Thursday, April 26, 2012

Assistive Technology Class

Another class I had was Assistive Technology. We had some really cool projects. The first was we had to design an assistive technology for someone. It could be high tech or low tech. I came up with a hamper with straps (a twin top sheet cut in half) to carry laundry up the stairs. It can be worn three different ways. This was designed for someone with osteoarthritis, but could be used for a variety of diagnoses, such as ALS or Parkinson's. One of my teachers wanted to make it for her sons on crutches. Success!

We also help a family design their home, so that their son with muscular dystrophy could live independently. I was on the team that designed the son's bedroom. It was very rewarding to see a real family react to your ideas. The ideas they were most excited by from us were not even really adaptive. One was a TV coming out of a cabinet to increase floor space, while the other was the idea of getting a mural done by local art students so that it would be cheaper.

We talked about the ADA and insurance in this class. Both are suppose to be helpful, but sometimes they can be really frustrating. For example, insurance will not cover anything that would be helpful to a typical person. So while there are excellent communication devices on the iPad that are cheaper than a stand alone communication device; however, insurance won't cover it because iPads are helpful to typical people. Even though it is cheaper, usually by $1,000.

What we are finishing up the semester with is learning about wheelchairs. We had a salesperson come in and start to explain the different features. What he said though is we don't have to know what we want for our client, but we need to know what it should do. If we knew what we wanted we would be doing his job. That was freeing.

I almost forgot we did adaptive dressing. We learned a few techniques, but what it really boiled down to is just play around with your patient to figure it out. Since each client has unique abilities and limitations everybody is going to be different. We had someone with a spinal cord injury demonstrate dressing, transfers, and talk in general. What I took away from that was equipment is not always the answer, while it may make the task easier it does not help if you do not bring the equipment everywhere, which is a huge hassle. Overall, it has been an enlighten semester.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mental Health

Yikes! Happy OT Month! I have been a very bad blogger, but in honor of OT month I am going to jump back into the game. School has been crazy. This past week we had to get all our group projects done which means there is a lot to tell ya'll. I think the easiest way to this is class by class. I guess we will start with Mental Health since it is the first class of week. We had a book report due. I had to read "The Unquiet Mind", which is about a woman with bipolar. I thought it was very well written and enlightening. However, when I read reviews of the book on GoodReads some people were really mad that it did not give an accurate picture. The woman in book is a psychologist and researches mental health disorders, so she understands the medical system and had medical professional as friends to help her as well as a good bit of money. Overall, it is worth reading, especially if you are intrigued by mental health. My classmates read different books, but I can't remember which ones to recommend.

The big project we were working on this past week is a case study. We had a 36 year old Latino woman who has paranoid schizophrenia. She has been living in an inpatient facility for the past 8 years, but is being forced to leave because of funding concerns. She is currently unable to successfully complete her ADLs and IADLs by herself. We had to find a community program to help her as well as determine what assessments to use and some OT interventions. I am enjoying this project. I am in one of the best groups I have ever been in. I really enjoyed finding a community program to augment her OT sessions. I realize that is more social work than OT, but I still enjoy it. We can always help our clients find the best fit.

Overall, I have enjoyed learning about the mental health field even if the class has been frustrating at times (in the middle of writing by course reviews). I don't see myself working in the mental health field for a variety of reasons (I'll get into that more when I cover fieldwork), but most of our clients will have some mental issues whether anxiety, depression, or something else; therefore, it was definitely valuable.