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Physical Therapy in the ED

FMC Physical Therapist named Arizona Physical Therapist of the Year ---
Recognized for establishing innovative physical therapy program in the Emergency Department

Lisa TenBarge, P.T., D.P.T., was recognized as the 2009 Arizona Physical Therapist of the Year by the Arizona Physical Therapy Association. TenBarge was chosen for her accomplishments as a physical therapist from more than 1,350 statewide association members. She was honored for her innovative work in establishing a new physical therapy program in Flagstaff Medical Center’s Emergency Department; for her involvement at the local, state and national levels to teaching and mentoring other physical therapists; for her commitment to treating patients; and her extensive volunteer work both locally and internationally.

After earning her physical therapist degree from Northern Arizona University in 1989, TenBarge joined FMC where she began her career as a physical therapist. Specializing in orthopedics and manual therapy, TenBarge works with patients who have been admitted to the hospital and with patients who require physical therapy on an outpatient basis.

Throughout her 20 year career at FMC, TenBarge has worked in all units of the hospital, in Homecare and currently in FMC’s Emergency Department, where she began the physical therapy component of the comprehensive care provided to patients who seek emergency care.
Implementing physical therapists as part of the Emergency Department (ED) team was a program TenBarge spearheaded at FMC in 2004. When the program began, only two physical therapists were specially trained to work in the ED. Today, FMC has eight physical therapists who work in the ED, providing seven-days-a-week coverage. Both ED physicians and nurses can request a physical therapist see a patient once the patient’s immediate medical conditions have been addressed.

TenBarge and the other physical therapists in the ED are dedicated to injury prevention and education. Since most ED patients are in the ED “by accident,” physical therapists are able to educate patients on how avoid injuries and how to modify activities to accommodate for an injury. The group primarily sees patients who have neck and/or back pain due to auto injuries, falls, accidents or pre-existing injuries. They provide care to patients who have broken bones, joint and muscle injuries and chronic wounds. Additionally, they provide extensive education on activity levels, at-home exercises, equipment needs and injury prevention. Patients appreciate the extra attention while in the ED and the education and resources that better prepare them to go home.

For more information on the comprehensive role physical therapists provide to inpatients and outpatients, and for the services offered through FMC’s Therapy Services Department, visit FlagstaffMedicalCenter.com or call 928 773-2125.