February 26, 2012

Occupational Therapy Explained...Bollywood Style!

You Said It! - Occupational Therapy! This is a Mini Movie created by vaithirehab1 (YouTube handle) with an intention to make the general public aware about Occupational Therapy and promote Occupational Therapy profession in India.

February 09, 2012

Occupational Therapy Terminology

Or as I'd like to call it, "OT Jargon". 

The first time many OT's open their first client chart, they become cross-eyed. I've come across at least 3 different ways to abbreviate the word "independent" and have written progress notes and discharge summaries ad nauseum. 

There are all sorts of abbreviations and symbols never seen before. It takes a lot of time to get used to but at the end you too can became familiar with "c/o, CBR, CXR, EOM, LOS..." and many more commonly used acronyms. 

Some time ago, I figured I should start making a list of all the symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms that I have come across and others that I might see in the future. Over the course of a few months and with the help of the Quick Reference Dictionary for Occupational Therapists by Karen Jacobs, EdD, OTR/L, CDE, FAOTA, I have compiled a list of useful terminology that might be beneficial to OT students, OTAs, OTRs, 
and even PTs.

(Credit for the above data goes toJacobs, K. (1998). Quick Reference Dictionary for Occupational Therapists. Slack Inc.

February 08, 2012

Falls and Fall Prevention

One of the very first lectures I attended when I started graduate school was on falls and fall prevention. Since then, we have had numerous lectures on the topic. I’m starting to think the topic might just be something to make note of as OTs.  So, here’s a little synopsis on what I’ve managed to retain from those lectures, followed by a list of appropriate Assessments (click on the name to direct you to the website).

Definition of fall: “A subject’s unintentionally coming to rest on the ground or on some other lower level, not as a result of major intrinsic event, for example, stroke or syncope or over whelming hazard that would result in a fall by most young, healthy persons” (Tinetti, et. Al., 1988). 33% of community dwelling elders, age 65 or older, fall at least 1 or more times a year, and the frequency increases with age. Falling leads to loss of mobility and independence; it affects all body systems.

As occupational therapists, some things to take into consideration when working with someone at risk of falls are height of fall, impact surface (concrete, rug, linonieum), shock absorbers (loss of subcutaneous fat, decreased muscle bulk), decreased protective reflexes (slow righting reflexes), and psychological injury.

There are other risk factors such as: age related changes (decreased visual acuity), balance (increased postural sway), musculoskeletal (forward shift in center of gravity), cognitive (changes in attention load for gait), chronic diseases or extrinsic factors such as slippery surface, obstacles in pathways, and poor illumination.

After the risk factors have been considered, a fall risk assessment including the patient’s physical, mental, and environmental aspect needs to be administered, as all three result in poor quality of life.

Here is a list of most of the falls assessments I am familiar with (Please suggest any other ones I might have missed):

- refers to the degree of confidence a person has in performing common activities of daily living without falling (Tinetti, Richman, & Powell, 1990). Also, refer to the following website:

-  assess the role of fear of falling in activity restriction (Lachman, M. E., 1998).

- evaluate day-to-day behaviors related to falls in older people. Also, refer to the following website:

4. The Safety Assessment of Function and the Environment for Rehabilitation (SAFER)

*need to purchase

*need to be certified to administer

8. Community Participation Indicators Version V 4.0

13. Get Up & Go (Tinetti)

- Tinetti Gait and Balance Assessments
- Foam and Dome Test

A few other great resources I’ve come across:
* Geriatric Examination Tool Kit provided by Missouri.edu. The kit includes assessment of gait, balance, fatigue, vision, manual muscle test, pain, reaction time, vestibular and transfers.

-Clemson, Cumming & Heard, 2003

-Lachman, M. E., Howland, J., Tennstedt, S., Jette, A., Assman, S., & Peterson, E. (1998). Fear of Falling and Activity Restriction:  The Survey of Activities and Fear of Falling in the Elderly. Journal of Gerontology:  Psychological Sciences, 53B, P43-P50.

-Podsiadlo, D., Richardson, S. (1991). The timed ‘Up and Go’ Test: a Test of Basic Functional Mobility for Frail Elderly Persons. Journal of American Geriatric Society 39:142-14

-Rosemary Bakker, MS, ASID. Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology

February 05, 2012

Apps for Occupational Therapy

Here is a short list of useful OT Apps I've come across. If you have other recommendations, please feel free to comment and add. 

1. Dragon Dictation 
Finally, if you have a patient that can speak but not write, check out this app. It is a free voice recognition app available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

2. Verbally 
This is an easy-to-use, comprehensive Augmentative and AlternativeCommunication (AAC) app for the iPad. It brings speech to those without and enables real conversation with its simple, intuitive design. Available for free, simply tap on the image to get Verbally to say it for you.

3. Autism Express 
Use this simple app to get feelings listed as pictures. Simply have a patient point to a face to describe their current mood. Available at no charge, it is intended for autism patients.

4. Small Talk 
Get an app designed specifically of the population that need specific and functional phrases paired with simple yet engaging illustrations. Each illustration–minimally colored and simply yet effectively drawn–accompanies a short, functional phrase often needed (and used) by clients with aphasia. Available for free, you can get both a male and female version.

5. Occupational Therapy Spanish Guide (OTSG)
This tool is designed for non-Spanish speaking health care professionals to quickly ascertain vital medical information from their Spanish speaking patients. Simply click the question or phrase to generate audio! Some topics include: 

  • Movement & Motor
  • Pain Assessment
  • Staircase Instruction

Have your patients try out this eye exercise app as part of their visual occupational therapy. It uses simple games which can reduce your visual fatigue and protect your eyesight. Also a good choice for occupational therapists who spend lots of time reading.

7. STS House ($4.99 - iPhone)
STS House is an animated, interactive tool that allows parents and therapists to create endless teaching opportunities in the areas of receptive and expressive language, auditory processing, speeck production, visual perceptual skills, fine motor skills, and problem solving...just to name a few. STS House provides families with a fun way to help their children learn.

8. Dexteria - Fine Motor Skills Development ($4.99 - iPhone)
Dexteria is a set of therapeutic hand exercises that improve fine motor skills and handwriting readiness in children and adults. Dexteria's unique hand and finger activities take full adantage of the multi-touch interface to help build strength, control, and dexterity.

9. ABC Pocket Phonics ($1.99)Click here to learn more about this application that targets letter sounds for the 20 letters of the alphabet and letter diagraphs. Therapists can use this app to target the following skills: literacy, phonemic awareness, letter identification, sound symbol relationships, diagraphs, and more.

10. Look2Learn ($15.00)
The app helps kids with visual skills and assists in verbalization of needs and wants. In addition to using included images, the app allows you to use your own voice and images as part of the learning. This app was rated number one by Autism Plugged In.

11. Proloquo 2 Go Get a highly sophisticated communications app here.Proloquo 2 Go is for anyone who cannot afford spending thousands of dollars on an AAC device and yet wants a solution that is just as good if not better. SLPs, teachers, and parents recommend it for children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, developmental disabilities, apraxia, ALS, stroke, or traumatic brain injury. Proloquo 2 Go provides natural sounding text-to-speech voices (currently American, British and Indian English Only), high resolution up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, and advanced word prediction. 

Compatible with iPad/iPhone, provides over 200 puzzles with features allowing choices of connecting by numbers, upper and lower case letters.

13. Mindfuness App - iPad, iPod/iPhone (1.99) 
Mindfulness meditation app; there is interesting new/current research on the positive effects of mindfullness training.

14. Breath2Relax - iPad, iPod/iPhone, Android (Free) 
Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool which provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body and instructions and practice exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe2Relax can be used as a stand-alone stress reduction tool, or can be used in tandem with clinical care directed by a healthcare worker. 

15. T2Mood Tracker - iPad, iPod/iPhone, Android (Free) 
2 Mood Tracker allows users to monitor their moods on six pre-loaded scales (anxiety, stress, depression, brain injury, post-traumatic stress, general well-being). Custom scales can also be built. Users rate their moods by swiping a small bar to the left or to the right. The ratings are displayed on graphs to help users track their moods over time. Notes can be recorded to document daily events, medication changes and treatments that may be associated with mood changes, providing accurate information to help health care providers make treatment decisions. 

16. My Mood Tracker - iPad, iPod/iPhone (4.99)
The perfect companion for tracking your moods and emotions, and everything else that can affect how you feel. The fun yet powerful design will help you understand what causes your emotions to change, and get you on the path to feeling good.

17. PTSD Coach - iPad, iPod/iPhone/Android (Free) 
Together with professional medical treatment, PTSD Coach provides you dependable resources you can trust. If you have, or think you might have PTSD, this app is for you. Family and friends can also learn from this app.

*If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know. 

February 04, 2012

Amazing woman with no arms

I came across this video on YouTube about a woman with no arms. I immediately felt sorry for her. Even before I watched the video I started wondering how her life must be so difficult, imagining how she manages to do..anything.

Needless to say, Barbara Guerra is an inspiration. I'm absolutely in awe of her..limitless abilities.

Here's the video which, by the way, mentions Barbara's first encounter with an Occupational Therapist!