COVID-19 has greatly impacted older adults. Due to increased isolation, our patients' physical and psychological health has been impaired. Fear of contracting COVID-19 prevented 41 percent of U.S. adults from seeking medical care. As of 2021, physical therapists began treating community-dwelling seniors who put off addressing a variety of ailments for fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2.
Through exercise, physical therapists can improve muscle strength, gait, balance, and cardiovascular fitness, as well as lessen depression and pain. A physical therapist has a unique skill set that can help combat the effects of COVID-19-induced isolation through the promotion of physical activity. Aquatic therapy can provide a comprehensive treatment intervention option for community-dwelling older adults.
Speakers will discuss the impact of the pandemic on rehabilitation for aging populations, as well as the limitations compounded by the pandemic in 2020-2021. A variety of aquatic therapy interventions will be presented following identification of the physiological changes that occur in older adults. Participants will learn how aquatic therapy can be a treatment of choice for addressing the sequelae of inactivity for our aging population.
Course Objectives & Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, the learner will be able to:
- Identify primary physiological changes in older adults that occur with the aging process;
- Evaluate the benefits of aquatic therapy for the geriatric population that has experienced homebound isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Compare land-based exercise programs for the geriatric population with aquatic therapy interventions; and
- Develop a comprehensive aquatic exercise program for multiple geriatric outpatient case studies.
Instructor: Shelly Muhlenkamp, PT, MSPT
Throughout her life, Shelly has always been interested in aquatic exercise, from swimming in high school to triathlons. In addition to her lifeguard training, Shelly has received swim coach and instructor training from the Red Cross. Through the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute (ATRI) as well as the Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy (AAPT), she has participated in safety and education courses.
Aside from completing the Certified Pool and Spa Operator (CPO) certification in 2019, Shelly works with the APTA AAPT Clinical Competency Certificate Program as an assistant instructor. Shelly is a Board Certified Specialist in Geriatrics and was elected Secretary of the Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy in 2021.
Note: CEU is not pre-approved in the following states, but licensees may seek their own approval in AR, CA, DE, OH, TX
All other states: .18 CEU/1.75 CCU or contact hours