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Herman & Wallace Blog

The OT's Path to Pelvic Rehab

Tiffany Ellsworth Lee MA, OTR, BCB-PMD joined the Herman & Wallace faculty to teach a course on biofeedback along with Jane Kaufman, PT, M.Ed, BCB-PMD. The month of April is Occupational Therapy month, and we are celebrating by highlighting the role that Occupational Therapists play in pelvic floor rehabilitation. Tiffany founded a biofeedback program at Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos in 2004, and currently runs her a pelvic rehab private practice .

Working in this area of biofeedback is extremely rewarding and fulfilling to help change peoples’ lives. I have a private practice now exclusively dedicated to treating patients with pelvic floor dysfunction. I became involved in working with patients with incontinence and pelvic floor disorders because of many opportunities along my career path. I have been an Occupational Therapist since 1994. Both of my parents are also OTs, so I think I was born to do this!

Erica Vitek, MOT, OTR, BCB-PMD, PRPC wrote a blog recently about the role of OTs in pelvic health. She writes:

“As we look closer at the framework and the definition of OT (Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 3rd edition 2014), there is clear evidence that the occupational therapist (OT) has a role in the treatment of pelvic health conditions. Importantly, occupations are defined by this document as ‘…various kinds of life activities in which individuals, groups, or populations engage, including activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation.”

The clearest examples of the OT’s role in pelvic health occupations within this section include:

  1. ADL section: toileting and hygiene (continence needs, intentional control of bowel movements and urination) and sexual activity.
  2. IADLs section: sleep participation (sustaining sleep without disruption, performing nighttime care of toileting needs).
  3. Achieving full participation in work, play, leisure, and social activities, requires one to be able to maintain continence in a socially acceptable manner in which they can feel confident and comfortable to fulfill their roles and duties.

"We believe that the great patient need that exists can be better served by having trained OTs able to treat pelvic health conditions"

How to get started as an OT

Occupational therapists wishing to pursue pelvic floor have a few options. The first thing is to find a pelvic floor clinical setting or work with their respective settings to check to see if they can start a women's health program with a strong focus on pelvic floor. OTs quite often do not start out in pelvic health directly after school and since this is a newer area as compared to other certifications such as the NDT and PNF it takes a little bit of research, time and effort to find one’s exact niche. To get started, an OT should seek out courses that teach the basics of bladder and bowel management. It is important to understand the anatomy and physiology of the bladder, bowel, and sexual systems.

Incontinence and pelvic floor disorders have a profound impact on occupation, the daily activities that give life meaning! OTs should have a larger role in treating this patient population. Offering hope to our patients is imperative when he/she is dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction!

Keep an eye out for an upcoming post from Tiffany with some inspiring clinical case studies. You can join Tiffany and Jane Kaufman in Biofeedback for Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction to get lots of hands-on time with surface eletromyography, and to work toward BCIA certification!

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Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders - Remote Course

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Mequon, WI (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Health In Balance Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Garden City, NY Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Metro Physical & Aquatic Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Bozeman, MT Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Great Northern Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Annapolis, MD Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Encompass PT

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Louisville, KY Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: KORT - Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team

Postpartum Rehabilitation - Remote Course (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Fort Smith, AR Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Arkansas Colleges of Heatlh Education

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Marietta, GA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Southern Pelvic Health

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Little Rock, AR Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Core Pelvic Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Torrance, CA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Women's Advantage Inc

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Toledo, OH Satellite Location

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: ProMedica

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Asheville, NC Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Cornerstone Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Self-Hosted (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Cranford, NJ Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Metairie, LA Satellite Location

Feb 27, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021
Location: East Jefferson General Hospital

Bowel Pathology and Function - Remote Course

Feb 28, 2021 - Mar 1, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Self-Hosted (SOLD OUT)

Mar 1, 2021 - Mar 2, 2021
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Brooklyn, NY Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Mar 1, 2021 - Mar 2, 2021
Location: Prime Fitness Physical Therapy

Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist - Remote Course

Mar 5, 2021 - Mar 6, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Mobilization of Visceral Fascia 2: The Reproductive System - Valencia, CA Satellite Location

Mar 5, 2021 - Mar 7, 2021
Location: Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital

Mobilization of Visceral Fascia 2: The Reproductive System - Medford, OR Satellite Location

Mar 5, 2021 - Mar 7, 2021
Location: Asante Rogue Valley Medical Center

Mobilization of Visceral Fascia 2: The Reproductive System - St. Louis, MO Satellite Location

Mar 5, 2021 - Mar 7, 2021
Location: Mercy Hospital St. Louis

Mobilization of Visceral Fascia 2: The Reproductive System - Jackson, WY Satellite Location

Mar 5, 2021 - Mar 7, 2021
Location: Four Pines Physical Therapy

Male Pelvic Floor - Satellite Lab Course

Mar 6, 2021 - Mar 7, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Male Pelvic Floor - St Paul, MN Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Mar 6, 2021 - Mar 7, 2021
Location: Regions Hospital

Male Pelvic Floor - Kenosha, WI Satellite Location

Mar 6, 2021 - Mar 7, 2021
Location: Aurora Health Care