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Ep. 86 – 4 OncoPT Tips for Staying Sane

As OncoPTs, we want what’s best for our patients. We’ll do whatever it takes to care for our patients, giving 100% to serve. But we can’t do that if we’re empty, worn out, burned, out, tired, stressed, & frustrated. Well, those have pretty much been my theme song during these past 4 months.

So what do we do to take care of ourselves in order to take better care of our patients? In this episode, we’re going over 4 strategies to help you take care of you.

  1. Take care of your body.
  2. Take care of your soul/spirit/heart.
  3. Take care of your mind.
  4. Remember why you are doing this in the first place.

Cancer Rehab Austin FREE Classes

“I know that the past few months have been harder on me than any previous in my career as a lymphedema and oncology specialized PT. It is important that we do not neglect our own self care during these extremely stressful times. I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that my clinic (Cancer Rehab and Integrative Medicine) offers free virtual weekly classes not only to cancer survivors and thrivers but also caregivers. So I would love it if you took advantage as caregivers yourselves of these offerings, so you can refill your cup and continue to be healthy and at your best for our cancer community. Our classes include Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra (meditation), Restorative Yoga, Pilates, and Cardio/Fitness at an appropriate level and with modifications to be suitable for anyone and everyone. I take as many of these classes as my schedule allows and would love for you to join if you would like. Feel free to let your patients know about these offerings as well of course. But my intention with this email is to reach out to fellow healthcare workers and colleagues to help minimize our fatigue, burnout, and stress. Please share this resource with any of your colleagues you feel may benefit. Here is our class schedule (all times are CST) and classes are via Zoom. They truly are 100% free as we receive our funding through donations. www.cancerrehabaustin.com/news

Angela Wicker-Ramos

Continuing Education Opportunity: Survivorship Solutions Clinical Competencies Course!

One of the ways I’ve been keeping my mind active (& off the craziness) is by throwing myself into online education: CEUs, webinars, chats with colleagues, & Facebook lives galore! I’ve started working through the Survivorship Solutions Clinical Competencies in Interdisciplinary Cancer Rehabilitation, & it is blowing my socks off!

Jillian Schmitt & Kristin Carroll of Survivorship Solutions have worked tirelessly for the past THREE years to bring revolutionary oncology rehab education to the table. This comprehensive, multi-disciplinary oncology rehabilitation course is advancing the knowledge of PTs, OTs, speech therapists, RNs, physicians, registered dietitans, & more – working to create a competent oncology rehabilitation workforce so desperately needed. If you’re ready to be competent & feel confident in your OncoPT career, the Survivorship Solutions Clinical Competencies in Interdisciplinary Cancer Rehabilitation is exactly what you need.

As a listener of the podcast you get a special pricing for this course. When you use the code ONCOPT to register for this course, you’ll get the special introductory price of $397 for 26 hours of continuing education, taught by our industry’s experts (including Mary Lou Galantino, Nicole Stout, Lou James, & Karen Wonders, just to name a few). Register here!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for this course. As an affiliate, I receive compensation when you purchase the course using the code ONCOPT, at no extra cost to you. I believe fully in this product & the quality that Jillian, Kristin, & the instructors are bringing to you in this course.

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Ep. 85 – Stop the Patient Success Sabotage

In my interview with Lisa VanHoose last week, we discussed disparities in oncology patient populations. We touched on financial toxicity, but Lisa really got me thinking about how it affects our patients. Interestingly, this past week I saw an tweet about parking costs & oncology centers (tweet here; article here). This all really got me thinking: are we missing some VITAL info from our patients?

Consider this patient: My patient has metastatic breast cancer, obesity, & a few other comorbidities. She is on disability due to her ongoing cancer treatments & inability to work regularly with her multiple medical appointments. She presented with RUE lymphedema, pain, & weakness. Her biggest complaints include grasping, opening items, & chopping her veggies. Okay, seems straightforward enough; however, we began a conversation about her desire to eat more healthily & lose weight. Things became much more clear.

Due to her pain, weakness, & swelling, she is unable to chop celery when cooking for herself. Thus, she has to buy pre-chopped celery, which is more expensive than typical stalk celery. Due to the additional expenses & increased difficulty of chopping her veggies, she has to navigate trying to eat well, preparing her own food, on a very limited budget. Below I’ve broken down this case example by the numbers:

Stalk CeleryChopped Celery
Cost per buy:$1.32 (16 ounces)$3.79 (7 ounces)
Cost per ounce:$0.08$0.54
Cost per ounces of Stalk Celery vs. Chopped Celery

So that’s a pretty significant difference in cost per ounce. But what does that translate to over the course of a year? (For this patient example, I’m doing my math based on her buying celery once every 2 weeks.)

Stalk CeleryChopped Celery
Cost per buy (every 2 weeks)$1.32$3.79
Monthly cost (2 buys)$2.64$7.58
Yearly cost (26 buys)$34.32$98.54
Yearly costs of buying Stalk Celery vs. Chopped Celery

For us who have a steady source of income, this can be hard to conceptualize. Let’s dive deeper: A typical American will spend 11% of their monthly budget on food (whether that’s groceries or eating out). We know that people living with cancer are not “average,” but for our purposes, let’s use 11% of monthly budget for food.

Disability income per month tends to range from $800-1800 per month in the US. If we use the higher end ($1800), 11% of my patient’s monthly budget is $198 for food. This doesn’t leave much room for luxuries, like pre-chopped celery.

But it’s not just celery. If she can’t cut celery, she may not be able to cut onions, broccoli, carrots, beets, peppers, or a myriad of other healthy foods that she wants to eat. So this problem of not being able to chop celery becomes very problematic & EXPENSIVE. Before you know it, our patients are spending 3-4x as much on groceries, or worse: relying on take-out for its convenience.

This is a deep issue & not one we are going to fix today. But with baby steps, we can do our part to help our patients achieve their goals. How you can do that is this: have the conversation. Ask about finances. Talk to your patients about what may be sabotaging their success. If you don’t, you are actively working against your plan of care & potentially sabotaging your patient’s success.

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Ep. 84 – Start Change in Your Community TODAY – Lisa VanHoose, PhD, MPH, PT

Do you ever feel small, like there’s no way you could possibly make a dent to clean up the mess we’ve made? Lisa VanHoose, PhD, MPH, PT is on the podcast today to talk about how racial & socioeconomic disparities affect the oncology patient population & how WE (yes, YOU & ME) can be a part of the grassroots change that will literally make our world a better place for our patients.

We learn in school that race & socioeconomic status are social determinants of health, but what does that actually mean for our patient care? In short, a whole lot; in fact, it can mean everything for some of our patients.

Lisa broke down some really important ways that our oncology patient population is disproportionately affected by these disparities & how our treatment is unlikely to truly help these patients, unless we treat the whole patient. And the whole patient includes everything about them, including their race & socioeconomic background, from birth until now.

Enough of me trying to summarize what Lisa already said. Listen to the interview & prepare to have your socks blown off!


Resources mentioned by Dr. VanHoose

Ramsey 2013 article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4240626/

Community Impact Reports for your local area

WalkScore: https://www.walkscore.com/

Accountable Health Communities Screening Tool: https://innovation.cms.gov/files/worksheets/ahcm-screeningtool.pdf

PRAPARE tool: http://www.nachc.org/research-and-data/prapare/

The Everyone Project: https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/social-determinants-of-health/everyone-project.html

United Way: https://www.unitedway.org/

Women’s Auxiliary Groups of your local hospital


Dr. VanHoose’s biography

Lisa VanHoose, PT, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor and Program Director in the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Louisiana Monroe. Dr. VanHoose received her PhD in Rehabilitation Science and MPH from the University of Kansas Medical Center. She completed fellowships at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute PRIDE Summer Institute with an emphasis in Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology. Her Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Master of Science in Physical Therapy were completed at the University of Central Arkansas. Dr. VanHoose has practiced oncologic physical therapy since 1996. She is a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Oncologic Physical Therapy. As a NIH, PCORI, and industry funded researcher, Dr. VanHoose investigates socioecological models of cancer related side effects with an emphasis on minority and rural cancer survivorship. Investigations of distress in cancer survivors revealed that African American women were concerned about provider bias and other racial issues during their care. She expanded that work to explore physical and psychosocial factors responsible for health disparities in diverse groups of cancer survivors. Her team published a systematic review explaining the impact of perceived racism on health outcomes for a variety of medical conditions and diseases affecting African American women. Other work includes qualitative investigations into community identified risk factors of cardiovascular disease in African American men. She serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion staff workgroup for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). She was recently recommended by the APTA as a nominee to serve on the Advisory Committee on Minority Health under the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health. She is a past President of the Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy. She currently serves on the Special Populations: Nursing Home subcommittee for Gov. John Bel Edwards Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.  She has been an advocate for movement of all persons, including the elimination of social policies and practices that are barriers to movement friendly environments.

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Ep. 83 – How to Jumpstart Your OncoPT Career – Jillian Schmitt, MSPT, CEAS & Kristin Carroll, PT of Survivorship Solutions

When I started as a brand new #OncoPT, I knew some stuff. But there was a whole lot more I didn’t know, & I struggled through many patient cases trying to get my feet under me. Looking back, I wish I had a guide who knew the ropes to take me through what I needed to know about the ins & outs of treating patients with oncology diagnoses. I’ve made it through my first two years of OncoPT practice, but I’ve made tons of missteps & straight up face plants to get here.

Does this sound like you? Don’t stumble through like I did. Your guides are here to help you get started.

Jillian Schmitt & Kristin Carroll of Survivorship Solutions have worked tirelessly for the past THREE years to bring revolutionary oncology rehab education to the table. This comprehensive, multi-disciplinary oncology rehabilitation course is advancing the knowledge of PTs, OTs, speech therapists, RNs, physicians, registered dietitans, & more – working to create a competent oncology rehabilitation workforce so desperately needed. If you’re ready to be competent & feel confident in your OncoPT career, the Survivorship Solutions Clinical Competencies in Interdisciplinary Cancer Rehabilitation is exactly what you need.

And as if that wasn’t already fantastic news, you can get a special pricing for this course, just by being a listener of the podcast! When you use the code ONCOPT to register for this course, you’ll get the special introductory price of $397. This includes 26 HOURS OF CONTINUING EDUCATION! HOLY COW! Plus, you’ll learn from our field’s experts (including Mary Lou Galantino, Nicole Stout, Lou James, & Karen Wonders, just to name a few). Register here!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for this course. As an affiliate, I receive compensation when you purchase the course using the code ONCOPT, at no extra cost to you. I believe fully in this product & the quality that Jillian, Kristin, & the instructors are bringing to you in this course.

I wish I had this course when I started my OncoPT career. In fact, I’ll be taking it along with you because I cannot wait to see how I’ll advance my practice now, even 2 years in & preparing for the specialist certification exam. If you’re ready to practice as a competent OncoPT, join me inside the Survivorship Solutions Clinical Competencies in Interdisciplinary Cancer Rehabilitation course here!

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Ep. 82 – From Student to New Pro & Rising Star – Shai Sewell, PT, DPT

There are some real giants in the field of oncology rehab – there’s probably a few that just popped into your head. It can be really hard to imagine how we’re going to get there, with all their expertise & knowledge. But they had to start somewhere once upon a time.

Friend of the podcast, Shai Sewell, stopped by today’s episode to discuss how he navigated oncology rehab as a student, is educating fellow students & peers, & changing the world as a new professional. He provides great strategies to become the oncology professional you want to be, no matter the stage you’re in right now!

Shai’s interest in oncology rehabilitation began prior to starting physical therapy school, when his mom was was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing the effects of exercise not only on her physical health, but mental well-being drove Shai to explore the benefits that rehabilitation and exercise can have throughout the cancer care continuum. 

While studying at the University of Miami to obtain his Doctorate in Physical Therapy, he was fortunate to intern at the University of Florida, Shands Medical Plaza where he assessed and treated breast, and head and neck cancer patients undergoing a multitude of cancer treatment related sequela. After graduating from PT school in 2018, Shai began his career at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami where he worked with the hematological oncological population undergoing stem cell transplants. With experience in this setting, his love for cancer rehabilitation only further grew.

During this time, he began a Special Interest Group for University of Miami students to help highlight the importance of cancer rehabilitation, and to spark curiosity in an ever-growing field. He has also been active in the Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy, where he hopes to educate students, clinicians, and physical therapy schools across the country on the importance of cancer rehabilitation. Shai has recently moved to the University of Florida, Shands Cancer Center where he continues to work in the bone marrow transplant unit and with hematological malignancies during inpatient chemotherapy. With his passion for raising awareness to new therapists and improving access to care for those diagnosed with cancer, Shai hopes to create a field where empowerment takes reign over a life-changing diagnosis. 

During his free time, he likes to bike, run, hike, camp, explore what the great outdoors has to offer, cooking, throw clay on the potter’s wheel, and transform his van Zooba into an adventure-mobile. 

Find Shai on email or Twitter!

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