Did you know that April is National Occupational Therapy Month?
Occupational therapy, along with physical and speech therapies, are part of a long standing history of provided services that are offered here on the Brothers of Mercy Wellness Campus. When our Brothers first began offering restorative therapies in the 1960’s to those in need, occupational therapy was seen and recognized as a vital step in recovery from stroke to regain function.
What exactly is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy helps people who, through injury or illness, have lost some of their ability to perform important activities of daily living.
Common ADL’s include: – eating – bathing – dressing – cooking – doing laundry
The overall recovery focus of an OT program is to improve your ability to perform these tasks and all of the fine motor skills needed to take care of yourself independently.
OTs and COTAs at Brothers of Mercy provide patients with important hands‐on experiences in an environment that is staged with full‐scale bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, laundry, and garden set-ups.
Therapists also work with patients for their return to the community by practicing in the shopping, travel, dining out and putting green areas. They also work with patients to enhance their cognition in order to promote safety and minimize the risks of falls.
The main goals of OT are to improve coordination, strength and range of motion in order to increase independence.
Our Brothers of Mercy occupational therapy department employees are amazingly dedicated professional individuals! According to BOM’s Outpatient Clinic OTR Rachel Larson,
“As an outpatient OT, I am given the opportunity to connect with individuals both in the community and on our Wellness Campus on a daily basis. My education and experience have prepared me for working with individuals of all ages, all diagnoses and from all walks of life, which is truly a blessing.
When in college a professor told my class that “OT’s are adaptable, that is not only your job but becomes a state of mind.”
In the unprecedented time we find ourselves in today, being able to adapt is an essential skill in providing the best care to our community. I am especially grateful for my ability to care for and work with residents and patients here at Brothers of Mercy. As an Occupational Therapist I have experienced the effects of teamwork, patience and kindness on the quality of life for not only our patients but also for their families and even fellow healthcare workers.
Now more than ever, I am thankful for being part of the Brothers of Mercy family and having the skills to assist wherever I am needed to help other therapists and staff to provide the best care for our patients and residents.
Happy OT Month to my fellow OTs who continue to “change their hats” to meet the needs of our patients and work families.”
– Rachel Larson, OTR
Our very own Brother Terrence Mansfield recalls his time spent in the 1970’s helping to launch the OT program in the nursing home. A Brother since the late 1950’s, Br. Terrence spent the 60’s working as an RN at Sacred Heart Home, BOM’s assisted nursing facility which was incurring a rising number of patients who had suffered strokes. Up until then, the best that could typically be done for these types of injuries was pursuing palliative/comfort measures for the patients.
But the Brothers saw an opportunity to expand beyond this and treat patients in an innovative new way which could aid in restoring some or all function to their patients. They became pioneers in therapy, and sought to teach their patients how to adapt to a new way of living with their medical conditions.
Because this was still a developing field in the 1970’s, the therapy team had to be incredibly innovative in their approach to adaptive equipment. As Brother Terrence says, “Now you just look in a catalog for this type of equipment. But back then, we had to make splints for the arms, develop weighted forks and spoons, plates with guards, etc. We saw the need for these things and got creative.”
When asked what he most enjoyed about his days working as a COTA, Br. Terrence replies, “Helping my patients become more independent with their new conditions…re-teaching and helping them re-learn how to eat, for example. And then seeing them progress in their healing journeys: witnessing them be able to dress themselves, feed themselves”
The passion, patience and dedication that our current inpatient and outpatient OT teams, as well as Brother Terrence possess, make it very evident that this is more of a vocation than just a “job”. The Brothers of Mercy Wellness Campus, as well as all of our residents and patients, are truly blessed to be able to be able to benefit from their dedicated service!
To all of our team members working in the OT departments, Happy National Occupational Therapy Month!