October 22, 2012 - There is no "typical” day for Dominador Ronquillo. After 19 years of physical therapy (PT) practice, Ronquillo has finally found a special area of interest. As a physical therapist in the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Ronquillo found his niche in evaluating and treating Veterans who, unfortunately, require ICU care. However, they are very fortunate to have Ronquillo as their therapist.
“He is a ray of sunshine, so bright that I need to wear sunglasses when I look at him,” said Patrick Wager, a physical therapist in the Polytrauma unit.
Ronquillo stays busy on a daily basis while conducting evaluations, assessing/treating patients, documenting, attending in-services, and participating in interdisciplinary meetings. ICU physical therapy is physically demanding as Ronquillo says therapists must use their own strength to transfer, gait train, and exercise patients while the patients are regaining their mobility.
It is apparent that providing high-quality care is of great importance to Ronquillo. Fortunately, he always stays ahead of the curve, maintaining knowledge of all pertinent medical equipment connected to the patient, with prolific command of functional, out-of-bed transfers to ensure that medical tubes (ventilators) and lines do not tangle the patient.
Many colleagues described Ronquillo as calm, observant, and very patient, which suits the ICU population.
“Most of the patients in the ICU move very slowly, initially, and require a lot of encouragement and motivation. You cannot rush them,” said Ronquillo. “The majority of my patients want to regain their physical and psychological strength, their ability to walk and be a productive part of the community again.”
After a long, mentally and physically demanding day, Ronquillo finds comfort in spending time with his wife of 17 years and his two children, all while finding time to express his love of music as a DJ.
The VAPAHCS ICU patients will find comfort in knowing that they have a highly skilled clinician on their side, working very hard toward their goal of recovery.
When asked to describe Ronquillo with a single phrase, physical therapist Mitch Maceda says, “Ronquillo is always forward thinking.”