Thursday, 5 February 2015

Physio Therapy and a Patient in a Coma

One of our readers was interested to know the role of the physio therapist in the treatment of a comatosed or unconscious patient. I have not trained as a physio therapist so I stand to be corrected. If there is a reader who is a physio and has more information to add, please do post a comment below.

From my experience in working in Neurosurgery ICU and General ICU, the physio therapist was involved in providing chest physio and passive range of movement for the limbs. Chest physio for someone who is unable to breathe independently or who lacks a cough reflex is a very important part of the management of someone who is unconscious. 

Generally the one to teach family members about and how to carry out suctioning would be the physio. Why is this necessary and all the details are good questions and it is suggested that you speak to your physio therapist for the most appropriate answer.

Since those who are unconscious are not actively moving, providing passive movements are very important to ensure that muscles are able to maintain their maximum range of movement at the joints. There is some overlap in this area between what the O.T. provides and what the physio provides. There are times you might also find the P.T. and O.T. carry out a session or series of sessions together on the same patient. 

Imagine for a moment that you were to sleep for a week, a few weeks, a month or a year and were not able to turn yourself, move your limbs, scratch an itch or many other normal movements that generally take place during sleep. What will happen when you wake up? Do you think your muscles will move normally? What problems can you think of that might arise from being asleep for a length of time, unable to move by yourself?

This post is prepared for you by 
Occupational Therapist

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