Occupational therapists and assistants play a vital role in the care of Kindred patients. Carey Anderson-Hoyt, OT/L, Program Director of Rehab Care at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation-The Greens in Ohio, talks about the profession that’s being spotlighted in April for National Occupational Therapy Month.
Q. How did you become interested in OT?
A. I had horses growing up and loved how therapeutic they were. When I was learning about career options, I came across hippotherapy, which is the practice of using horses as a therapeutic modality. After doing some research, I found that I had to become a physical therapist or occupational therapist, but decided on the latter because it offered more opportunities to be creative.
Q. What type of schooling do occupational therapists need?
A. Currently, a master’s degree is required. A lot of universities offer an accelerated, five-year undergraduate/master’s degree program. Occupational therapy assistants complete a two-year associate’s program.
Q. Can you describe a typical day?
A. An OT or OTA usually manages eight to 10 clients. The day often starts with helping clients groom, bathe and dress. During meals, we may help clients relearn how to feed themselves and use adaptive equipment.
Individual therapy generally lasts for about an hour each day, five to six times per week. Clients participate in functional tasks such as preparing meals or transitioning in and out of a bathtub to improve strength, balance and safety. The goal is to return them to whatever activities of daily living that are important to them. If the patient is a golfer, we might practice on a putting station.
Q. What do you enjoy most about being an occupational therapist?
A. OT is known for its out-of-the-box thinking. I enjoy helping people complete meaningful activities that gets them better faster. Care is very client-centered, and adjustments are constantly being made. If it’s meaningful to them, it’s meaningful to me.
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