During lockdown, providers become patients’ “family, motivator, friend”

In addition to her surgical mask and eye shield, Cheryl Scott’s form of personal protective equipment is a rock-solid commitment to her colleagues at HonorHealth Rehabilitation Hospital in Scottsdale, AZ. The 2007 graduate of DMU’s doctor of physical therapy program is director of rehabilitation at the 50-bed inpatient facility, which was deemed to be an overflow hospital to its system’s acute care hospitals.

“While we have the opportunity to remain busy, we also have the daily challenges of patient and staff protection and hospital morale,” she says. “It’s a scary time for everybody. It has to change the way you lead. I feel it’s brought me closer to our staff through communication, openness, honesty and weekly meetings to check in on their mental health.”

Challenges included prohibiting visitors and, at times, providing physical therapy in patients’ rooms.

“When we can’t have visitors and we do half the patients’ treatments in their rooms, we went from being their physical therapist to being their family, their voice of reason, their motivator and their friend,” she says. “I don’t treat patients specifically, but I’ve been jumping in and helping with patients so the staff can see I’m not asking them to do anything I wouldn’t do.”

Scott and her husband, Ryan Scott, D.P.M.’08, FACFAS, a podiatric physician at the CORE Institute in Phoenix, feel fortunate they’re able to take their children, Camden, 5, and Rylee, 2, to their Montessori daycare and school, although that isn’t without worry.

Cheryl Scott, D.P.T.’07, and Ryan Scott, D.P.M.’08, FACFAS, with their children, Camden and Rylee

“Every single day, one of us could come home exposed to coronavirus. But what we’ve done as health professionals is what we’ve always done, take care of patients,” she says.

Scott is not optimistic that a vaccine will end the pandemic. She believes that any long-term changes in the nation’s health care system will come from those who work in it.

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