Today we are so fortunate to hear from Diane Hubbard, PT, who is this week's Featured Pelvic Rehab Practitioner! Diane has completed the full Pelvic Floor Series and puts her skills to use every day. Thank you, Diane for your contributions to the field of pelvic rehabilitation, and for sharing your thoughts with us!
Tell us about your clinical practice
I am working in inpatient rehabilitation. However, I am increasing my time in pelvic rehab, as the caseload increases, in an outpatient rehab setting.
How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?
Our hospital system was negotiating with a urology group of physicians to come and serve in our area. One of the requests of the urology group was that the hospital have a pelvic floor trained physical therapist to work with their patients as needed. Our rehab director asked if any of the PTs were interested in working with a urinary incontinence program. I said that I was very interested and was eventually given the opportunity to become trained to work with pelvic floor patients.
I will admit that I had no idea how involved the training would actually be! I really had to contemplate if I was willing to commit to all areas of the training, most especially internal exams. I finally realized that if I was not willing to learn to do internal exams, it would be like trying to perform gait training on someone if I had never seen them walk. I would be doing my patients a disservice if I was not willing to learn to do internal exams. Then I thought, when you go to a gynecologist, you know what to expect and it is fine since they are helping you. So, that is how I looked at it for pelvic floor patients.
It was worth all of the training the first time that my pelvic floor patient said to me that she was so glad that I got trained in this since no one else has been able to help her!
What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?
I was working in a SNF and I got a referral from the DON regarding a patient with incontinence. I did not know much about kegels but said that I would try. The patient said that for 40 years, she had used a pad an hour for incontinence of urine but that she was willing to try. We did 15 minutes of kegels 3 x week, then she eventually got down to 3 pads in a 24 hour period for incontinence. We were all surprised and pleased with the results!. That piqued my interest in pelvic rehabilitation.
What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?
I really enjoy helping people who are willing to work hard to help themselves. It is so awesome to see them understand the concepts and perform the exercises and continue them on their own. It is inspirational to see them improve the quality of their own lives!!!
What lesson have you learned from a Herman & Wallace instructor that has stayed with you?
No ?JICING? (just in case) from Holly Herman, as she stood with her hands out and repeated that phrase several times. My co-workers now understand that phrase too!
What is in store for you in the future?
There were no other pelvic floor therapists in my geographic area when I started this training. I had to travel and was mentored by a few pelvic floor therapists who let me observe and shared some paperwork with me. I was glad to learn from the many helpful and experienced people that I met in the H&W education classes. I got my first patient in the same month that I completed the last of the 4 classes in the H&W pelvic floor series. My first patient was coccydynia and the second patient that I had was a male. I was so grateful that I had taken all 4 classes in the series before I started treating or else I would not have had experience in knowing what to do to help those first 2 patients! I am learning as I go, that is for sure! I had to start this program from the ground up, using the resources that I had available. I have been able to secure handouts, learn g-codes, formulate documentation forms and do some marketing. I have been lucky enough to be able to increase my caseload almost every month this year. It is so worth it as I have heard more than 1 patient tell me that they can do this program and that I have given them some hope!