Monday, April 16, 2018 7:06 PM

How Occupational Therapists Help Patients Reclaim Their Lives

After a medical emergency, you want to return to your normal life as soon as possible. But because of your injury or illness, it’s time to find a “new normal.” That’s where an Occupational Therapist comes in.
Our job titles baffle people. Most people haven’t heard of Occupational Therapy (OT). People assume different things like “you help people find jobs” or “you work with hands.”
In ways, we do, but there’s a bigger context that is being missed.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), defines an occupation as “the things that people do that occupy their time and attention; meaningful, purposeful activity.” The AOTA puts occupations into eight categories:

  • Activities of Daily Living such as self-care, functional mobility, sex
  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living  such as child care, pet care, home management, driving or getting around your community, financial management, health management
  • Rest and Sleep
  • Education
  • Work
  • Play
  • Leisure
  • Social participation 

Taking patients from trauma to regular life

 After a catastrophic event, the ability to do your daily life functions can become harder. You may even feel like you took being able to brush your hair for granted.
At Community Medical Centers, our occupational therapists work with patients to bring the pieces of life together again. Occupational therapists rehabilitate patients in a holistic perspective taking into consideration what matters the most to you. OT works to rehabilitate both the mind and body through meaningful, functional tasks and develop customized plans to achieve your goals and take your life back.
Occupational therapy breaks down daily tasks - tasks we all take for granted such as:
  • Eating a meal
  • Getting dressed
  • Using the bathroom
  • Brushing your hair 
We take the patient through the task step by step in order to build these skills back again to gain independence. 
Occupational therapists require licensing and registration both nationally and statewide to practice. We go through extensive education and training on clinical patient care with specialty options such as burn recovery, neurosciences, cardiac rehab, hand therapy, pediatric rehab, neonatal, ICU rehabilitation initiation and mental health.

Occupational Therapy for every age and recovery phase

Our service can be offered to all ages - from newborns through the elderly population. It can be implemented in just about any phase of a patient's treatment – from their bed in the ICU to inpatient rehabilitation facilities to the comfort of their home. 
We fabricate or provide a patient with custom equipment needs such as custom upper extremity splints, specialized adaptive feeding equipment, home equipment for showering or toileting needs and more.
Our department does its best to foster a multi-disciplinary approach by coordinating care with other allied staff (including physical therapy and speech therapy), physicians and discharge planning services. Occupational therapy is proud to offer such services, providing "skills for the job of living."
We help make things possible!

A reason to celebrate OT

April is National Occupational Therapy Month – time to share our passion for our profession and help educate about our role!
Here at Community Medical Centers we have an environment which fosters the individual care and attention each of our patients need and deserve. As our department grows we look forward to collaborating more with our healthcare colleagues to build our patient's lives together again! 
So, have you met an occupational therapist lately? We are NOT physical therapists nor are we nurses. Just ask us about OT and we’d love to chat about it.

Meet Our Occupational Therapists

Acute Care (LEFT): Carlos Villareal, OT Rehab Aide; Casey Rusko, OT; Tom Giddings, OT; Amanda Trejo, OT; Rachel Mayu, OT; Shaina Talbot, OT; Linda Puentes, COTA.

Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center (MIDDLE): Ali Wiggam, OT; Donna Stevenson, OT; Veronica Rodriguez, OT; Sheila Mitchell , OT; Jonathan Koop, OT; Meghan Kroll, OT

Home Health (RIGHT): Calvin Ng, OT

Community Outpatient Rehab Services (BOTTOM): Charles Laurente, OT; Julie Evans, OT; Clint Yada, OT 

- The Community Occupational Therapy Team