“Geriatrics is my passion,” says Katie O’Bryan, who has spent the last six years as a physical therapist at Parkridge Medical Center. “It’s so rewarding to help older adults return home at their highest level of independence.” In fact, O’Bryan wishes she could meet her patients sooner – before that first fall. “Seniors should see a therapist when first noticing a change in their walking or balance,” she explains. “If people become more aware and engaged earlier in the aging process, I believe therapists could have a tremendous impact and help these individuals enjoy a greater quality of life for a longer period of time.” No matter the circumstances, O’Bryan always pairs compassion and understanding with her can-do attitude, pushing her patients mentally and physically throughout the healing process.
“I love seeing the daily progress patients make as a result of their physical therapy.”
1. What is one of your happiest professional moments?
At the top of the list has to be working with stroke patients and having the privilege of helping them re-take those first steps.
2. What is your best advice for patients?
If you don’t use it, you lose it! When people stop doing activities they enjoy or want to do because they have become challenging, they really can begin to have a harder time. You do not have to stop doing certain things because you are “old.”
3. What would you consider to be your main strengths?
Being able to see the big picture, which is critical for therapists. I have experience with various levels of patients as well as diagnoses from neurology, cardio, and wound care. My experience has given me the knowledge to more effectively treat each patient as a whole rather than as a single diagnosis like “a knee” or “a stroke.”
4. What is your philosophy when it comes to the care for your patients?
My patient care philosophy goes back to the most basic statement we learn in school: Treat your patient like a family member.
5. Do you believe in miracles?
I do – there are some things that cannot be just coincidence or good luck. Seeing people overcome adversity in this field definitely reinforces that belief.
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