Cystic Fibrosis Rehabilitation

cysticfibrosis

Rehabilitation for People with Cystic Fibrosis

Physical Therapy (PT) uses knowledge of the human body and exercise to improve people’s function through strengthening and flexibility.

Most people relate PT to rehabilitation for back pain, after surgery, after a sports injury, after a stroke or other neurological injuries.

There is an increasing amount of research that suggests PT and exercise for people with Cystic Fibrosis improves airway clearance, posture, strength, flexibility and a person’s overall quality of life.

Occupational Therapy (OT) assists people to increase their independence with their daily occupations, from self care tasks to leisure activities to managing their daily schedule and medications.  Occupational Therapists (OTs) develop techniques and use interventions to develop the skills required to perform these various occupations. 

For the Cystic Fibrosis population, OTs focus on developing energy conservation techniques and assist with daily routine management; medication and respiratory treatment compliance in relation to increased independence and quality of life; transitioning from pediatric to adult care and independent healthcare actions by utilizing a cognitive behavioral frame of reference.  OTs can assist people of all ages ranging from the pediatric to geriatric population.  The Occupational Therapy Cystic Fibrosis program is cutting edge and the first of its kind in the area.

IN THE HOSPITAL

While hospitalized, a person may not feel well and the focus is on getting better and going home. With decreased activity, muscles can lose strength and the body can lose endurance. PT can help maintain strength and endurance to allow the person to return to his/her normal activity level more quickly.  OT can assist with determining needs for adaptive equipment and strategies for increase ability with activities of daily living and tasks, educate on energy conservation techniques, determine proper schedules for increased compliance with treatments and medications and assist in successfully transitioning a patient from pediatric to adult care by increasing independence in all healthcare actions. 

OUTPATIENT

The person with worsening CF may notice that mobility, daily tasks and exercising regularly become difficult.  PT can help improve a person’s stamina and quality of life through exercise and education. Pelvic floor dysfunction is also a common problem for individuals diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Urinary incontinence in this population is as common as 30% in children and 70% in adults. Physical therapists specially trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation are able to provide treatment for urinary incontinence, prolapse, and constipation for both children and adults. Physical therapy treatment includes pelvic floor muscle training and education to address individual concerns and is customized to each patient's needs  OT can assist with transitioning care as a child to having control over their own care as an adult by increasing independence with healthcare actions. This includes maintaining a proper schedule, ordering own prescriptions, interacting with medical team independently, etc.  OT can assist with increasing independence with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, bathing, grooming and Instrumental activities of daily (IADLs), such as cooking, cleaning and laundry all while conserving energy and increasing a person’s quality of life.

EXAMINATION

The person’s perception of their current state of health and illness is discussed; any difficulties with daily tasks and mobility are noted; strength, endurance, posture, breath control and the musculoskeletal system are examined to provide a complete picture of their physical well-being.

TREATMENT

Treatment plans are individualized and reflect the person’s lifestyle and self-prioritized care goals. Traditional exercises are used; e.g., weights, treadmills, bicycles or elliptical. Pilates exercises are used to strengthen the abdomen and upper body in order to improve posture and breathe control.  A variety of interventions are utilized with the client during OT treatment depending on the patient’s needs and goals.  For a patient who is anxious of transitioning from high school to college or an adult with not only a work schedule but also a home, marriage and family; maintaining a proper schedule and routine in order to manage all treatments and medication may be an area where an OT could assist that person..  For a patient who is having difficulty with performing their daily morning routine, an OT can educate a person on energy conservation techniques, utilizing adaptive equipment and adapting activities in order to increase ease with each task. 

EDUCATION

Throughout treatment, the physical therapist will review various home exercise programs that are tailored to fit the needs of the person. The OT will provide each patient with education on techniques and strategies for increased energy conservation and routine management skills.

Upon completion of the treatment plan, an exercise program will be provided that will help maintain gains made during PT.

EXERCISE CONSULTATION

A person may feel healthy and exercise regularly or a child’s family may feel that he/she is too young for rehabilitation. In these cases, PT for an exercise consult may be appropriate. This is a one- time evaluation after which activity and exercise recommendations are made for the person to complete on his/her own.

A person may be feeling overwhelmed by a decreasing ability to perform daily tasks that were once simple to perform or a student may feel overwhelmed and anxious about going to college and how to manage their schooling and CF medications/treatments.  In these cases, OT may be an appropriate consult.  During this consultation, an OT will make recommendations to increase a person’s abilities in energy conservation techniques, adaptive strategies for ADLs/IADLs and routine management skills.   . 

PREPARING FOR YOUR FIRST VISIT

You will need a referral from a physician to begin rehabilitation.

Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time to complete paperwork for your visit.

You should wear clothing that is easy to move in and bring a list of your current medications and the names of your physicians/other healthcare providers.

Your first visit will typically include a complete examination and exercise instruction/education.

ROBERT C. SCHWARTZ CYSTIC FIBROSIS CENTER

We work with the medical team at the Robert C. Schwartz Cystic Fibrosis Center at Upstate University Hospital’s downtown campus to provide safe and effective care.  Our unique collaboration allows comprehensive care throughout every aspect of treatment: starting with exercise consultations for children and their families.  Individuals can be progressed throughout adolescence and adulthood.  Experienced therapists work with the patient and family in the hospital and in our state-of-the-art outpatient clinics.