Today’s first session was entitled Movement System Diagnosis and the speaker was Ann Van Sant.
In her talk, she discussed the need of physical therapy as a profession to begin utilizing movement system diagnoses in addition to the referring diagnosis they come to physical therapy with to fully classify our patients’ impairments. Putting patients in a “box”, in my opinion (up until today), decreases the patient specificity that is allowed in our evaluations; therefore, also reducing the effectiveness of the treatment plan and interventions. However, Ann made some brilliant points. We are already putting them into large “box” classifications with the referring diagnoses that are so large they are not useful. The example that has been playing in my mind today are all the different presentations of “stroke” I see at the hospital. They all have the same “stroke” label, but often present very differently. For example, I’m thinking of a parietal stroke vs. a cerebellar stroke. These movement system diagnoses will make the boxes smaller, more manageable and useful. These movement system diagnoses (MSDs) will also cut across referral diagnoses, so that one diagnosis label that is applied to a stroke patient could also be applied to a Parkinson’s patient. For example, force production deficit. These MSDs will also allow more clear communication amongst ourselves, but also amongst other health care professionals. Ann made it clear that these would be used not just by physical therapists, but be terms that “roll off the tongue” and are recognizable amongst many of the health care team. The MSDs would also allow for patients to be better categorized for research purposes in more homogeneous groups. Since the patients are more alike, the comparison between patients for outcomes would be more similar. And lastly, the Academies currently have several committees working on clinical guidelines based on the MSDs to help guide clinical decision making. The goal for that would be to eventually make it something like psych’s DSM.
That was the first session in a nut shell. I will add a little link to one of the papers that was referenced several times today as the foundational work for the MSDs: Use of Movement System Diagnoses in the Management of Patients with Neuromuscular Conditions: A Multi-Patient Case Report .
I’ll be adding sessions as I can; however, I am just one person, so I can’t possibly keep up with all sessions each day. But I will get to posting about each lecture in temporal order as I can. I will not be going into the afternoon breakout sessions on the blog, because I can’t be in 12 places at once. You’ll just have to come experience those for yourself next time!
And on that note, just a little plug for how awesome it is to be here. Most everyone here are more experienced clinicians and academics. As a relatively new therapist, it is rather intimidating, but at the same time, I feel so blessed to be able to listen to them process these new ideas out loud. I do think this is a wonderful place for a new therapist to be, because for what I lack in experience, I am not set in my clinical ways so much as the more experienced clinicians are. I may be able to absorb and apply the principles being discussed in my clinical practice a little easier. So, yes, keeping up with all the amazing ideas spinning through the room, particularly in the discussion sessions, is difficult on me, BUT it is an amazing process to see. I even found myself nodding vigorously in agreement with some of the comments being made in the second discussion session I attended. All that to say, this conference is for everyone, and I hope more new therapists will make it out to the next STEP.