Archive for November, 2008

Dementia

We learned so much in school about older people and dementia, but I have to say, it was quite the shock to go visit my grandmother and have her say to me, “you look so familiar, but I can’t place where I know you from.”  I was just floored.  I know she has Alzheimer’s, and I know it is progressive, but I was so shocked that she didn’t know who I was that I became dumbfounded and speechless.  I stammered for what must have been 2 minutes and ended up abruptly changing the topic.

November 25, 2008 at 10:53 pm 19 comments

OT and Online Professional & Social Networking

There has been an ever-growing presence for occupational therapy on the Internet.  Social and professional networking amongst occupational therapy practitioners has been the subject of presentations at conferences, blog posts, articles, and more.  Several months ago, OT Practice had a CEU article on social networking.

In the most recent issue of OT Practice, Karen Dobyns, a student occupational therapist finishing up her fieldwork rotations, wrote an excellent article titled ‘Enhancing Practice through Online Social Networking.’  She writes about how posting stories, questions, or insights about occupational therapy creates a permenant record that can then be seen by others.  Therefore, if someone else has a question that you might have asked, it can be easily found with a search on the Internet.  Collaborating and sharing online also helps one grow professionally and clinically.  I’d like to say thank you to Karen for including my blog in your list of blogs that you shared in OT Practice.

The AOTA has made a strong push into the online world by actively engaging others in most of the social networking medias, such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, and Plurk.  Today, the AOTA has launced their own social networking media, called OT Connections.  Similar in layout to MySpace and Facebook, it allows occupational therapists to add friends, post blogs and pictures, and truly collaborate with fellow therapists. It also allows you to have access to the listservs.  What makes it truly great is that you do not have to be an AOTA member to sign up and benefit from the website.  They have made it open to any occupational therapist (or other professional) that would like to join.  I strongly encourage you to join.  On the first day alone, they already have more than 80 members!  Once again, here is the website.

November 18, 2008 at 11:03 pm 36 comments

Would a splint be contraindicated in this case?

We all know that one of the purposes of splinting by occupational therapists is for joint protection and to preserve function and range of motion.  I have blogged before about my experience with fabricating below knee amputation (BKA) splints, used to preserve knee extension for being able to fit orthoses at a later date.

Sometimes, however, I wonder if a patient really needs the splint.  For example, I once had a 85 year old patient who had severe Alzheimer’s dementia, was completely bedbound at a nursing home at baseline and had a BKA due to gangrene.  While normally I would make a splint, I wasn’t sure that it was indicated in this case.

First, the patient was bedbound at baseline, and therefore an unlikely canditate for a prosthetic.  Second, a patient is very likely to develop skin breakdown and sores from a splint if the splint schedule isn’t adhered to, or frequently monitored.  Third, splints aren’t generally the most comfortable things.

Providing a splint would not increase or improve quality of life, and so it would seem to me that a splint would not be indicated in this case for the reasons listed above.  What are your thoughts?

November 17, 2008 at 8:09 pm 22 comments


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