The American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) National School Backpack Awareness Day is held on the third Wednesday of each September. The AOTA provides strategies for hosting backpack events as well as handouts, artwork and videos that therapists can use to promote awareness for backpack safety. AOTA member Jordyn Braun, COTA is leading the backpack safety awareness charge at RehabVisions’ outpatient clinic in Dickinson, North Dakota.
No two rehab departments are the same. However, working together to cultivate a healthy rehab team is a goal all teams should work toward, no matter the setting or how small or large the staff. Rehab directors Lili Wells, PT and Jenefer Mills, PT believe communication plays a large role in creating healthy environments.
Omaha, Nebraska houses the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home, a skilled nursing facility founded in 1982 and partner of RehabVisions since 1986. Our therapists recently helped Rose Blumkin install a sensory room, a space designed to abate the symptoms of dementia and other cognitive disorders. Occupational Therapist Rosie Gneym chose the sensory room as her passion project, an initiative she pursued during her doctorate program’s professional rotation at Rose Blumkin. The room required extensive design and conceptual research.
Nicole Sampson, OT in Marion, Kansas, went outside-the-box with her marketing efforts to grow pediatric services for her therapy department—she started a play-time group for kids. Named Toddler Time, the hour-long free program occurs twice a month and provides young children with a place to interact and develop social skills. The therapy department provides snacks, free resources for parents on summer play ideas, and introduces play activities that expand communication and promote tolerance to new textures in a controlled environment.
Jennifer Flanagan, SLP
June is National Aphasia Awareness Month, dedicated to increasing awareness of the communication disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak, read, write and/or listen. Debra Kirchhoff, SLP is an advocate for therapists checking in on aphasic patients outside of their therapy sessions. When you hear skilled nursing staff use words or phrases like “combative,” or “they don’t understand me,” or “my patient just isn’t getting ready the way I want,” it’s appropriate to offer advice. These types of comments can be common when staff deal with aphasic patients. Providing occasional feedback to staff on how to best interact with them will help to reduce patient agitation.