The story is all too familiar: A frail, older person goes from living just fine to taking a fall, breaking a hip, having surgery, failing to recover, and declining in health.
Jenna Ott, DPT, entered the field of geriatrics because of that very experience with her own grandmother, who had been living with Parkinson’s disease. She holds a doctorate in physical therapy from St. Francis University and specializes in orthopaedic, geriatric, post-operative/post-injury physical therapy, and sports rehabilitation.
As the facility director and a physical therapist at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services (CRS) in Verona, Ott is expanding the team at this location to accommodate more patients who need physical therapy and rehab services. We caught up with her to ask about the services provided at the Verona location and her eagerness to keep her older adult patients upright and moving.
Q: How Would You Describe the CRS Verona Facility?
A: CRS Verona is a thriving location. It is easily accessible with ample parking. Oakmont and Verona have high geriatric populations in part because of several senior living centers in our communities. We treat patients of all ages, illnesses, and disorders. Many of our patients have had joint replacement surgery and come to us for rehabilitation. We also see a lot of patients with pain, walking issues, and balance disorders.
Q: What Do You Work on Most With Patients?
A: With our older patients, we commonly work on fall prevention. We work closely with local doctors and communicate with them frequently. As a result, doctors know how their patients are progressing and the patients are better informed about their care.
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Q: Why Is Fall Prevention Important?
A: This topic hits home for me because of what my grandma experienced. We’re hoping to prevent that for families. We try to increase our patients’ strength and balance, so they don’t fall and end up in the hospital needing surgery. Gait is a fairly accurate predictor of longevity. If we can keep people walking steadily and prevent falling, we can help them maintain their quality of life.
Q: What’s the Impact of Care Closer to Home?
A: A location close to home helps people to be more compliant with their doctor’s physical therapy orders. As the patients get to know and trust us, they refer their family, neighbors, and friends. They know we will take good care of them. The neighborhoods of Oakmont and Verona are close-knit, and my patients really get to know me well.
Our location is easily accessible by public transportation or ACCESS.
Q: What Are Some Misconceptions About Physical Therapy?
A: Many people feel that you need to come to therapy a certain number of visits per week, over a particular length of time. Also, they are hesitant to try physical therapy because they think they will become just a number. At the Verona location, we tailor each patients’ treatment to their needs and goals and work with them one-on-one. Each time a patient checks in, we can provide new exercises and a more personal approach.
As a smaller facility, we offer a comfortable and stress-free atmosphere for geriatric patients to receive therapy. We have one gym and five treatment rooms, so we’re able to offer privacy and safety from COVID-19.
And patients can make an appointment to see me without a doctor’s referral.
To see the full range of services UPMC offers in the Allegheny-Kiski Valley region, visit our website. To make an appointment for physical therapy at any of our 60 UPMC Centers for Rehab Services locations, contact us.
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Whatever your therapy need – physical, occupational, or speech – UPMC Center for Rehab Services can create a personalized treatment plan for you. We have more than 70 outpatient facilities throughout western Pennsylvania, with convenient hours for your schedule. Our therapies follow the most up-to-date research for rehabilitation, and we treat numerous conditions, from arthritis and tendinitis, to injuries and symptoms related to other medical conditions.