Wednesday, February 09, 2005

leg use vs atrophy

For months now Patti has been using the footrests on her wheelchair. We purchased a custom lower height wheel chair nearly a year ago specifically so that she would USE her feet and legs to assist in propelling herself along. Leg use of some type is critical to avoid atrophy.


The leg rests are basically only for an outing where Patti needs to be pushed.


As I’ve discussed before, one downside to a multiple shift facility is communication. When one shift finds those leg rests on they leave them on assuming there must be a reason, this in turn is followed by the next shift and so on.  Days became weeks which became months and became policy.


Tuesday beginning with their in house physical therapist I began back tracking “WHY” are Patti’s leg rests on? She is not using her legs! … Each layer back had no reason except that they found them on. There was NO medical or safety reason.


I can only guess that one day in the past someone returned Patti from a push outside and did not remove the leg rests. I myself have fallen into the same cycle of this trap.


Some wheelchair maintenance and reviewing for an upcoming Care Plan meeting is what got me going through a mental checklist otherwise this could have just gone on as policy. … MS has impaired the ability of Patti’s legs to walk. However she MUST exercise and use those leg muscles to avoid atrophy.

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