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Want to Become a Physiotherapist Assistant? 3 Things You Should Know About Working with Prosthetics

2019-03-13 by NAHB

become a physiotherapist assistant

If you’re considering a career as a physiotherapist assistant, you could find yourself working with clients who have undergone an amputation and need to learn how to use a prosthetic limb. Working under the supervision of a physiotherapist to help such clients is one example of how you can make a difference in the lives of others as a physiotherapist assistant.

There are many important considerations that go into rehabilitation for people who have had an amputation. Since you could find yourself working with such clients after your training, here are some things to know about physiotherapy and prosthetics.

Clients Should Undergo Physiotherapy Immediately After an Amputation

Ideally, clients should begin their physiotherapy as soon after surgery as possible since any delay will likely make rehabilitation more difficult. For example, if a client has had one leg amputated and is only using crutches to get around, the muscles in the amputated limb will begin to weaken faster than in the non-amputated limb (which is likely still supporting some body weight). This can lead to uneven strength in the two limbs, which in turn can make it more difficult for clients to learn how to walk evenly when they are finally fitted with a prosthetic.

You Can Help Clients Correct Gait Deviation When You Become a Physiotherapist Assistant

A common challenge for people who are learning how to use a lower limb prosthetic is gait deviation. A gait deviation is any variation of a standard walking pattern and it may include slower steps, swaying, and shorter strides. While some gait deviation is normal in such clients, physiotherapy aims to reduce gait deviation as much as possible so that the client can regain limb functionality and live independently.

During physiotherapy assistant training, you’ll learn about kinesiology, which is the study of body movement. This knowledge can be put to use when working under the supervision of a physiotherapist who is helping clients reduce gait deviation. Many factors can complicate gait deviation in clients with prosthetic limbs, including if the prosthesis does not fit comfortably or if the client has complications from diabetes—including nerve damage—that may affect their ability to use a prosthetic device.

For people with lower limb prosthetics, reducing gait deviation is a common challenge

For people with lower limb prosthetics, reducing gait deviation is a common challenge

Successful Adaptation to a Prosthetic Requires Ongoing Reassessment by the Physiotherapist

Every person who undergoes an amputation is different, and they will respond and adapt to their prosthetic device differently as well. Throughout the rehabilitation process, the physiotherapist will be assessing and reassessing the client’s recovery plan.

When you become a physiotherapist assistant and interact with clients, you may learn new information that could be of interest to the physiotherapist. The client may mention to you that they’ve moved into a new home that is either more or less accessible or that a family member is no longer able to provide physical at-home support for them. Such changes may create new mobility challenges for the client that a physiotherapy plan will need to address. As such, it’s important to relay the information to the physiotherapist. Communicating such information to the physiotherapist will help them determine whether the client’s plan should be adjusted accordingly.

Are you ready to pursue a meaningful new career?

Contact the National Academy of Health and Business to learn about our physiotherapist assistant diploma.

3 Ways You Can Use Your Interpersonal Skills in a PSW Career

2019-03-06 by NAHB

PSW career

Interpersonal skills refer to any skill that makes interaction and communication between yourself and others easier and more open. Given that personal support workers (PSW) spend so much time caring for and interacting with clients, interpersonal skills are an essential part of their work. While many people have the mistaken belief that such skills are innate, the truth is that they can be taught and developed over time.

In fact, an important part of PSW training is developing interpersonal skills. As a PSW, you’ll use the skills learned during training extensively while on the job. Here are just three ways you’ll put your interpersonal skills to use if you pursue a career as a PSW.

Talking with Clients Is an Important Part of Your PSW Career

PSWs help with many practical activities such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, and housekeeping. What you may not realize, however, is that a key part of a PSW’s job is simply talking to clients. Some clients may feel socially isolated because of their health condition, especially if it prevents them from leaving their home very often. Being able to provide conversation helps decrease this feeling of isolation and can improve their overall mental health.

By talking with clients, PSWs help them feel less socially isolated

By talking with clients, PSWs help them feel less socially isolated

Your interpersonal skills help facilitate this social aspect of your career. For example, by maintaining a positive and friendly demeanour, you can help your clients feel cared for and safe opening up to you. Likewise, showing empathy through both verbal and nonverbal communication will help clients know they can trust you and talk freely with you.

Active Listening Helps PSWs Identify the Individual Needs of Clients

Active listening is a key interpersonal skill to have during your PSW career. By actively listening, you show your clients that you are engaged in what they are saying. You can indicate that you are actively listening by maintaining eye contact, acknowledging what the client is saying, and, once they are done speaking, responding in a way that directly addresses what they have just said.

Active listening helps build trust and comfort between yourself and clients. Furthermore, as you will learn during your personal support worker courses, PSWs respect the individuality of their clients by recognizing that each one has different needs. Through active listening you can better understand what those needs are so that you can respond to them effectively.

Interpersonal Skills Help PSWs Provide Support and Reassurance to Family

PSWs don’t just communicate with clients; they also communicate with their clients’ families. Indeed, families will understandably want to make sure that their loved one’s PSW is compassionate and trustworthy.

Your clients’ families will feel supported and reassured by your interpersonal skills

Your clients’ families will feel supported and reassured by your interpersonal skills

Furthermore, family members may turn to you to learn how they can help assist in the care needs of their loved one. It’s one of the reasons why the training provided in a personal support worker diploma program includes how to assist family members. With your interpersonal skills, you can more effectively communicate to them how they can provide such assistance, helping them feel empowered and supported.

Are you ready to take the first step towards a PSW career?

Contact National Academy of Health and Business to learn about our programs!

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