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Sharpen Your Skills
|Highly successful therapists have something in common: exceptional skills in observation. The sharper your observation skills: the more effective your treatment will be. Observation includes what you see, what you hear and what you feel.||For more in-depth tips
on sharpening your
observation skills, view
this sample taken from
the workbook "Functional Treatment
Ideas & Strategies
in Adult Hemiplegia"
(652 KB PDF)
|Observation: What do you see?
Begin by positioning yourself on your patient’s weak side. Is there any neglect or disregard of their involved side? Look carefully for any clues to help determine problem areas that affect their ability to function. How are they dressed? Do they have any special equipment?
|Observation: What do you hear?
Continue to gather important information throughout the interview process. What are your patient’s goals? How do they describe their problems? Develop a rapport with your patient and begin to establish trust before initiating more formal tests.
What Do You Feel?
|Palpate the muscle
As you move more proximally during your assessment, how does the muscle bulk feel? Firm? Tense? Soft? Specific problem areas related to ROM, motor control and joint pain are easier to identify when extra layers of clothing are removed.
|Move the limb
How does it feel? Light? Heavy? Resistive? Are you able to move the limb through full passive ROM? How does it feel at end range? Blocking? Soft? Are there any complaints of pain?
|Observations During Functional Tasks
Don’t forget to observe your patient doing functional tasks. Not only are they more complex in terms of motor control, you’ll begin to assess cognitive and perceptual functions, as well.