“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt
Excel PT Danielle Gallante, Rock Climbing at Wissahickon
Physical therapy, like rock climbing, takes place in a lot of different places and requires special tools and skills to meet the challenges in each setting. Excel Physical Therapist Danielle Galante likes the myriad challenges and rewards of both rock climbing and physical therapy, and as a physical therapist, she loves working in the very different worlds of both Pediatric Rehab and Outpatient PT.
Caring for Kids
Danielle’s first experiences with the role that physical therapy can play in rehabilitation began when she was a teenager.
“My brother was an avid skateboarder, and he’s broken almost every bone in his body,” Danielle said. Once, he even broke both arms at the same time, and as a devoted sister, Danielle accompanied him on many of his doctor and physical therapy appointments. She recalls thinking, “I’d really like to do something like this someday.”
Danielle has always loved children. “Growing up, I was always with kids. I was always babysitting,” she said. So the idea of combining her burgeoning interest in physical therapy with her love of children seemed a natural progression.
So while working toward her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at University of the Sciences, Danielle gained valuable clinical experience in the physical therapy department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She worked in the hospital with juvenile oncology patients and at one of CHOP’s outpatient physical therapy clinics. She also volunteered with Easter Seals, helping kids with disabilities to experience the joys and challenges of summer camp in a fully-accessible setting.
“You learn about all types of conditions and treatments in PT school,” Danielle said. “But I never actually saw and treated any of them until I worked in the field. You learn so much.”
Part of working in a pediatric setting is working with parents, as well as young patients, to help teach them how to reinforce treatment at home. In her time at CHOP, Danielle treated kids with developmental challenges due to Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida. She also helped kids overcome toe-walking by using serial casting and stretching and strengthening exercises, and she helped infants to overcome torticollis, a condition common after breech or multiple births where babies’ heads are turned stiffly to one side.
Work as Play
Danielle said treating kids can be much more challenging than treating adults because their stage of emotional and cognitive development often determines how they respond to treatment. For example, it can be nearly impossible to convince a toddler in the throes of the terrible 2’s to perform exercises on command. The solution: make the work seem like play.
“You have to figure out how to manipulate the (PT) session into a game or a competition,” Danielle said. So in order to coax a recalcitrant toddler, she might challenge her young patient to a kickboxing game to see who can kick over the most bolsters.
Many Settings. Many Rewards.
Physical therapists who specialize in pediatrics build strong competencies in some very specific areas of treatment, but they sometimes lose the skills they need to work with the general population in outpatient physical therapy clinics. Danielle said that as much as she loves pediatric physical therapy, she doesn’t ever want to lose her manual therapy skills and her ability to treat all sorts of patients.
“There are so many applications of PT, and I love all the settings,” Danielle said. So shortly after graduating and passing her certification test last summer, she began work at Excel Krewstown in Northeast Philadelphia. Now, many of her patients are adults and older adults, who need help getting back to doing day-to-day activities. In addition, Danielle sees high school athletes and some younger girls who are dancers or figure skaters.
The work she does now is every bit as rewarding as the pediatric work, she said. Young children may not recognize the role a PT plays in their recovery from an injury, but older kids and adults do. Kids who play sports often come back to treatment and joyfully report that they were able to play tennis or basketball without pain, while older adults are often grateful for little improvements that make a big difference.
“I had one patient with chronic shoulder pain from a rotator cuff injury tell me she was so happy and grateful to be able to hook her bra for the first time in years,” Danielle said. “That’s the best part of this job. When my patients are happy, I am happy!”
Danielle plans to continue to look for opportunities to help patients of all ages to get back to doing what they want to do.
“Top Workplaces are not only better places to work but are more likely to be successful than peer organizations.”
Philly.com released its annual list of the Top 100 Philadelphia Workplaces, and it’s no surprise to E&A Therapy employees that their workplace made the list. The list was compiled based solely on the WorkplaceDynamics’ annual employee survey of companies in the Philadelphia area, and E&A Physical Therapists and Patient Service Representatives had this to say about working here:
“I love that I have the ability to treat patients and have a positive impact on their lives.”
“They keep their employees well informed of any changes that may impact us or our patients. Training for the therapists and administrative staff is an ongoing process. ”
Our company operates under the brand names of Excel Physical Therapy and Apex Physical Therapy, and we employ more than 60 licensed physical therapists and 80 business office and clerical staff across 18 owned clinics, plus 4 additional clinics operated under management services contracts. Our company mission is our patients’ recovery! We provide outpatient physical therapy to restore movement and improve function for those with pain, injuries and disabilities. Our physical therapists use highly skilled hands-on techniques to improve mobility of stiff joints and restricted tissues.
According to Philly.com, “Top Workplaces are not only better places to work but are more likely to be successful than peer organizations.” Through Passion, Integrity, Excellence and Accountability, our company is always striving to be “A Step Ahead…A Step Above,” and we are proud of the success our dedication brings.
Frank Rabadam, Director; Jean Wombough, PSR; Meredith Mayes, PT
After a busy weekend and some fancy footwork, Excel physical therapists and staff welcomed patients to the new Excel Jenkintown clinic. The move was completed in two quick days to insure as little interruption as possible to patients’ treatment, and the new, more accessible facility will make it easier for all of our patients to get the treatment they need.
Monday was an exciting day at the clinic. Staff settled quickly into their new work areas, new equipment gleamed, and bright sunshine flowed through the windows.
Our patients give the facility rave reviews:
“The place is beautiful, spacious, so bright!”
“It’s much easier to park and get to!”
“And the staff is as great as ever…even though they make you work hard to get better!”
Congratulations to Clinic Director, Frank Rabadam, Physical Therapist Meredith Mayes, and Patient Service Representatives, Jean Wombough, and Donna Tonkin on your new “home.” We know how pleased you are to have a great new facility to better serve your patients. Thanks for doing all the hard work required to make it happen.
Find us at: One Abington Plaza, 101 Old York Road, Suite 204, Jenkintown; 215-886-5520.
“Excuses are tools for the cowardly, upon which monuments of nothingness are built.” Author Unknown
Photo Credit: Ildar Sagdejev
It takes a lot of perseverance and a lot of grit to work in construction or landscaping, day in and day out. And when on-the-job injuries occur, it can be difficult for laborers to find medical professionals who understand the effort it takes to get back to work.
Before obtaining Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT), Greg Jeblonski worked for about 7 years in landscaping, and he thinks his blue collar background goes a long way in enabling him to help patients with work-related injuries.
“They often feel no one understands them,” Jeblonski said, “because they feel doctors or other clinicians in the medical world haven’t experienced working ten-plus hours a day, five days a week, busting your hump from start to finish. My exposure to that kind of work setting helps give me ‘street-cred.’”
Education and Good Form
Greg works at Excel’s Walnut Street clinic, where he applies his background to real life situations that lots of his patients face. “I teach patients not to fear movement or the scenario where they were injured,” he said. “Further, I try to be up-to-date with research, and educate my patients.”
Misinformation about injuries and people’s perceptions of pain is everywhere, he said. For example, common knowledge promotes “lifting with the legs,” but research shows that we are safe to lift with what was previously thought of as ‘bad form,’ Greg says. For people who work arduous jobs, this kind of information can prevent recurring injuries and keep them working.
Strengthening exercises can make a big difference, too. “We want to strengthen people’s bodies for all situations,” Greg said, because on-the-job conditions are not always ideal for allowing “best form.”
A Physical Therapist Role
Greg says he enjoys many aspects of being a PT, but trying to help others recover from injuries and achieve their full potential is the best part of the job. “I like being the impetus, the drive, for helping people overcome their obstacles,” he said. “As PTs, we are perfectly positioned to do these things, whereas doctors, psychologists, and life coaches do not seem to have the same intimate relationship with their clients. That’s why I chose PT over something else.”
Greg grew up right here in Philadelphia, but after graduating, he and his wife moved to Boston for a couple years and then quit their jobs and backpacked across Europe for three months. Upon their return to the states, they worked as traveling PTs in Seattle for four months.
“Traveling definitely has been a positive influence on my life,” he said. “Choose your cliché: it broadens your horizons, makes you appreciate home, etc. But it really helps one become a more rounded individual, having experienced other cultures,” he said. “As you can imagine, that translates into being able to relate to patients of various backgrounds, as well.”
Greg, who has always been an avid athlete, now stays active in recreational soccer leagues, rock climbing, and general fitness activities at the gym. Plus, he and his wife, who is a PT, as well, have two daughters under age 3. It’s not quite as rigorous as landscaping, but “they always keep us busy and moving!” he said.
Read more about Greg and his experiences with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in Iraq in this article from ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine®.
GLEN MILLS, Pennsylvania (February 5, 2013) – U.S. Congressman Patrick Meehan (PA-07) will be meeting with constituents at Excel Physical Therapy at The Shoppes at Smithbridge, 331 Wilmington-West Chester Pike on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 10 a.m. While visiting Excel, he will take questions and discuss constituents’ concerns about current healthcare issues.
Meehan, who is serving his second term in Congress, co-sponsored the Physical Therapist Student Loan Repayment Eligibility Act of 2011 and also voted to repeal a provision in the 2010 health care law that would impose a tax on the sale of medical devices. He serves on the Oversight and Government Reform, Homeland Security, Transportation and Infrastructure, and House Ethics Committees.
Excel Physical Therapy in Glen Mills is one of 18 E & A Therapy clinics, committed to providing access to quality rehabilitative services and the information patients need to maintain healthy lifestyles. A Montgomery County-based company, owned and operated by physical therapists, E & A brings passion, integrity, excellence and accountability to its role as a health care provider. Our physical therapists participate in 40 hours of continuing education each year – well beyond what is recommended by the American Physical Therapy Association. As a result, they are some of the most knowledgeable physical therapists in the region.
The public is invited to stop by the Excel clinic to meet Congressman Meehan. While there, they can also meet the Excel physical therapy staff to discuss how physical therapy can help them maintain the quality of life they deserve.
Get your questions answered by the experts!
Join Dr. Nicholas Pagano, DPM and Jane Fagan, PT, DPT as they talk about common foot and ankle problems.
The place is Born to Run in Lafayette Hill from 1 to 3 pm.
Hope to see you there!