Life Care Centers of America
10/12/2020
Heidi Pino

Life Care truly appreciates each of our Champions of Care, and since October is Physical Therapy Month, we thought it would be fitting to honor our amazing physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

Physical therapists serve in each of our buildings to help patients recover from illness or injury. They address issues with strength (especially lower-body strength), activity tolerance, mobility, balance and range of motion. They are the primary therapists that work with patients to help them walk again, reduce their risk of falling or get in and out of bed.

Meet Andrew Tham

Andrew is one of our champion physical therapists. He serves as part of the rehabilitation team at Hallmark Manor in Federal Way, Washington.

Andrew earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Husson University in Bangor, Maine, in May 2019 and was awarded the Golden Goniometer Award on graduation. During his doctoral education, he took part in four clinical rotations there – one in an outpatient clinic, one in home health and two in skilled nursing. Andrew also served as the marketing director and treating therapist of the pro-bono clinic of the university, as well as volunteered at the boxing club for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Although Andrew is a fairly recent therapy graduate, he has nearly a decade of experience working as a private live-in rehabilitation and care manager in England to patients suffering from acquired brain injuries using a holistic, integrated and real-life approach. In this role, he managed the whole care package and was directly responsible for the delivery of home rehabilitation activities (physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy in conjunction with specialized therapists). He worked very closely with the patients, their families and other health care professionals to enable sustainable recovery improvements and achieved notable successful outcomes for the patients and families.

After nearly 10 years of serving in this capacity, Andrew pursued his further education and chose physical therapy over clinical psychology, though he has never lost his passion for addressing his patients’ emotional and psychological needs.

“My background taught me to be holistic,” Andrew shared. “It also taught me the skill and importance of collaborating effectively with other disciplines in order to provide patients the best care possible.”

Hallmark Manor is Andrew’s first workplace as a DPT.

“I’m very grateful to have a good team and very supportive supervisors,” Andrew said. “I think I’m very fortunate that everybody from different disciplines works effectively as a team in this facility.”

Outside of work, Andrew enjoys watching movies, traveling, exercising and cooking.

“I find cooking relaxing,” he said. “It’s therapeutic.”

Andrew has even shared his talent in cooking by regularly preparing homecooked food to share with the rehab team… and a few other associates who discovered his culinary abilities.

What physical therapy means to him

Andrew is a very upbeat person, and the positive outcomes that often come from PT appealed to him from the beginning.

“I just want to see people better and happy,” Andrew said. “PT utilizes science, and also the art of applying innovative and creative interventions to provide individualized treatment plans to help individuals regain functional mobility, through trusting therapeutic relationships. We’re helping people to regain their lives through movement.”

Sometimes the job of a physical therapist can be challenging – especially when working with patients with cognitive impairments – but Andrew embraces the challenges and tries to help his patients reach whatever is possible.

“I like to see people get well, be happy and go home if they can,” he said. “If they can’t get well, I want to help them live the best life they can.”

Andrew also shared that there is a preventative side to physical therapy. For example, programs on balance, strengthening and activity tolerance can be used to help seniors prevent the declines or falls that often lead to a stay in the hospital or skilled nursing home. This aspect is often overlooked or underutilized, he said.

“I try to get every patient I discharge from therapy into a restorative or functional maintenance program,” Andrew shared.

Whatever It Takes in therapy

Andrew is well known at the facility for being an innovative and enthusiastic physical therapist who will do Whatever It Takes And Then Some for his patients.

“Andrew utilizes equipment that is often overlooked, such as the LiteGait, to ensure optimal outcomes, and is excited to learn more every day (Closed Pulse Irrigation™, wounds, seating and positioning),” said Helena Collins-Price, regional rehab director. “He has worked with activities to ensure the exercises offered in the exercise class were tailored to the residents attending. His outcomes speak volumes!”

Helena added that Andrew even volunteered to travel to Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, to assist during the facility’s COVID-19 crisis. He worked hard at helping residents restore function, all while staying in a hotel with a kitchenette so he could prepare his own nutritious food to help stay healthy and to further protect against the spread of infection.

“I take my patients into my heart,” Andrew said. “Outside of working hours, I often think about what I can do differently for my patients in order to achieve better treatment outcomes.”

Life Care thanks Andrew, and all our phenomenal physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, for being such amazing Champions of Care!

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Life Care operates or manages more than 200 skilled nursing, rehabilitation, Alzheimer's and senior living campuses in 28 states.

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