Above: Angela Mensi, PTA,C-PT with Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown's outpatient rehabilitation clinic, works with Laura Statham on exercises to help improve her balance, an area weakened from multiple sclerosis.
Laura Statham has multiple sclerosis. Her goal is a simple one…to stay out of a wheelchair, and that means staying in the best physical shape she can because she never knows when she’ll have a relapse. IMPACT, a new post-rehab program at the outpatient rehabilitation clinic at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital, helps Statham stay out of the hospital, out of a wheelchair and living her life.
“By maintaining an optimal fitness level, after a relapse it is much easier to get back to where I need to be,” explains Statham. “If I’m not at my best physically, it can be a much longer and harder road back to the functioning level where I am now.”
Angela Mensi, PTA, C-PT, specializes in working with clients who have completed physical or occupational rehabilitation for stroke, surgery recovery, Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions. Insurance policies cover a specific number of physical therapy sessions and people with chronic illnesses are left trying to figure out what to do on their own. What Mensi saw with some of the patients she worked with was that they did not require skilled physical therapy, but they did require medically supervised exercise.
“We put patients back to the level where they were before they came to us,” said Mensi. “However, the problem for patients like Laura is that they still need the help of a professional who understands their limitations to maintain the progress that they’ve made and IMPACT fills this need.”
IMPACT is an affordable post-rehab program that allows patients to continue progressing their exercise program through outpatient rehabilitation services at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown for as long as they feel they need the help of a trained specialist.
For instance, with clients like Laura who have multiple sclerosis, it is important that their heart rate doesn’t get over 90 beats per minute to avoid overheating which leads to significant fatigue.
“I am confident with Angela,” said Statham. “She knows my medical history. She knows how to target my weaknesses and focuses on specific areas that I need help with.”
Mensi uses several eye and vestibular exercises to work with Statham to help her maintain her balance. “Laura is trying to stay as healthy as possible, and doing the right exercises is more important than just getting on a machine for an hour,” explains Mensi.
For Statham, exercising is not about looking good, it’s about being able to function. She has worked out at a gym, but some of the exercises she needs to do, like walking backwards on a treadmill, make people do a double take, and that makes her feel uncomfortable.
“It’s intimidating,” says Statham. She is thankful for IMPACT and Mensi.
“Angela understands and helps motivates me and encourages me,” said Statham. “She lets you know there’s hope for you to get better, and that makes a big difference.”
For information about IMPACT, contact Angela Mensi at 901-516-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.