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Health & Wellness Coaching VA kinesiotherapy – exercise and interventions

Combines rehabilitation and whole health

 Posted  October 5, 2020 10:00 am Posted in Coronavirus, Health by VAntage Point Contributor

Vietnam Veteran Ralph Heintz, 74, was transferred to a VA hospital from a community care hospital where he had been diagnosed with COVID-19. He was having a difficult time battling the virus.

The committed work of the VA Hines’ Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services Kinesiotherapy Team enabled him to be discharged in early August after months of specialized rehabilitation and care.

Joe Neczek, registered Kinesiotherapist, helps Veteran William Rice, 80, on the post-COVID unit at Hines VA Hospital.

Kinesiotherapy (KT) is a rehab profession that provides therapeutic exercise and holistic interventions to improve well-being and functional abilities. It has helped Veterans since World War II.

VA is the single largest employer of Kinesiotherapists (KTs) and treated more than 100,000 Veterans in 2019. The Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital was one of the first VA facilities to open a post-COVID unit.

During the recent challenges from COVID, Kinesiotherapists quickly shifted necessary outpatient evaluations and treatments to virtual care. This ensured Veterans’ safety while providing specialized rehabilitation for inpatient Veterans requiring extended physical reconditioning.

Coffee and cupcake to go

The use of KT was especially helpful to Heintz. He spent more than three difficult months battling the debilitating virus, receiving care from the Hines’ KT and Physical Therapy teams to help him recover.

“I am so grateful to Joe Neczek and Kelly Masterson for my therapy,” Heintz said. “They were the first people to get me out of bed, and they did not give up on me. I am getting therapy now at home, and they are very happy with my progress. So am I.”

Kelly Masterson is a registered KT who was providing rehab for Heintz at the time of his discharge. She said Heintz would frequently ask for “a cupcake and drink a cup of coffee.”  He was on a feeding tube for a great majority of his hospitalization.

On his last day, Kelly got clearance to bring him a homemade cupcake and a cup of coffee. She brought it out to him when he was getting into his car for the ride home. His eyes lit up and his family said that it was a very touching moment.

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