Physical Therapist Darcy Peach Provides Peace of Mind to Duchenne Families
Darcy Peach discovered her calling to become a physical therapist while undergoing treatment for a volleyball injury in high school.
During her treatment sessions, Darcy’s physical therapist took a great deal of care and time in treating her. She witnessed first-hand the therapeutic and relationship building benefits that occur during the process of physical therapy. Darcy’s injury healed and she found herself with a potential career.
“I was drawn to physical therapy because of the high potential for relationship development. I want to get to know patients,” explains Darcy. “Knowing my patients – their hopes and fears – is a building block to proper care and promotes better treatment outcomes for them. It also makes the experience more rewarding for me.”
After she graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, Darcy interned at Shriners Hospital in Chicago working with children who have spinal cord injuries. Previously Darcy had worked only with adults, and she was inspired by the resilience and positivity of these children that she switched to pediatrics.
“Kids with spinal cord injuries have a tough road ahead of them,” Darcy explains. “I wanted to help them live their life to its fullest potential.”
For more than four years, Darcy has worked with a variety of pediatric patients, including numerous boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that causes fatal muscle deterioration. She felt that a more comprehensive, Duchenne-specific treatment focus would help her better serve her Duchenne patients. Darcy enrolled in the CureDuchenne Cares physical therapy continuing education course in Chicago. She then took the next step in her Duchenne education by independently studying current research materials, then successfully passed the examination to become a CureDuchenne Cares Certified Physical Therapist.
Developed by Jennifer Wallace, founder of the Duchenne Therapy Network, the CureDuchenne Cares Physical Therapist Certification program works in conjunction with CureDuchenne, a national nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for Duchenne. The physical therapy, educational, and outreach program focuses on the most current standards of care, shared best practices, and the skills necessary to navigate the healthcare system.
The CureDuchenne Cares program helped Darcy be a better patient advocate by giving her the knowledge and confidence to recommend proper equipment. She learned that the most recent Duchenne standards of care recommend the use of resting Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs) at night for a prolonged stretch to help minimize contractures. This guideline was different than Darcy’s previous notion to recommend using AFOs during the day for ambulation, which may impact compensatory movement patterns needed by those with Duchenne to maintain balance when walking, increase demands on leg muscles, and impair ability to rise up from the floor.
“This certification provides peace of mind for a Duchenne family,” describes Darcy. “They no longer need to worry about whether their child is getting the best care because they are working with a CureDuchenne Cares Certified physical therapist.”
To find a CureDuchenne Cares Certified Physical Therapist go to: http://cureduchennecares.org/duchenne-care/certifiedtherapist/