In the News
Helping To Improve Safety On The Job - A Licensed WorkSTEPS® Provider
- We are one of the select-few licensed providers for the WorkSTEPS® program in the Greater Houston area.
- We help companies both large and small assess the ability of potential hires to safely accomplish the tasks of their job.
- This physical screening is performed after the job has been offered but before hiring.
- It is legally compliant and has proven an effective tool in reducing Workers' Compensation claims and related costs.
The program measures the physical strength and ability of the potential employee to perform the job safely. An objective physical assessment is performed by a licensed physical therapist. This is followed by a battery of physical tests designed for the potential employee to demonstrate his or her ability and strength to safely perform necessary job functions.
We are passionate about keeping people healthy and so we use this opportunity to enhance safety both at home and on the jobsite by teaching and reinforcing proper body mechanics.
Specialized Help for Parkinson's Patients - Two Therapists Now LSVT® BIG Certified
Patients with Parkinson’s disease now have easy access to a program designed to improve movement, balance and independence. Two therapists at Physical Therapy & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend are now certified to help these patients using the LSVT® BIG program.
“The goal is to help patients make gains in the quality of their lives and LSVT® BIG is a world-renowned physical therapy program designed specifically for Parkinson’s patients,” explained Patti Kocich, President of the clinic.
“Although we have a lot of experience working with patients with Parkinson’s, we are always looking for newer, better ways,” she continued. “When the LSVT® BIG certification course was offered, we seized the opportunity to significantly improve patients’ lives with this proven and highly effective program.”
“Life is difficult for patients and their families living with Parkinson’s and so our goal was to ease that burden by having the convenience of an LSVT® BIG certified therapist close to home, one at each of the two clinics.
We are well-located to provide this specialized help for patients living in Richmond, Katy, Fulshear and the surrounding areas.”
One therapist from each clinic immediately stepped forward for the training: Sharon Malek, PT, DPT from the Richmond clinic and Katie Beatley, PT, DPT from the Katy/Fulshear clinic.
"Working with neuro patients is a passion for me and I had heard of this program in graduate school,” said Sharon. “When the clinic offered this cutting-edge training, I immediately signed up."
"It is a relatively new intervention and I have seen how effective it is in a clinical setting, so I quickly volunteered," added Katie.
For patients with this disease, movement becomes smaller, more hesitant and slower and they usually become anxious and depressed.
Patients think that their small, slow movements are normal. LSVT® BIG is designed to change that perception of each movement and to make bigger movements become a new normal.
Maximum effort at all times is emphasized and movements are exaggerated to make gains. Daily homework exercises also comprise an integral part of a successful outcome.
“This program demands a high level of commitment so we check to make sure that the patient is willing to push themselves constantly,” Patti pointed out. “However it can be done at any stage of the disease with modifications for the patient's particular situation, something we as a clinic specialize in.”
“Also this protocol does not have to be limited to Parkinson’s patients,” added Katie. “It can also be used for patients for whom conventional treatments are not working.”
Outlining the goals of the program, Sharon said “We want to change how a patient walks from a shuffle to a step; to change a half-turn to a twist; and to help them gain confidence, competency and independence.”
Katie summed up the impact by saying “With this program we offer hope for a patient with Parkinson’s: hope to improve their quality of life and hope to improve their interaction with family and friends.”
Laura Cousar Now WorkSTEPS® Certified
Laura Cousar, PT recently completed specialized certification via WorkSTEPS®. She is now a certified provider of WorkSTEPS® Employment testing and WorkSTEPS® Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE).
WorkSTEPS® is used by businesses to ensure that employees are functionally able to accomplish the physical requirements of their jobs.
"With the opening of our second clinic serving the Katy/Fulshear area, we are adding new staff and developing our skills to meet the growing demand," said Patti Kocich, President of the clinic. "I am so thankful to have such a competent therapist now able to assist in these areas,"
"Thanks Laura for stepping up to the plate, putting in the hours of training, studying and testing."
Helping Our Neighbors in Katy/Fulshear
A BIG thank you goes out to Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab's Cynthia Hicks, PTA. Cynthia, along with Danielle Silva of Faith Pediatrics Rehab spent many HOT hours on Saturday, August 9, participating in the Family Fun Day Fundraiser.
The purpose of the event was to help raise funds for children with autism and was sponsored by Lifetime Learners Child Development Center (our new neighbors for the Katy/Fulshear clinic).
In addition to helping in this worthy fundraiser, Cynthia and Danielle provided education on the value of physical therapy, aquatic therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy for children with autism.
A hot time was had by all!!!
Buttercup: A "Service" Dog for Harris
Harris was born with Spina Bifida, a condition that effects his strength and mobility. He attends weekly therapy at Physical Therapy Care and Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend and works very hard at each session.
Harris is being home-schooled this year and his mom thought that having a "service" dog would be a great addition to his daily life.
Through a friend, they heard about a Golden Retriever that was expecting. The breed is known for being great service dogs.
Harris visited the expectant mom weekly and saw Buttercup on the day she was born.
"Buttercup was the size of a hamster," Harris explained.
At eight weeks old, Buttercup came home with Harris and the love and friendship blossomed.
Harris' family assisted with all the training that is required of a young puppy. Now Buttercup is 5 months old, and the benefits to Harris are unfolding.
"Harris cherishes the companionship Buttercup brings, especially during the day when his siblings are at school," his mom explains. "Many times he chooses to cuddle and brush Buttercup instead of playing video games. Harris is also learning responsibility by feeding her and taking her out."
Harris practices balance as he bends to pet Buttercup
"Physically, Buttercup also provides Harris training in gross motor and fine motor skills. Harris grips a sock for a game of tug-o-war, or controls his hand to feed Buttercup his vitamins. He has to practice balance and stability when he squats to get his bowl, or holds the leash to take him for walks."
"Also, Buttercup is very astute to Harris's disabilities and walks very differently when Harris has him on the leash."
Buttercup and Harris, more than just a boy and his dog!
Jan Myers, PT, MS Joins PTC
Jan Myers, PT, MS began with a story "There was a grandma who was a quilter who wanted to pass on her hobby but she had all boys. However one of them became a surgeon. That's the magic of the hands."
"As physical therapists, when patients come to us they ask us 'Do you feel the spot?' and our answer is 'Oh yes. Is this where you are hurting?' That is what physical therapy means to me and why I have been practicing since 1974."
After graduating from Texas Woman's University with her Bachelor of Science and as a licensed PT, Jan's career began working with patients in hospital settings and then moved to an out-patient clinic. She then purchased her own clinic and joined a network with other independent clinic owners who supported each other by sharing their knowledge and specializations. After about seven years however, she realized that the industry was changing dramatically and Jan decided to sell her practice.
In 2001, her boss from her first job out of school jumped at the opportunity to lure her to Houston Community College to teach and then in 2003 retired, passing on the reins of Program Director for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program which offers the degree of Associates of Applied Science.
At this point it became important for her to gain her master's degree so Jan returned to Texas Woman's University graduating with her MS in 2005.
"That job was a natural fit for me since it required the same skillset as owning a clinic. It was intellectually challenging and I was managing people and changes in regulations. However, I felt that it was important for me to maintain my clinical skills in order to keep in touch with patients and the industry."
"Patti Kocich, a fellow clinic owner from the network group, invited me to help out at Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend, filling in as needed for people on vacations. I loved the atmosphere here. The days are filled with fun and camaraderie, all those things that make up a team."
After eleven years as Program Director, Houston Community College was slated to go through a major growth phase and Jan decided it was time to pass the baton to someone younger with fresh ideas.
"I have a purpose - my hands," she explained as she waved them. "I like working with people, seeing them improve. As a PT, I adopt a holistic approach with each patient because our bodies are so interconnected."
"My specialty is orthopedics and I think of it like an onion, I keep peeling back the layers to solve the problem."
"I love the personality of this clinic. It has the warm feel of a family. There are fewer techs used in treatments and that provides a higher level of professionalism."
"We spend so much time with the patients as a result of the scheduling system here and this approach shows in the outcomes. That is why we have so many successes here. Our patient and doctor satisfaction statistics show it and the stories on the web site detail the impact we make in people's lives."
The results are in and Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend, located in Richmond, Texas is an acknowledged favorite for doctors and their patients.
In a recent independent survey, doctors that refer patients to the clinic were asked to rank it based on three issues: Clinical outcomes for patients referred; satisfaction of care from patients; and communication, timeliness and content from the treating therapist.
On a scale of one to five where five ranks as "Excellent", this independent, physical therapist-owned clinic earned a ranking of 4.7 overall.
"Patients choose us because they believe that we provide the highest standard of care," said Patti Kocich, President of Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend when discussing the results of the survey.
"Because it is important to us to make sure that we are in fact delivering on our promises, we contracted with an independent organization to conduct this survey."
Asked to describe the patients that choose her clinic, Patti said "they believe in independently selecting a team of their own healthcare professionals. They place great value on our individualized approach and patient-centered care."
"They also love the fact that our highly qualified and experienced staff provides great explanations and that we surround them with a support staff that provides terrific customer service and the positive experience they need."
"The foundation of our success is built on communication and a team approach," she continued. "We take time with our patients, making sure that they understand the issues involved, adjusting their therapy as they progress and helping them to become motivated to succeed."
"We believe it is vital to work closely with our patients' doctors, providing them with reports on a regular and timely basis. This works to create a wonderful dynamic that helps to accelerate recovery."
Patti is happy to report that "the patient-centered care that we offer is recognized and valued by our patients and their doctors."
Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend is pleased to have vestibular specialist, Stacy Koscinski, PT, MS on their staff. In practice since since 2000, Stacy specializes in treating patients experiencing imbalance and dizziness caused by abnormalities of the vestibular organs. Her extensive experience also includes time in Vermont where she expanded her practice to treat orthopedic patients and started a vestibular program at a local clinic.
Balance and dizziness difficulties can be caused by a variety of disorders and patients can experience dizziness, vertigo, imbalance and spatial disorientation. As people age, the probability of experiencing this problem increases and it can directly affect their quality of life. Many become fearful, captives in their own homes, and many times, this leads to falls which can result in more medical complications and expenses.
The majority of these problems are caused by the vestibular organs of the inner ear, with the most common diagnosis BPPV (Benign Paroxismal Positional Vertigo). Patients suffering from BPPV find it difficult to maintain posture and coordinate balance. New patterns of movement emerge as they try to compensate and head movement becomes minimized. These adaptation techniques feed on the problem as the patient experiences muscle stiffness, and pain in the head and neck in addition to a worsening of the problem.
In outlining her approach, Stacy said "I begin with a comprehensive evaluation of the vestibular and central system. Then I design a customized treatment plan which may include CRM (Canal Repositioning Maneuver), balance, retraining and VOR (Vestibular Ocular Reflex) exercises for the clinic and at home. The secret is to keep the therapy plan dynamic, updating it as the patient improves."
"Stacy fits right into our clinic since she believes in individualized care focused on the patient," said Patti Kocich, President of the clinic. "In addition to her expertise in the field, her strength lies in the fact that she listens closely to her patients."
"I derive great satisfaction in the improvement that I see in my patients. When they come to the clinic, so many of them are prisoners in their homes, unable to work or go out due to their fear of falling and sense of dizziness," said Stacy. "I feel that physical therapy grants them independence, confidence and freedom."
Practice What We Preach
It all started when Patti Kocich, President of Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend decided to check another item off her 'bucket list': complete the Gateway to the Bay Triathlon on April 10, 2010 in Kemah, Texas.
"I like setting myself goals and challenges because it keeps me fresh," said Patti, putting this goal in perspective by pointing out that "a triathlon seemed more of an endurance test involving a variety of sports."
But this was a personal goal for Patti, wrapped up in her commitment to her patients. "When we come to work each day we motivate our patients to 'believe' and challenge them to 'achieve' so I decided why not practice what we preach!"
As Patti started to work out, two relay teams were formed at the clinic to support and compete with her. Each athlete chose their favorite sport. Jolinda Garcia and Bridget Norton agreed to swim Cynthia Hicks, as well as Sal Doceti committed to cycling; and Keith Brandt and Angela Walker signed up to run. Richard Scoby the professional trainer on staff jumped in to help by holding one hour training sessions after hours on Fridays for six weeks. In addition, the competitors trained for their sport in their own time, some increasing their workouts dramatically.
The enthusiasm was so infectious during training at the clinic that others joined in. Staff member Mary Moreno trained with them and ran with Patti as she got out of the bay and ran to the transition station.
Alison Carlino, professional photographer and patient at the time, started a photo journal. "As a fellow businesswoman, I was impressed with Patti's leadership in motivating her staff and fostering a team spirit," she explained. By capturing their training as well as the event, she also wanted to "honor the people that have nursed me back to health,"Crossing The Finish Line
Endurance and determination must be the clinic's motto for it showed in each competitor. Things were not going to be easy for Patti to compete having broken two toes the day before. The weather was not helping since it was cold and rainy and the water in the bay was choppy with 15-20 mph winds. Standing on the edge, Sal looked down at the waves and laughed when he thought of Patti, Jolinda and Bridget battling them.
"How big were the waves?" said Bridget, "that depends on your vantage point. Still, even with choppy waves, the best place to be is in the water!"
The riders both ran into trouble but would not accept defeat. Sal, recovering from a bad cold, refused to stop after he struggled up the bridge on the first lap. Cynthia was ahead in her race when her bike chain slipped off on her second climb up the bridge. Refusing to give in, she ran the bike up and coasted down. Then, by reverse pedaling, she would make five or six strokes on the flat until the chain fell off again.
"I did this for five or six miles, praying all the way when along came an angel," Cynthia tells the story. The other racer got off his bike to help and showed her how to switch the gears to make the chain stay on.
"I got back on the bike and counted one, two, and on up to ten strokes and, hallelujah, the chain stayed on," she says with all the joy of the moment still in her voice. At that point she decided it was necessary to give 200%. With five miles left and afraid to switch gears she finished 20 minutes behind the leader passing off to Keith who made up ground by knocking 1½ minutes off his training time.
The enthusiasm is still brimming at the clinic as they make plans for their next goal, another triathlon. However Patti's next item on the 'bucket list' is a trip somewhere for which she laughingly says "there is no preparation required."