Educational tools like Floyd important in engaging patients

The good folks in the physiotherapy department at Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre, don’t mind “Floyd” hanging around.

by Kerri Robins

Special to Sylvan Lake News

The good folks in the physiotherapy department at Sylvan Lake Community Health Centre, don’t mind “Floyd” hanging around. In fact, they’re quite used to him — he’s very quiet, but keeps a watchful ‘eye socket’ over the department.

Floyd is an artificial articulated skeleton — meaning the head, neck, torso and limbs are connected in a way that allows movement between different body parts in order to demonstrate how they work.

Suffering from sports-related injuries and arthritis in her back and neck, Carol McMillan was a patient at the health centre physiotherapy department for about two years and wanted to “pay forward” on the great treatment she received.

“The physical therapists and staff made my visits and treatment successful,” said McMillan.

“They explained my treatments thoroughly and it just felt right donating funds to David Thompson Health Trust for the purchase of the skeleton for education.”

And therapists have found Floyd is a valuable educational tool.

“We use the skeleton a lot and it really helps our clients understand their treatment program and set realistic, achievable goals for their recovery,” said Bev Loven, physical therapist at the health centre.

An excellent visual, Floyd helps clients see how the body works and how their injuries affect them. On Floyd’s left side, markings show where muscles are attached and his right shoulder, hip and knee demonstrate the inner workings of tendons, ligaments and menisci (cartilage disks in some areas of the body that act as cushions between the ends of bones that meet joints — for example, knees).

Floyd doesn’t “work” alone. Across the room from him sits a physiotherapy bike also used in rehabilitation.

A stationary bike that self-charges through pedalling, it’s used in a variety of treatments to aid the recovery process. While the bike is not used in every case, it’s instrumental in helping patients heal.

Clients recovering from injuries such as fractures, knee and back surgeries, or hip replacements, benefit from the bike through strength-training and regaining range of motion.

Many patients start off just rocking the pedals back forth to gain mobility and work up to full revolutions.

Like Floyd, the physiotherapy bike was donated to David Thompson Health Trust.

Corrie Fortner, executive director for the health trust, is pleased with the donations and the benefits Floyd and the bike provide.

“It’s nice to see our donations at work,” said Fortner.

“Educational tools like Floyd are important in helping engage patients in their rehabilitation and the bike is invaluable in patients’ recovery programs.”

Kerri Robins is a senior communications advisor, Foundation Relations, Alberta Health Services.