Always wear your helmet

Title link goes to a Washington Post article on wearing different helmets for different activities. I'm a big fan of helmet promotion and our SOTA had a really fun collaboration with a Harley store to do a bicycle rodeo every year. The store did all the promo work to get kids to come and learn bike safety, and we got to tag along as volunteers and promote OT as well. Anyone else do creative things for helmet promotion?


AOTA update

Skills for the Job of Living has become... Living Life to its Fullest! Despite my exclamation mark, I'm not sure how excited I really am about this development. The sample ad in OT Practice is nice enough, but I don't know that this slogan on its own will really help define OT to consumers. Plus it contains a problematic pronoun plural which is very often misspelled, so I worry about the credibility as this passes into the hands of the general OT public. Of course, if it isn't marketed correctly and heavily enough, none of that will matter anyway.

I'm probably being hard on the "new brand" due to my disappointment in another realm. I was fairly certain that next year's conference was going to be back in DC, just a stone's throw from my current locale. I had already planned to reunite with classmates, enjoy the conference, grab all my CE's needed, etc. But the 2009 conference has been announced... for Houston, TX! Far away and out of reach for me, I believe.

Perhaps this is secretly an unexpected good development. Perhaps my research project that tortured me for so long will be invited to a conference elsewhere, and that would be fun too.


I need to put it in a frame

My first picture from a patient... made the whole day worthwhile and I almost cried :)


How do you build a caseload?

I've been trying to come up with ways to decrease my running between the hospital and outpatient center. Right now, I see peds 3 afternoons a week after working a full to almost full day at the hospital, and it's wearing me out. My husband's idea was to try to build up the caseload a bit so that I could have 2 days strictly peds and that would leave the other 2 days to be strictly hospital. I even think that it would be ok to have peds until 1 or 2 pm, and then just do evals or fill in at the hospital. But to make this sort of schedule work, I would need to drum up my caseload a bit. I'm expecting some patients to return when school gets out, but is there an ethical way to get more? What methods have others used to promote their outpatient business that can be applied to this population? Is it appropriate to present oneself to pediatricians as a CHT does to surgeons? If anyone has any advice in this arena it would be greatly appreciated...


Finally, a little respect

It is OT month, though you wouldn't know it at my facility. Lately I've been feeling pretty bogged down by my coworkers... from the PTA who thinks I'm an activities director to the case managers who complain about OT performance during team meetings. The complacency of my fellow OTs in this regard is not helping, and rather, is wearing me down too. I haven't felt the "OT vs the World" mentality since I was in school, and I haven't missed it. I really enjoy the good collaborative relationships that I had on my fieldwork and still have with some of my coworkers. It's easier to come to work everyday when it's an environment of mutual respect and responsibility instead of latent hostility.

But this week, I got a rare compliment and decided to pass it along to bolster the OT community. Mrs L is in her lower 90's and came into the hospital with a hip fracture. She had done well through the ORIF procedure, but during her acute care OT/PT eval, she had a cerebral event (don't know whether they've decided it was a TIA or CVA) which has affected the opposite side as her fracture. This pt. has an involved family (I've never seen fewer than 3 relatives in her room at any given time) who have placed some strain on the TCU unit but genuinely care about maximizing her recovery and getting her home with their support. Mobility gains have been minimal since her admission 2 weeks ago. But she has really gained w/ her RUE. We've been addressing FMC, crossing midline, and basic grooming activities with this dominant hand. We're now able to start more involved ADL tasks.

Yesterday, we had planned to have a large cooking group w/ 7-8 participants. Despite encouragement, only 2 agreed to come down and participate. (We have others that would benefit but they are on multiple precautions, so that was quite prohibitive.) Mrs L was sitting in a geri-chair in the kitchen/day room with her daughter, just looking out the window. I asked her if she would want to join the other ladies in making some cookies, and she was agreeable to that. Since our group had turned into a very small group, we decided to let the COTA run the group while I ran off to get some evals done. Mrs L's daughter caught me in the hallway, almost in tears, and stated that she was happy with the care her mother had received here, but she was most impressed with the OT department. She said that she really valued the gains that her mom had made w/ OT and was pleased with all of the OT personnel that had worked with the family. This woman actually helped the COTA with the group, to the point of cleaning up at the end, saying, "you guys do such good work, you need to be doing your jobs instead of this. God bless you."

The other inpatient OT and the COTA have done more of the treatments with this woman than I have, but I am so glad that someone recognizes that OT is important and can make a difference.


How does your engine run?

(LGT the Alert Program website)

So this is the question I will be asking my kiddies this week as we begin the Alert Program. I am very hopeful that this will work well for the initial clients in the appropriate age range- Lil Misters M and J, respectively, both 7-8 yrs old. Mr. J is probably close to ideal for this program- he has ADD that has (recently) become medicated and a history of problems in school. He has sensory issues and increased self-regulation has always been part of the treatment plan. He's very intelligent. I'm actually not aware of Mr. M's official diagnosis... he is not verbal, but has a communication device that he strongly dislikes to use. Sensory issues prevail and he has major regulating problems as well. I also have some questions about his overall intelligence... I know for a fact that he does not comprehend the differences in past/present/future.

Since I operate in an outpatient 1:1 setting, I will be compressing things a bit. The first session for both kids will be learning the engine vocabulary, us marking levels together, and an engine level handwriting worksheet (which I made this evening). If there's enough time, we'll make engine thermometers/speedometers and have a 'homework' sheet of identifying engine levels at home. It sounds a little ambitious now that I have it all written out, but that's the kind of plans I come up with. I've had to work hard to squelch thinking about running alert program groups in the summertime- I have a way of getting ahead of myself.

Hopefully this will all start out well. I've been putting a lot of extra time into learning things to use in my peds practice and it's been wearing me down a bit (that and the long unexpected hours, but that's another story). If anyone has worked with the Alert Program or general sensory regulation, please feel free to send some helpful tips. And if anyone wants a copy of the engine levels handwriting sheet, I'll gladly pass that along too.