques to bridge the social distancing as well as physical-location gaps, I also see a stronger multidisciplinary team approach emerging.
Many of you have worked closely with your ATP/supplier and/or LCMP in the past, which is always a preferred method for mobility evaluations. I see this team approach to be more important than ever. How do you ensure proper outcomes when only one team member is physically with the patient? This conundrum affects all parties. For the LMCPs, how do you ensure that you can effectively document the physical needs of your client? For the ATPs/suppliers, how do you ensure that the measurements taken and the environmental considerations are all factored in?
I have made many remarks in the past about the importance of a strong “marriage” or relationship between supplier and clinician. This relationship is built on trust, knowledge, skill set and follow through. Just like any relationship outside of work, you are only as strong as your weakest link as you rely on each other’s specific skill sets to combat whatever shortfalls you may have in your own knowledge and/or comfort levels. With the evolution of the telehealth mobility evaluation comes a need for cross-training or education regarding each other’s roles. A great marriage understands the other team member’s needs. It is important for an ATP/supplier to have the knowledge base of the physical body and its workings, so he or she can act as an extension of the clinician’s hands if the LCMP team member is not present. Everyone must search for the same information. Alternatively, it is imperative that if the LCMP is working without an ATP/supplier by their side, then they need to understand the physical measurements required to create a custom figured mobility solution and how the seating system and postural support components are likely to increase or decrease the client’s function.
With all of the changes that we have witnessed in our daily lives, there is one thing that remains the same. The client’s NEEDS. You don’t just “sort of need” a complex wheelchair or mobility device. Our true north has not changed. Our clients are the singular component that keeps us all coming back. We need to ensure that we continue to keep our client’s goals, wishes, hopes and dreams as they relate to mobility and seating at the forefront. It is a challenge to work under this new telehealth umbrella. This doesn’t mean it cannot be done well or without the same outcome expectations you have had before. It just means that choosing your work-life partner or partners may carry a heavier weight than before.
NRRTS has released a decision tree for your reference regarding telehealth and CRT evaluations. Please see below.
J.B. Radabaugh, CTRS, ATP/SMS
Clinical Education Manager, Eastern U.S.
About J.B. Radabaugh: J.B. is a recreational therapist, ATP/SMS and the Clinical Education Manager for Quantum Rehab in the eastern U.S. In his spare time, J.B. enjoys watching his two daughters grow, backpacking, camping and fly fishing.