A physical therapist is required to take on multiple roles while caring for their patients, and this is especially true when treating a complex condition such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It is these multiple roles and complicated diseases that keep Jerry Hsu, an Orange County, California-based physical therapist, excited about his job every day.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the patients empowered with new functional skills that contribute to improving their quality of life,” Jerry says.
On any given day, Jerry is a coach, a teacher, a friend and even a detective. He uses all of these skills with Duchenne patients who are challenged with fighting a degenerative muscle disease with every step they take.
For Jerry, these roles go hand in hand with taking a non-linear treatment approach to help not only boys with Duchenne, but their families.
“I believe any treatment provided should not place unnecessary strain on the patient and family without providing significant benefit,” explains Jerry Hsu. “The treatment needs to be family centered and align with the goals and values of the family.”
As the Director of Rehabilitative Services at HealthBridge Children’s Hospital in Southern California, Jerry sees a variety of complex pediatric patients including about five to eight Duchenne patients throughout each year. Through treating those Duchenne patients, he was exposed to the severe challenges that Duchenne families experience on a daily basis. Jerry decided to enroll in the CureDuchenne Cares Certified Physical Therapy program in order fully to support Duchenne families every step of the way — whether through education, evidence based treatment, or providing the equipment needed by the patient.
Physical therapy continues to be the primary treatment for those with Duchenne with the goal of maintaining and preserving functional abilities as long as possible in all stages of the condition.
The CureDuchenne Cares Physical Therapy certification program focuses on the most current standards of care, shared best practices and the skills necessary to navigate the healthcare system. It is critical component of the comprehensive CureDuchenne Cares program.
Due to the progressive nature of Duchenne, it is important that both physical therapists and the families stay a step ahead by anticipating and preparing for the various needs in upcoming stages of Duchenne. The certification equipped Jerry to fully educate and engage with the families in discussions about anticipatory preventative care, establishing a home exercise program, helping to reduce the incidence of contractures through braces and positioning equipment, providing targeted monitoring, and optimizing independence through assessment for manual and power mobility devices. He also learned how to prepare families with not just the skills they need at the present time, but also the skills they need during later stages of the disease, such as pulmonary exercises and airway clearance techniques.
“Therapists have a tremendous role to play in the optimum clinical management of patients with Duchenne. This can be achieved through continued education and greater participation in organizations such as CureDuchenne Cares,” Jerry states. “I look forward to ensuring that every patient with Duchenne receives the best possible care.”
If you are a physical therapist and are interested in learning more about the CureDuchenne Cares Physical Therapy certification program and its benefits, click here.
Are you looking for a physical therapist who is specially trained to care for your loved one with Duchenne? Check out the listings of CureDuchenne Cares Certified PTs across the nation here.
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