In our staff series highlighting the roles of individuals at VNH, we talked with Lynn Fortin, Physical Therapist. Lynn has been a physical therapist at Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire for six years. She became a physical therapist because her parents wanted her to explore alternative options to being a nurse. In the summer before her senior year of high school, she had the opportunity to work in a rehabilitation hospital. She was allowed to help exercise and walk clients and from here was hooked! She wanted to help people who had sustained an illness, injury, or surgery return to their highest level of function.

Tell us a little bit about your day as a Physical Therapist at VNH.

I am a staff physical therapist for the Windsor team. I have a beautiful territory that I cover that allows me to occasionally take a break in the day to sit by the water to work on my charting or take a quick walk to clear my head. I enjoy the variety of patient’s that I see and enjoy the break between my patients to be in my car to plan what I will be focusing on and doing with my next patient.  I am thankful that at the end of the day I can finish my computer work sitting on my front porch.

What are some of the ways your team supported each other when COVID first hit?

When we first learned of COVID and had to work from home, we had one to two therapists that went into the field while the remainder stayed home doing phone and virtual visits. Often the patients did not have or know how to do face-to-face visits virtually. Working with the nurses, they would often connect the therapists to the patients when they were in the home so we could put our eyes on the patients to review their treatment plan, assess their mobility, and provide the necessary education and changes to their programs.

What have you done as a Physical Therapist that you are most proud of?

When I was at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center I helped to start the vestibular rehabilitation program. This program helps those with vertigo and dizziness help regain their balance. Periodically, I treat patients at home with this therapy, but you have to work with a doctor to get a clear and concise diagnosis prior to the treatment. I was also part of a wound care team for several years at a local nursing home.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Focus on the positive. Sometimes I have to travel far distances and will look to the positive by enjoying the weather. I also know that if I have a question or concern regarding a patient I can always reach out to Stephanie, Jessica or Jean for assistance. When I go to a new area I also look at it as getting to experience a new part of NH or VT and then take in the scenery. I also focus on the fact that I am not working in a facility 8 hours a day and get to be outside getting fresh air, working with patient and caregivers without interruptions is such a positive for me!

Why do you enjoy working at VNH?

I enjoy being able to treat my patients in their home environment and providing one-to-one care.

What is something about you people would be surprised to know?

Every year I have a bucket list that I try to accomplish. I am trying to do 22 new/different things before 2022. This year I ran my first 5 K at the Harpoon Flannel, I went solo backpacking and ate in an igloo.