Eldercare in-home physical therapy/massage in Montreal
May 30, 2015 9:14 PM   Subscribe

My mother has an advanced form of dementia that includes severe physical deterioration. She holds parts of her body very rigid and her caregivers say she is getting increasingly stiff. I’ve been thinking that there has to be a niche for a practitioner who would come to her nursing home and administer some kind of massage that would help relax and maybe assuage the stiffness of someone who is essentially bed/chair bound.

What is this service called? How do I find someone good? Under the circumstances – she cannot give feedback in words and very limited (often ambiguous) nonverbal feedback at all – is this even a good idea?

I would appreciate both general help and advice on this and especially if anybody has recommendations for resources specifically in Montreal.

Mostly I am finding fancy spa massage places that offer in-home services with ‘deep tissue’ and ‘swedish’ options, that I’m not confident would be able to work with someone with a non-typical physical condition. I think I would feel better with someone with some kind of medical credential, though I don’t know much about the credentialing for massage therapists and maybe there is a level/kind of certification that I should be looking for?
posted by Salamandrous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Well, physical therapists generally do medical-type muscular release work, and I'm not sure that your average-trained massage therapist has any training at all with the [word I can't think of but means rigid withdrawn limbs] forms of bodywork.

You really do need a physical therapist.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:45 PM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding a physical therapist. All licensed, registered physical therapists in Quebec belong to the Order of Professional Physiotherapists of Quebec (OPPQ).

You can find some more info about physical therapy and finding a physical therapist here:
posted by juliebug at 10:51 PM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

We just went through this with my partner who had a stroke 3 years ago. He has almost fully recovered but the stiffness has crept back in and it is obvious to us that he needs deep therapeutic massage. But where to get it!? In the US physical therapy has become divided up, for some reason, into this path - "physical therapists" will help you learn to walk again and they will generally ignore your upper body and they won't ever give you deep massage or even use repetitive motion like you see in tv movies. They will sit next to you and give you electric stimulation treatment. (Sorry to knock physical therapists but this is my experience over 3 years.)
Now, in the US at least, "occupational therapists" work with your upper body. But then try to find one that does deep massage. We did. An hour from our house. She put damp-heated pads on his shoulder and then did deep massage. She really worked it. The aftermath was just amazing - he felt improvement in his shoulder for about three weeks just from that one session.
We are trying to find someone closer to home and I try to do it but I am not strong enough plus he is very muscular so it is hard.
So to summarize. Yes, IMO you are exactly on track to what she needs.
She needs an occupational therapist.
It's a travesty and should be an embarrassment to the medical profession that you have to figure this out yourself.
(and our OT calls this problem "spasticity" which is confusing to laymen, I think, because most people think of spastic as meaning involuntary muscle spasms but it also, apparently, means muscle stiffness. And, you are right to believe this is a priority because it will just keep getting worse if nothing is done. IMO. I'm not a doctor.)
posted by cda at 6:27 AM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

In British Columbia, there are in home physical therapists. I was assigned one after I was discharged from hospital after an accident. The service was free to me and the in home consult was a bridging thing until I was eligible for hospital outpatient rehab. Obviously the service has limited availability.

I would make an appointment with the doctor and see if there are any similar services for referral. The nursing home director might be another resource - ask if other residents are receiving physical therapy and, if so, how it was arranged.

That said, your mother is not a great candidate for physical therapy because she can't really participate in the process. Physical therapy is expensive if your mother doesn't qualify for provincially funded care. She'll only qualify if a doctor believes rehabilitation is possible.

Have you thought of simply getting Magic Bags or other microwavable hot packs and applying them to stiff areas? Another idea, if you are looking for a comfort measure, have you looked for a provider that does in home pedicure services for the elderly. This service does exist. Have your mother get a pedicure, she gets fixed up feet and you might get a referral to other providers and resources in the senior community. Both of these are cheaper than private pay physical therapy or massage.
posted by crazycanuck at 7:43 AM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

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