This April, as part of Occupational Therapy Awareness Month, we honor the occupational therapists (OTs) at Craig Hospital who play a significant role in the rehabilitation process for patients with spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury. Occupational therapy focuses on maximizing independence in daily living skills. Each patient has a customized treatment plan geared toward returning home as independent as possible.
Craig Hospital has 65 occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants who work with patients and their families to identify personal goals related to function and activities of daily living. Long-time OT, Maureen Stobbelaar, describes the community at Craig as, “an amazing, smart group of people with different interests and experiences who willingly share their knowledge with each other.” Stobbelaar continues, “during my years as an OT, I’ve seen the profession grow and become an increasingly valuable part of recovery. Advances in technology make a huge impact on how we incorporate activity into recovery.”
Occupational therapists provide special expertise in building therapeutic daily routines and in adapting activities to help people participate in their life roles. Our specialty fields focus on upper extremity and hand function, vision, community reintegration, transportation and assistive technology. All these treatments help patients achieve functional independence, return to daily routines, and enjoy a high quality of life.
Ellen Severe, Craig's Director of Occupational Therapy, says, "we are fortunate to work for Craig Hospital who supports and encourages us to focus on our patients goals and outcomes, and I, personally, am blessed to work for a department of dedicated therapists that are passionate about our profession and what we can offer."
Occupational therapists, Physical therapists and Speech therapists work together to help patients set and meet realistic goals, educate families on how they can assist and facilitate independence, and teach patients how they can define and re-establish their roles with family, at school, and at work. “Co-treating is a valuable way for OTs to gain knowledge from another discipline’s perspective,” says Stobbelaar. “It provides a cohesive way to maximize therapeutic goals and teach patients how to move and take care of their bodies.”