Introduction to Occupational Therapy

Kareem Parks
Introduction to Occupational Therapy
Clinical Observation/ Interview
I recently completed a clinical observation on a Occupational Therapist by the name of Katrina Lewis-Arnold  at South Suburban Rehabilitation Center located at 1900 South Halsted Homewood, Illinois 60430, contact number (708)957-9200. The facility is a rehabilitation nursing home that provides care to a variety of patients from acute, surgery recovery, service injury care, debilitating care, to transitioning from hospital to home care. They work with a wide range of patients such as orthopedic, stroke, and neuromuscular care needs.
The personal in the therapy department are out sourced from TriCare Rehab which is a contract rehab company that provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy services to nursing home facilities. The therapy department consists of a wide range of therapist Frances Fishelle and Physical therapist by the name Bernard Sntoe and several therapy assistance that help out with the patients. The personnel within the department all help one another alone with the nursing car staff to assure proper care to all their patients that receive therapy and daily nursing care.
Katrina Arnold completed her Occupational Therapy education by receiving her master’s degree in occupational therapy at Governs State University in 2002, after she received her bachelor’s from a college in Kansas City Missouri. Katrina moved from Kansas Missouri to Chicago Illinois in 1996 to complete the rest of her educational goals of becoming an Occupational Therapist. Katrina stated that this was a lifelong passion for her and something she dreamt of doing for so many years.
Katrina stated that she has had most of her experience working with geriatric patients during her time as an occupational therapist and although she enjoys this line of work she stated that now that she has a young daughter she is ready to explore working with pediatric patients. Katrina stated that she completed her field work experience at South Suburban Rehabilitation Center several years back, yet she never thought that she would one day be actually practicing at the same site.
Katrina also stated that she has spent several years working in nursing homes and would like to branch off into a business of her own but due to her recently starting a family that life adventure has to be placed on hold for now. Katrina stated that she first started off working in nursing homes as full time therapy staff and then she decided to outsource to TriCare for flexibility within her scheduling. Katrina stated that she enjoys the flexibility of TriCare because it helps her balance her career and family life.
The populations that Katrina serves at South Suburban Rehabilitation are elderly patients who have experienced impaired vision, hearing impairments, strokes, injury, orthopedic issues, neuromuscular issues, hip replacements etc. Many of the patient’s at South Suburban rehabilitation Center have diagnosis of dementia, stroke, mental disorders, somatic disorders, social, emotional somatic disorders, circulatory system, heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, amputations and blindness.
Katrina completes several assessments at South Suburban Rehabilitation Center such as, completing assessments to develop collaborative goals to identify the strengths and deficits on each of her patient to develop treatment goals. Katrina also stated that she completes assessments to address barriers that may hinder the patient’s performance goals. She also creates intervention plans, which are designed to promote optimal function for her patient’s whom goals are to transition back home, other facilities, or even long term care facilities.
Katrina stated that she uses several treatment techniques on her patients such as developing treatment plans to address priorities and goals for patients. Katrina stated that she treats fatigue in patients by teaching patients to conserve energy, relaxation techniques, improve sleep habits, and reduce stress. Katrina treats her patients that lack skill in day to day activities by teaching those ways to protect their joints, manage pain, and the use of equipment such as treadmills, and exercise balls. Katrina stated that she recommends her patients use splints, insoles and arthritis household equipment such as raised toilet seats, enlarged grips to improve or maintain function of care treatments.
Katrina seemed as if she had a wonderful relationship with her patients. When I arrived at the nursing home and Katrina was getting ready to see patients I noticed that several patients were coming to the door to see her. Katrina greeted her patients by name and it was very obvious that she had a personal relationship with her clients. Katrina asked them personal question such as how your granddaughter was party Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith responded by saying “It was wonderful Katrina.”  Katrina’s relationship was as if they were good friends. I found that she had developed a trusting relationship with many of her patients which was awesome.
The purpose for the three clients that I observed Katrina providing care for were rehabilitation services stirred around remedial and compensatory techniques that would make her patients participate and be engaged in activities. Katrina stated that she used symbolic cues to formulate plans to see the response time and reflects of performance within her patients for the purpose of premeditated reflections.
Katrina directed me with an interaction with one patient by the name of Mr. Hall. I was instructed give Mr. Hall instructions to put glue bottles away by using visible clues. I asked Katrina what the purpose of the activity was and she stated, “The goal was to direct Mr. Hall’s actions and produce compliance with an established procedure in means to show compliance and mobility function.” Katrina explained that she practices repetitive training with her patient’s because it will help ensure retained skills of daily care routines and promote independent skills.
Overall my experience was very informative and a great clinical experience. The South Suburban Rehabilitation Center provides transitional services to their patients were therapist will continue to see them in their home after they have ended services at the nursing facility. The occupational therapist also provide follow up care to their patients once they leave the facility to make sure they leave with all treatment issues addressed and any further services resources they may need in addition to transitioning away from their site.
Based on my evaluation I think that Katrina truly has a passion for occupational therapy and it showed in the quality of care I observed her delivered to her patients during my time with her. Katrina showed her patients that they weren’t just another person she had to see but they were important by remembering their names and conversations she had with them the last time she saw them and following up on those conversations. I think that by showing patients they are valued really shows dedication to delivering customer services.
I think that I would love to work under a contracted company like Katrina for the purposes of flexibility much like her reasons for choosing a contracted company, although I think I would like to work with children more simply because they are my passion. Overall this experience was very rewarding and further more confirms that this is in fact something I truly have a passion for and would like to continue working toward.

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