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About Us For Patients and their Families Office of Geriatric Research Medical Education Newsletter
Gerontologic Enviromental Modifications
Betty Chow to Expand OsteoFitness Program to Amsterdam Nursing Home

Betty Chow is the Senior Physical Therapist in the Rehabilitation Department of the Hospital for Special Surgery. Many of the Department's outpatients are cared for by the Division of Geriatrics's programs, including the Wright Center. Chow specializes in orthopedics, specifically osteoporosis patients, and has run a unique evidenced based program called OsteoFITNESS since 1996.

The goal of OsteoFITNESS is to allow osteoporosis patients a chance to exercise in a controlled, safe environment. Participants benefit from the supervision and expertise of a physical therapist. Because many of these patients fear injury from commonplace activity, they often refrain from the very physical activities that will improve their health and mobility. Many different conditions erode mobility and flexibility in the elderly, including spinal stenosis and balance difficulties because of musculoskeletal problems such as tight joints or healing wounds. The six-week OsteoFITNESS program is open to the public, and has been a great success since its inception.

With the success of OsteoFITNESS, Chow is setting up a GeriFITNESS exercise program at the Amsterdam Nursing Home in conjunction with physical therapist Traci Matthias. GeriFITNESS will be a continuous program, allowing participants to develop personalized exercise routines with the assistance and supervision of physical therapists. It is expected to be active in mid-May. GeriFITNESS will enable the residents of the Amsterdam Nursing Home to participate in the same programs as those participants in the OsteoFITNESS program; however, it will not be limited to osteoporosis patients.

GeriFITNESS will be run on the same 5-point program as OsteoFITNESS, focusing on:

  • Posture and body mechanics
  • Flexibility
  • Strengthening
  • Weight-bearing
  • Balance

In addition to GeriFITNESS and OsteoFITNESS, Chow is involved in two research projects. The first involves looking at the relationship between posture and measures of balance, muscular flexibility, and joint ranges of motion. The second explores the effects of trunk-strengthening exercises on spinal posture. She will present her data on the efficacy of the OsteoFITNESS program to the annual American Physical Therapy Association in Anaheim, California on 23 June 2001.

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