New medical support team reduces musculoskeletal and mental health issues > Air Force > Show Articles

One of the first multidisciplinary operational medical support teams in the Air Force is working to reduce musculoskeletal and mental health problems in Hill Air Force Base.

The five-person team, consisting of an exercise physiologist, clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, physical therapist and strength conditioning coach, integrates with high-risk units for up to six months to achieve the desired results.

“What we’re really trying to do is look for the broader, long-term things that are causing the muscle and mental health issues so we can help the unit make adjustments to prevent future injuries or seizures.” of mental health,” said Bill Goins. , Base Operations Support Team Specialist”

Risk data, collected by 75th Medical Group over the past year, identifies high-risk units in the installation.

“We take the data and approach the leadership of the base couple’s units and explain what we’re seeing and what we can do to help,” Goins said. “The units have been incredibly open and excited to have us come in.”

Once on the unit, the OST uses a four-stage approach to determine how best to help reduce musculoskeletal and mental health problems and establish internal stability when they move on to the next unit.

The team works side-by-side with unit members, in every section and every shift to experience what Airmen experience on the job and build trust with them.

“We’re out there trying to build trust and break down barriers so they can bring us concerns,” Goins said. “We do needs assessments for a couple, work through their sections with them and find out what they want and need. Then, we get to work helping Airmen.”

During a recent embedding opportunity with the 75th Security Forces Squadron, the OST noticed a lack of shoulder mobility from the people carrying their required equipment.

The team’s physical therapist made suggestions about what squadron members could do before arriving with their gear and when they tipped over, to help reduce repetitive use injuries.

Goins said OSTs reduced back pain profiles by 75% during their time with the 75th SFS.

“When we entered the unit, their musculoskeletal risk profile and mental health profile risk was the 12th highest out of 82 security forces units in the entire Air Force,” he said. “When we left, they were 75 out of 82.”

An essential part of what the TSO does is to help the squadron build and expand what it can do without the team around and establish contacts that the team can turn to for support.

“We develop the response team to optimize squadron performance,” Goins said. “These are people in the unit, so when we move on to our next location, these people can continue the kindness after we leave.”

Goins said the OST concept is important to the Air Force right now because instead of waiting for people to break, it’s getting ahead of them before the break happens.

“We’re doing physical work and mentally stressful work and people break,” he said. “This is not unique to the Air Force, it’s just people. I’m excited for airmen to have access to these specialties and knowledge in prevention.”

Every Air Force base is expected to have the services of a TSO in the next three to five years.

“Our goal is to make Airmen better for themselves, for their families and for the Air Force,” Goins said. “It’s an exciting thing, for sure.”

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