June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Every day, 60 people in British Columbia experience a brain injury.  Acquired brain injuries (ABIs) can greatly affect people’s lives.  They can alter thinking, sensations (including touch, taste, light, sound and smell), language and emotions as well as mobility and physical health.

British Columbia recognizes June as Brain Injury Awareness Month.  You can access a list of Brain Injury Associations in the province here.

Occupational Therapy and Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Occupational therapists are equipped to positively transform the cognitive, physical and emotional wellbeing of clients who have experienced concussions and other brain injuries.  At OT Works! we strive to keep up-to-date with current and emerging research and clinical evidence surrounding acquired brain injuries.  Many of our clients with ABIs have returned to the activities that bring them joy through collaboration with our occupational therapists.

For more information on our brain injury services at OT Works!, please visit the links below.

Megan and Jodie

Meet Megan DeLeon & Jodie Comerford: Occupational Therapists

Welcome Megan DeLeon and Jodie Comerford to the OT Works! team.  They are graduates of the Occupational Therapy program at the University of British Columbia.  Megan and Jodie work primarily with ICBC clients, individuals with 3rd party health coverage and privately-paying customers.  They guide clients with various diagnoses in managing their daily activities at home, work and in the community.  They help their clients manage their pain and anxiety to improve their independent functioning.

Megan journeys alongside her clients as they try out strategies to achieve their greatest potential.  She brings a wealth of knowledge regarding mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) and concussions due to her previous experience working in the Head Injury Assessment and Treatment Services Program.  She enjoys working one-on-one with her clients to foster both mental and physical wellbeing.  Megan serves clients in the Metro Vancouver region from Vancouver, Richmond and Delta to Langley and Maple Ridge.

Jodie emphasizes the importance of the biopsychosocial approach to fully understand all the factors that affect a person’s health.  She has formerly worked with adults with development disabilities and therefore has a well-structured approach to behaviour modification, skill development and goal attainment.   Jodie also serves clients in the Metro Vancouver region from Vancouver, Richmond and Delta to Langley and Maple Ridge.

Like all of our therapists, Megan and Jodie are full registrants and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).  

Get started with an OT

If you or someone you know could benefit from working with an occupational therapist, contact us today!

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000. 

Mathilde and Bronwyn

Meet Mathilde Bleuze & Bronwyn Cormack: Occupational Therapists

Welcome Mathilde Bleuze and Bronwyn Cormack to the OT Works! team.  They provide community OT services for individuals with musculoskeletal/orthopaedic injuries, chronic pain, mental health, concussion/traumatic brain injuries and mixed diagnoses.  They guide clients in managing their daily activities at home, work and in the community in order to foster increased independence.

Mathilde enjoys thinking outside of the box and supporting clients in their own environments.  Originally an OT in France, she has a wealth of experience particularly in return-to-work planning, home safety and seating and mobility.  Mathilde serves clients on Vancouver Island, particularly in the Comox Valley region.

Bronwyn finds that private practice allows for a dynamic work environment.  She enjoys learning about the different roles people have in their communities.  She provides workplace assessments, return-to-work planning and activation, among other services.  Bronwyn serves clients in the Sea-to-Sky region, primarily North Vancouver to Whistler.

Like all of our therapists, Mathilde and Bronwyn are full registrants and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).  

Get started with an OT

If you or someone you know could benefit from working with an occupational therapist, contact us today!

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000. 

woman and man smiling outside

Concussion Management: How Occupational Therapy Makes a Difference

Increased awareness about concussions, including expanding research, demonstrates the need for occupational therapy in concussion management.  Concussions result in functional changes that can affect a person’s participation in social, work or household activities.  As experts in function, OTs are well-equipped to assist clients with concussions.  OT Works! regularly helps insurers at ICBC and WorkSafe BC, as well as other third-party insurance companies, to assist clients as they recover.

What is a concussion?

A concussion can result when impact to the head, or a whiplash movement, causes the brain to move quickly and abruptly.  There are a variety of symptoms that can occur including:

  • Physical symptoms: headache, nausea, dizziness
  • Cognitive symptoms: decreased attention, slowed response time, memory difficulties
  • Emotional/behavioural symptoms: irritability, sadness, anxiety
  • Sleep-related: increased sleep, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep

There is increasing evidence against the notion that prolonged rest (after the 24-48 hour mark) improves one’s symptoms.  In fact, it is important the clients start to gradually return to their activities within the first few days post-injury.  The activity level should not bring on or worsen symptoms.

How can an OT help after a concussion?

Occupational therapists support their clients in returning to daily activities gradually and safely.  They provide education regarding concussions and explain what a typical recovery looks like.  Experiencing a concussion may be alarming to a person with a head injury. OTs can help their clients understand their symptoms and what they can do about them.  OTs often review what is can be expected in recovery and provide strategies to return to the things the cleint wants to do.

OTs recognize the unique potential each client possesses.  Together, the OT and client can develop an individualized rehabilitation plan.  They address the individual client’s concerns and personal goals.  For instance, some clients may require gradual exposure to busier environments over a longer period of time if they experience light or sound sensitivity.

OTs also help their clients who have concussions by:

  • Reviewing strategies to be active, without overdoing it: energy conservation, pacing and relaxation techniques
  • Determining ways to work around or with challenges, ultimately to enable a successful return to work
  • Liaising with other healthcare providers and insurers to ensure a timely and thorough rehabilitation

Get started with an OT for concussion management

All of our therapists at OT Works! are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have additional training in concussion management. Our approach is based on current concussion science and best practice.

If you or someone you know could benefit from concussion management with an occupational therapist, contact us today!

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000. 

Occupational Therapy and ICBC Rehabilitation: A Successful Return to Work and Life

Occupational therapists believe that an essential part of recovering from a motor-vehicle accident (MVA), and related injuries, is being able to participate in the activities that mean the most to people.  OTs assist ICBC clients as they re-engage in meaningful daily routines or “activities of daily living” (ADLs).  OTs recommend early intervention, but occupational therapy can be beneficial no matter how long it has been since the MVA.

The therapists at OT Works! have extensive experience with concussions, mental health and return-to-work planning.  They address their clients’ physical, emotional and cognitive needs and use evidence-based practice to empower them.  Each client has a unique treatment plan, tailored to their strengths, interests and potential.

The three case studies show how occupational therapy can make a big difference in post MVA-rehabilitation at various times in the recovery process.

0-30 Days Post-MVA

30-90 Days Post-MVA

90+ Days Post-MVA

Get started with an OT

All of our therapists are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have additional training in areas such as mental health, brain injury rehabilitation, home safety and chronic pain.

Contact us if you or anyone you know could benefit from occupational therapy, of if you have questions about an an OT can help after an MVA.

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000

OT and ICBC rehab: Emma’s Drive to Explore

When ICBC asked OT Works! for help, Emma was avoiding driving.  Her motor vehicle accident (MVA) increased her anxiety and made time management, memory and attention difficult for her.  With her OT, Emma learned to better manage her concussion symptoms and other pain.  Equipped with evidence-based strategies, she reconnected with the friends and adventures that mattered to her most.

OT Involvement

Referral: 90+ days after the accident

Services:

  • Activation
  • Cognitive Rehab
  • Driving in the Community
  • Return to Work Planning
  • Return to Work Monitoring and Support

Introducing Emma

Age: 35

Occupation: Secretarial Administrator

Injuries:  Concussion; anxiety; soft tissue Injuries to the back, neck and shoulder.

How OT Helped

Emma relies on driving to get to work and hang out with friends.  As a result of her motor vehicle accident, her anxiety increased and she took time off work.  She was afraid to be behind the wheel again and so avoided driving.  She struggled to manage the daily activities in her life and found that recalling and retaining memories were suddenly difficult for her. 

Nicole Chan (OT) and Aman focused on cognitive rehabilitation in order to encourage Emma to reconnect with her pre-accident activities.  They developed calming techniques, followed checklists and used memory aids.  Nicole also rode as a passenger in Emma’s car while they built up Emma’s confidence as a driver.  With a return-to-work plan, developed collaboratively, Emma returned to work full-time.  At the time of her discharge, she was already driving her friends on local trips and exploring what our neighbourhoods have to offer.

“Thanks to Nicole and her encouragement and strategies, [I] feel more comfortable and confident driving on the road after my car accidents.”

Emma (OT Works! client)

Contact Us

All of our OTs are university-trained and certified by the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).  Many of our OTs have additional training in physical OT treatment, mental health, and goal-planning.

Contact us today if you or someone you know could benefit from an OT, or have any questions about how an OT can help after an MVA.

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000

OT and ICBC Rehab: Aman’s Positivity

As a busy, young woman, Aman struggled when soft-tissue injuries a motor vehicle accident (MVA) decreased her ability to work and play.  She experienced back pain and mood fluctuations that made it difficult to enjoy the things she used to love like cooking and yoga.  With goal-oriented occupational therapy, Aman increased her endurance and transformed her outlook on life.

OT Involvement

Referral: 30-90 days after the accident

Services:

  • Activation
  • Education
  • Goal-Planning
  • Pain Management
  • External Service Recommendations: Physiotherapy, Kinesiology and Massage Therapy

Introducing Aman

Age: 27

Occupation: Lab Technician and Aesthetician

Injuries:  Soft tissue injuries to the back, neck and shoulder; fluctuations in mood

How OT Helped

Aman enjoys cooking, yoga and attending the gym.  When soft tissue injuries interrupted her ability to be active, she also struggled with her mood and motivation.  At the time that she met Jaclyn Forsythe (OT), she wasn’t convinced that occupational therapy would help her return to the activities she loved.

Jaclyn, equipped with her Masters’ education and variety of experience, recognized that Aman could benefit from OT.  Together, they set well-structure goals that were realistic and achievable.  She also provided Aman with tools and techniques to manage her pain effectively so that she could reconnect with the activities she enjoyed before the accident.  With Melissa’s support, Aman fostered a more positive outlook on life and could manage her injuries effectively.

 “It was my first time working with an occupational therapist and I have to say I had a very good experience. I didn’t think I needed one in the first place, but now having experience the service I can see how it has helped me with my injury and rehab. Both mentally and physically.”

Aman (OT Works! client)

Contact Us

All of our OTs are university-trained and certified by the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).  Many of our OTs have additional training in physical OT treatment, mental health, and goal-planning.

Contact us today if you or someone you know could benefit from an OT, or have questions about how an OT can help after an MVA.

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000

OT and ICBC Rehab: Getting Kim Back on Her Feet

ICBC’s Hospital Discharge Program requested an occupational therapist to assist their client, Kim. She had a fractured knee from a motor vehicle accident (MVA) which made it difficult to walk. Kim was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to get around like she used to. But by building a rehabilitation plan with occupational therapy and other services. Kim developed the confidence and strength to get out, walk more and socialize with her friends like she used to.

OT Involvement

Referral: 0-30 Days after the accident

Services:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Home Safety Assessment
  • Hospital Discharge Planning
  • External Service Recommendations: Physiotherapy, Kinesiology, and Massage Therapy

Introducing Kim

Age: 84 years old

Occupation: Retired, active community member

Injuries: Right tibial plateau fracture with Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF)

How OT Helped

After her accident, Kim wanted to remain active in her community.  She sustained a fractured knee and was using a wheelchair at the time that Melissa Ferguson (OT) began working with her. 

Melissa planned Kim’s discharge from hospital.  When Kim returned home, Melissa had already ensured that her home was safe and accessible considering her injured knee and mobility constraints.  Since Kim is a yoga enthusiast, Melissa encouraged her to keep building her strength that way.  They also focused on increasing Kim’s walking endurance.  She worked with a physiotherapist, kinesiologist and massage therapist as Melissa recommended.

As her ability to walk improved, Kim enjoyed reengaging with ther friends and activities she loved.  She no longer felt interrupted by her injuries and looked forward to enjoying more of her retirement.

“I’ve been very well looked after and I am very grateful!”

– Kim (OT Works! client)

Contact Us!

All of our OTs are university-trained and certified by the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).  Many of our OTs have additional training in physical OT treatment, mental health, and goal-planning.

Contact us today if you or someone you know could benefit from an OT, or have any questions about how an OT can help after an MVA.

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000

smiling woman with stethoscope

Ask Your GP About OT: Post-MVA

You may benefit from occupational therapy (OT) following a car accident, even if it is not initially included as a part of your treatment plan.  All injured claimants are eligible to receive OT services under Part 7 Benefits.  Ask your doctor about OT as they can provide you with a referral to pass onto your ICBC adjuster.  The earlier you start occupational therapy, the more likely you are to successfully return to the activities that are important to you.

How do I know if occupational therapy would help me? 

OT focuses on what its clients can and want to do.  Questions to ask yourself include “Can I do everything I did before my accident?” and “Am I succeeding at work right now?”.  If your answer is no to either question, OT might be right for you.

Here are some examples of how occupational therapy helps:

  • Coordinating a smooth, safe discharge from hospital
  • Reviewing equipment and strategies to improve walking and home safety
  • Improving pain management
  • Facilitating better memory for daily tasks
  • Promoting better sleep, more energy and lighter mood
  • Decreasing driving (or other) anxiety
  • Providing education and empowerment while connecting you to other health resources and services you may need
  • Getting back to dressing, bathing, cooking and cleaning (taking care of yourself or your loved ones), as well as getting into the community again
  • Finding ways to safely get back to your work, as comfortably as possible
  • Helping you return to your meaningful leisure activities

What should I expect from my occupational therapist?

OTs are university educated healthcare providers and are required to be licensed to practice in BC.  You can expect them to:

  • Provide objective and medically supported assessments and treatments
  • Address your physical, emotional, and cognitive needs
  • Use interventions to get back to life
  • Focus on activities of daily living (ADLs) including personal care, productivity (at work or school) and leisure

What is the home assessment like?

The assessment begins with a clear understanding of your medical status, prior to meeting you.  The OT then meets with you in your home for your comfort and privacy and to understand your specific, individual needs.  The OT will do the following, during a 2-hour visit:

  • Introductions, answering any questions you might have about OT or the recovery process, and ICBC’s involvement in that process
  • A thorough interview to understand your symptoms, concerns, abilities and goals
  • Use standardized tools to assess physical, cognitive or emotional impairments
  • Observe you doing tasks around the home to ensure safety and/or explore ways to make them easier on your body
  • Review the physical safety of your home
  • Review treatment options with you

The OT has your safety and comfort in mind at all times; you can ask for breaks or stop the assessment and continue at another day or time at any point.

Resources

Read more about what OT can do for you and your ICBC claim –  CAOT-BC Briefing Note (May 2018)

Meet Melissa Ferguson

OT Works! is excited to welcome Melissa Ferguson to the team!  She works with a diverse range of clients, including those recovering from motor vehicle accidents, to help improve function and support their return-to-work.

Melissa has extensive experience helping clients with activities through adaptive recreation and education.  Her approach is objective and client focused, building on her client’s strength and resiliency. She is skilled at helping clients with chronic pain, mental health (anxiety and depression) and concussions/traumatic brain injuries.

Melissa is a full registrant and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).

Learn More: