Congratulations to Faculty Member Ellen Hillegass

We are excited to announce that our distinguished Faculty member, Ellen Hillegass PT, Ph.D., EdD, CCS, FAACVPR, FAPTA  has been awarded APTA’s highest honor: The Catherine Worthingham APTA Fellow Award.  Please click here to visit APTA and read about Ellen’s achievements (you will need to be logged in to APTA)

Ellen Hillegass,  is an experienced educator and clinician. She is an associate professor at North Georgia College and State University in the Department of Physical Therapy, serves as president of a private consulting firm; Cardiopulmonary Specialists, and is an instructor of continuing education programs across the country. She draws upon her expertise as a board certified cardiovascular and pulmonary clinical specialist to create a clinically relevant classroom experience for her students.
Professor Hillegass has been active in the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section for many years and is currently the Legislative and Reimbursement Chair. She has also been active and is a Fellow of the American Association of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). She has been instrumental in mentoring students to become advocates for the physical therapy profession and she is editor of Essentials in Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy, an entry-level text and is the author of a clinical notes book titled “Rehab Notes.” Ellen received the Linda Crane Lecture Award in 2007, the Outstanding Service Award for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section in 1996 and the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section Merit Award

Ellen teaches Mobilizing the Medically Complex Acute Care Patient (an Evidence – Based Model) with ERI. Please visit this course page for upcoming dates.


Blog Competition winner

Thank you to everyone who has submitted ideas, questions and clinical challenges for the ERI blog. We will continue to post all your great submissions over time, as separate blogs, involving our community to help with your clinical challenges and to share your ideas with them.

We would like to announce that from our random drawing of the first 50 blog submissions, therapist Tonyia Fulton will be receiving a free Education Resources CEU course. Congratulations Tonyia.

We encourage everyone to post any new challenges or questions. They can be posted here in the comments section or can be emailed to me:

Thank you again – we do hope that this blog will continue to be a great resource for you.



Focus on Early Mobility in the ICU – Chris Permes approach is highlighted in APTA video

The Critical Role of Physical Therapists in the ICU

Christiane Perme, PT CCS  is currently a Senior Physical Therapist at the Methodist Hospital in Houston,
[caption id="attachment_370" align="alignright" width="140" caption="Chris Perme"][/caption]where she has practiced for the past 25 years with a variety of complex acute care patients. Mrs. Perme has extensive experience in treating adult patients in Intensive Care Unit with special interest in patients requiring mechanical ventilation. For many of these patients, Perme says, the focus of physical therapy is on early mobility and walking. Perme was instrumental in the development of a program at Methodist by which physical therapists and occupational therapists train nursing assistants to help their patients walk. Perme explains that regaining mobility early on benefits individual patients, the hospital, the ICU team, and the physical therapy profession. For example, patients who can regain mobility while in the ICU, even with limitations, may be able to transfer into a less-expensive setting, even at home with family care, rather than into a inpatient rehabilitation unit. Positive outcomes for these patients, she adds, has translated into increased resources for therapists in the ICU, and increased recognition for the profession.

APTA highlights this approach to therapy in the ICU as a model to consider for an Accountable Care Organization. Please click here to view the APTA article and video (you will need to log in to APTA)

Please click here to link to Chris Permes up-coming course in July
Therapists working with patients in ICU face a complex challenge. These patients have limited mobility due to life support, monitoring equipment, multiple medical problems and muscle weakness. For selected patients in ICU, early mobility and walking enhances functional outcomes by optimizing cardiopulmonary and neuromuscular status. Early mobility can lead to an increase in the patient’s quality of life and higher functional capability. It can also potentially reduce length of hospital stay with overall reduced costs. The content of this course will guide clinicians through the process of managing adult ICU patients. Case reports will be presented to demonstrate how the early mobility and walking  program in ICU can positively impact the recovery of selected patients.



Link between NSAIDS and signs of AU?

Britney Posts:

DEAR ERI COMMUNITY: I am a pediatric physical therapist, and I have a 33 mo old male patient who has been exhibiting signs of autism since he was about 18-19 mos; his mother has been told by a developmental specialist and a neurologist that it is likely that he does have autism, but he still has no official diagnosis. He has low tone, poor attention and eye contact, babbles but does not speak, is obsessed with spinning wheels and opening and closing doors, does not demonstrate appropriate play skills for his age, and has feeding difficulties, frequently gagging or vomiting with attempts at feeding. He has a long history of respiratory trouble, including asthma and bronchitis. He also has a long history of digestive issues, including gastroenteritis, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. He has been making fairly consistent progress throughout the time I have been treating him, but about 3 mos ago, he fractured his radius, and he made a substantial improvement in function and showed a dramatic decrease in signs of autism very quickly while he was wearing the cast. In brainstorming with his mother, it was determined that there had been no other life changes (change in diet, outside therapies, people living in the home, etc) during that time; however, she was giving him ibuprofen for his pain. After he had the cast removed, he returned to his former behaviors. When I noticed his behaviors returning, I asked his mother if she was still giving him the ibuprofen, and she told me she quit giving it to him a couple of days earlier when the doctor told her his bone was healed. One time since then, he started running a fever during my therapy session, and the next day during therapy, he had an incredible session. I asked his mother after the session if she had given him ibuprofen that day, and she said his fever had gotten worse during the night, so she had given him some ibuprofen to reduce his fever and help him sleep. I have discussed many possibilities with his physician, but we have not been able to identify any inflammatory processes that may be affecting his behavior. Does anyone have any experience with any children whose signs of autism decreased dramatically when given NSAIDs or know of any inflammatory conditions that can cause or mimic signs of autism? I’d love to hear any ideas!


Stacey Szklut is Back with Education Resources, Inc.!

For all of you fans of Stacey Szklut, we wanted to let you know that she is back on our faculty! She took a hiatus from teaching for several years to build her highly respected private practice. She’ll be teaching a much needed continuing education course on autism intervention which will integrate evidence based treatments with practical techniques for behavior, communication, and function.

Stacey is well known for her dynamic engaging teaching style, and her ability to take current research and make it clinically relevant and exciting. She will teach you to view familiar problems with new eyes. She is a master clinician in occupational therapy, and also a published author who lectures throughout the country with a specialty in sensory processing disorders.

 Look for her dates and locations here.

Stacey Szklut is also presenting at our annual Therapies in the School conference