VA Boston Healthcare System

 

Returning Veterans to Functionality

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A close up of a person with a prosthetic leg walking down a wooden staircase

Learning to walk with a prosthetic leg

Monday, September 17, 2012

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides Kinesiotherapy services to Veterans and Servicemembers by using scientifically based exercises that are modified to enhance the strength, endurance, and mobility of individuals with physical limitations or those requiring extended physical conditioning.

Developed during World War II, kinesiotherapy originally helped wounded or sick soldiers return to their units quickly and at full functionality.

A patient may see a kinesiotherapist after receiving a prescription from a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. Kinesiotherapists primarily work in public and private hospitals, sports medicine facilities, rehabilitation centers or academic institutions, as well as in private practice or as consultants.
 
A Kinesiotherapist (KT) is a health care professional competent in the administration of musculoskeletal, neurological, ergonomic, biomechanical, psychosocial, and task specific functional tests and measures.  Kinesiotherapists provide varying degrees of rehabilitative therapy focused on therapeutic exercise, reconditioning and physical education. Kinesiotherapists emphasize the psychological as well as physical benefits of therapeutic exercise for rehabilitation.
 
Kinesiotherapists practice care along a wide spectrum of neurologic, orthopedic, medical, surgical, and mental health conditions, including special populations with stroke, spinal cord injury, brain dysfunction, traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputation, homelessness, and geriatric needs. Settings for treatment include inpatient settings (including medical centers and community living centers), outpatient clinics, tele-rehabilitation and Veterans’ homes.

Kinesiotherapists are highly trained health-care professionals. Entry-level education requirements include a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiotherapy or exercise science with an emphasis in Kinesiotherapy.  This education must include or be supplemented by clinical practice in a VA approved training program or its equivalent and includes an environment for clinical education. There are on average, about 60 Kinesiotherapy students participating in clinical internship across VHA each year.

VA Boston Healthcare has a designated staff of seven kinesiotherapists and a kinesiotherapy Assistant who work with Veterans at our West Roxbury, Brockton, and Jamaica Plain Campuses.
 
Some of Boston’s specialty programs supporting kinesiotherapy include Aquatic Therapy, MOVE!, Ergonomics, and Outpatient Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. To see more, go to VA Boston Kinesiotherapy.

In 2011, Kinesiotherapists treated over 94,349 unique patients accounting for nearly 500,000 total encounters. VHA is the single largest employer of Kinesiotherapists, employing nearly 350 Kinesiotherapists and 25 Kinesiotherapy assistants.