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SCUBA Diving With A Disability

Charles James Shaffer (U.S. Navy) learning to SCUBA | Charles James Shaffer (U.S. Navy) learning to SCUBAOutdoor recreation is intended for everyone, and can be enormously beneficial for persons with disabilities. I am in awe of disabled skiers, climbers, divers, and others who have learned to coordinate their bodies and take great enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment from their wilderness activities.

It behooves everyone in the healthcare profession to be aware of certain special medical concerns for persons who are disabled physically or emotionally. Additionally, family members and friends are often well aware of what they can do to help in providing a joint effort to support the disabled.

At the 2010 Wilderness Medical Society annual meeting in Snowmass, Colorado, JenFu Cheng, MD (a pediatric rehabilitation specialist from NJ), gave a wonderful presentation on the medical aspects of (scuba) diving with a disability. He pointed out that there may be up to nine million certified recreational scuba divers in the United States alone. His presentation, rather than focusing on persons who are fully capable physically and emotionally, examined the lesser-known benefits of being in the water for individuals in need of additional support. For instance, aqua therapy (largely enacted in swimming pools) takes advantage of the buoyancy of water to allow a range of mobility that is not possible on land. For example, aquatic exercise has been shown to improve lung capacity and mobility skills in children with cerebral palsy. Read more »

This post, SCUBA Diving With A Disability, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Treatments For Kids With Autism And Cerebral Palsy On Insurance Chopping Block

One of the great challenges facing the folks who have been tasked to implement the Big O’s health care law is defining “essential benefits,” the core medical services that insurers must cover.

insurance Are Habilitative Services Part of Essential Care?Despite its voluminous nature, the law is remarkably vague in this regard. It does identify 10 care categories that health plans must provide to consumers who use federally-funded health insurance exchanges to select a plan, but the categories and associated lists aren’t comprehensive or specific (the categories appear at the end of this post).

The Institute of Medicine has been tasked to flesh out the lists of required services. It has begun work amid a frenzy of lobbying by private insurers and consumer groups. Habilitative services are one contentious area, and they illustrate the challenges faced by the IOM. Unlike rehabilitative services which help people recover lost skills, habilitative services help them acquire new ones.

Habilitative services can help autistic children improve language skills, or those with cerebral palsy learn to walk. They can also help a person with schizophrenia improve his social skills. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

An Interview With A Developmental Disabilities Nurse

For my first interview, I thought I’d interview someone who would tolerate my novice interviewing abilities — my mother. Ginny, RN, BS, DDRN has been a nurse for over 30 years, most of that time in the Intensive Care Unit. (The apple did not fall far, did it?) She currently works as Developmental Disabilities Nurse and has done so for nine years.

A developmental disability is defined by Wikipedia as a term used in the United States and Canada to describe life-long disability attributable to mental and/or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18.” Ginny says that her clients have a range of mental and physical disabilities including cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, mental retardation, and autism, with autism being the most prevalent. Her clients live in normal houses along with nurse’s aides and “direct support professionals” (DSPs).

How did you get started as a Developmental Disability Nurse?

A friend encouraged me to come work with her after I lost my job when they closed the children’s home where I had been working.

Do you like it?

I have had other nursing jobs including med-surg, peds, ICU, factory nurse, WIC nurse, children’s home nurse, and finally this job. I have liked all of my jobs but this has been the most rewarding. The people I care for just love it when the nurse comes around. There is always a “thank you” in their eyes.

What frustrates you about your job?

It is, of course, a job which requires state controls. Their idea of “nursing” is an awful lot of useless paperwork that makes no sense to me. The pay is not commensurate with other nursing jobs considering the reponsibilites of delegating nursing tasks to laypersons. There are so many things these people need and it’s hard to get. There are so many state mandates that are designed to move people toward being as independent as possible but the mandates also make us take many steps backward in that process. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at code blog - tales of a nurse*

Apple’s Steve Jobs On The iPad’s Use By Kids With Special Needs

In a Wall Street Journal profile on how iPad apps are being used by special needs children, such as those who have speech impediments and as a communication tool — Steve Jobs commented on how even he did not have the foresight to see that the iPad could be used in such a fashion.

“We take no credit for this, and that’s not our intention,” Mr. Jobs said, adding that the emails he gets from parents resonate with him. “Our intention is to say something is going on here,” and researchers should “take a look at this.”

Last year we reported on how how much cheaper Apple’s portabile devices were compared to the traditional speech software/hardware products, and how insurance companies were hesitant to reimburse for a significantly cheaper Apple products verse industry products. At the time of our report, insurance companies were willing to reimburse up to $8,000 for a product that could be replaced by an iPod Touch with speech therapy apps would cost approximately $600. Since our report on the topic last year, not much has changed. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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