Friday, 23 November 2012 14:05

Interview with Stacy Lynch Featured

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“I went from having just four visits in the pool in three months to being in the pool every day for two to six hours, constantly learning,” Lynch said.

And that constant learning process is what stuck with him. He says the more education and knowledge he gained about aquatic therapy, the more he knew it was something he wanted to be doing.

Lynch has been a physical therapy assistant for 17 years and works mostly with geriatric patients in aquatic therapy. But he didn’t always concentrate on aquatics. In fact, he didn’t always want to be a physical therapy assistant. It was in a college bookstore at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas where Lynch met a man who sparked his interest in physical therapy.

“I saw this man in a wheelchair and I discovered myself just staring at him. I was watching him put his books on the counter with his feet, write his check with his feet and hand it to the cashier with his feet. I felt compelled to talk to him.”

Outside the bookstore, Lynch learned more about his story. Lynch discovered the man had undergone extensive therapy since birth. Lynch knew there was a therapy school on campus and signed up right away.

“I’ve been enjoying it ever since,” he said.

However, in that college experience, like most, Lynch did not learn much about aquatic therapy. When he took a position that required him almost constantly to be in the pool, continuing education courses were necessary to succeed.

“Every time I could, I took a continuing education course,” Lynch said, who has completed 120 hours in aquatics continuing education courses.

Lynch admits that aquatic therapy can be intimidating for therapists and patients because of lack of training and fear respectively.

“Getting therapists in the water is the hardest part…once they are in, it almost always becomes an instant addiction. It’s an entirely different universe you can use to your advantage. Once you learn those properties, you want more and more,” Lynch said.

He said education is the key to understanding the properties of water, and to best use them to maximize the results of your therapy sessions.

As for Lynch’s older patients, many are wary of the pool and haven’t been swimming in 30 years or more.

“Once they get in, they feel like a child again,” Lynch said.

But aquatic therapy isn’t just for older patients. Lynch’s fondest memory in aquatic therapy comes from a young woman suffering from incomplete quadriplegia with limited mobility in all four extremities.

In the first session she was able to float on her back without assistance. By the second session, she was able to propel herself in the pool in a modified backstroke.

After the second session, the woman broke down in tears. Lynch recalled asking her what was wrong.

“She said, ‘you don’t understand. I couldn’t swim before I broke my back.’ Everyone was crying then,” Lynch recollected.

Lynch describes his current position with Summit Therapy Group as a “therapist’s dream,” working in every setting on one campus. The group is a therapy provider for Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s).

Stacy is branching out into the education realm through his new endeavor: Inertia Continuing Education. Lynch says the focus of the project is to give therapists more of what they want—education and job specialization.

“We want to motivate therapists and make them the best they can be, which is what they want,” Lynch explained.

Inertia Continuing Education hopes to make it easier for therapists to find the continuing education courses that are so vital to their careers. Lynch said Inertia will provide various opportunities to the medical community at large from mastering known skills to learning new skills, as well as maximizing their business practices.

Stacy is in the process of coordinating his second course between Summit Therapy Group and Aquatic Therapy University (ATU) to hold “Aquatic Therapy Protocols for the Geriatric Patient.”

Lynch’s goal is to complete his Aquaticist “Aq” credential through ATU in late 2013. He said that it has been a pleasure to work with the staff at ATU in all facets, from planning classes to taking their courses himself.

He praised ATU for how willing the staff is to work with him, explaining ATU is helpful in modifying classes to fit the specific needs of a group, as they have in creating an aquatics course including education requirements for aquatic speech therapy. Lynch plans to have courses specifically for Speech and Language Pathologists in the future. “They modify the class to best suit our needs,” Lynch said.

Lynch also praises ATU’s credential program to helping therapists advance in their careers. Through the partnership of Inertia Continuing Education and ATU, Summit Therapy Group expects to have more Aquaticist credentials than any other company in the state of Arizona by the end of 2013.

“I love being able to have goals; goals that you can achieve and then upgrade,” Lynch said.

Continuing education courses can help therapists get started in aquatic therapy and achieve their own goals, regardless of their experience and education on land.

“The first thing to do is to find an excuse to get in the water. Then you’ll say ‘Wow, I want to get into this,’” Lynch advised fellow therapists. “Number one, get started. Number two, invest in lots of training. It will take care of itself from there,” Lynch said.


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