Flagstaff Business News recently asked Holly Nester of Personal Care Physical Therapy to be our Spotlight. After a decade in practice, Nester serves many types of people with varying types of ailments. She also travels to businesses in the region to improve occupational safety and help people maintain productivity through ergonomics. Nester’s practice is located at 2100 East Cedar Avenue in Flagstaff.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in physical therapy?
My interest in physical therapy started at a young age. In 4th grade my family moved and I attended a school where disabled children were mainstreamed into the classrooms. This was my first exposure to children with different abilities and I became friends with some kids that were in physical therapy. My mother, with whom I work at Personal Care Physical Therapy, volunteered at my school and then returned to college and graduated as a therapist in 1983. When I entered the university I considered a variety of careers; but when I thought about the things that would make life and work most enjoyable physical therapy was always at the top of my list.
What are some of the biggest challenges in your area of care?
As the economy has slowed a lot of employers have changed their health insurance benefits resulting in a greater personal cost to many of our clients. We sometimes see clients that have held off on treatment hoping that their symptoms would go away. What some people fail to realize is that it can be a lot less expensive to treat an injury during the early stages with physical therapy. Waiting until symptoms are out of control may lead to the need for less conservative treatments such as injections or surgery. It is distressing to see those in need not receiving care that can keep them working and living the lifestyles they deserve.
All of our therapists have more than 15 years experience. This experience helps us to identify the problem more quickly and focus on the best treatment. As consumers are spending more of their own money on healthcare the need for quality providers and accountability will continue to rise.
What are some of the more common ailments you treat?
Physical therapists have specialized training in anatomy, kinesiology, and biomechanics that make us uniquely qualified to treat a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders. All of our therapists follow the philosophy that it is important to not only educate clients about their current symptoms but also to develop strategies for preventing reoccurrences. All of our therapists have advanced training with manual therapy techniques, which can be essential in treating common causes of neck/back pain, extremity pain, impingements, sprains, bursitis/tendinitis, carpal tunnel, whiplash, post-surgical symptoms, and sports injuries. It surprises some people to learn that our therapists also treat jaw/head pain.
What are some of the biggest changes coming to your industry?
We have been in business for 10 years and have weathered many changes. I have discussed the upcoming healthcare environment with others in private practices and it is difficult to predict exactly what affect the presidential election and Supreme Court rulings may have. One thing that is important is that there remains a place for small businesses within healthcare. Having worked in many settings I found that often the most caring and ethical atmosphere is provided in a private practice setting. One of the reasons we started Personal Care PT was to create an environment where the therapists’ expertise was the primary factor determining a client’s course of treatment.
What do you do to stay current as a physical therapist?
There are often exciting research articles to review and I find it incredibly fun to observe or discuss new ideas with other therapists. I also stay on top of changes to the profession by attending a variety of continuing education courses. After 18 years that’s a lot of courses!
What is something about your business people would find surprising?
Personal Care PT not only treats clients at our clinic but we also go out into the community to assist other businesses. All of our therapists have advanced certification through WorkWell Systems to perform Work Rehabilitation, Functional Job Analysis, Post-Offer screening, and FCEs (Functional Capacity Evaluations). We team up with local employers to perform Ergonomics and Work Site evaluations and develop Return to Work programs and Safety & Prevention programs. We have had excellent outcomes with improving safety, reducing the severity of workers injuries, and lowering workers’ compensation costs. Not only do we work with large companies but we can also provide assistance to small businesses or individuals with home offices. If you are your only employee then it is essential that you are working productively. This can be better achieved if you physically feel well; and often, making simple changes to your home office can improve efficiency. It is not just about ergonomics but also about the human element and how you position/move your body. Consultation or training with a PT can help prevent or reduce overuse symptoms.
2100 East Cedar Avenue., Flagstaff, AZ. 86004 (928) 214-7430 http://www.personalcarept.com/