Mary Buelow – Independent Project

Mary Buelow – Independent Project

Class of 2017

Introduction to Topic

Through the completion of this independent project, my eyes were opened to just how much people’s health decline upon reaching an older age. While shadowing Carin Feick, an  occupational therapist at Bel Air Health and Rehabilitation, my eyes were opened to what it is like working with geriatric patients and how scenarios regarding their health can differ from those I am typically exposed to. I saw first-hand the emotional toll being in a facility like this one can have on these individuals along with the importance of keeping up their quality of life. During my hours there, a good amount of the patients I viewed were in occupational therapy due to a decrease in physical mobility resulting from a stroke. Many of these patients struggled with dexterity in their hands, especially on the side impacted by their stroke. This inspired me to create an activity that will improve these particular skills and aid in returning the patient to doing their daily activities and gaining a sense of independence again.

Project Description

While completing my learning experience at Bel Air Health and Rehabilitation with Carin Feick, an occupational therapist, I noticed some trends among patients that inspired me to design an activity that can assist in their healing process. Seeing many patients depressed and frustrated about their health problems touched me and inspired me to want to help them get back to the life they desired. It was noted that many of these patients were disappointed that they were not able to complete tasks that they were once able to complete, and many of these were stroke patients. Through my activity, they can strengthen their hand muscles and return to more of their day-to-day activities. This may result in them gaining a sense of hope for recovery through the ability to do things they were once able to do. Their sense of identity can come back through recovery, something I feel strongly about assisting others do.

Experience Description

I completed seventy hours of shadowing at Bel Air Health and Rehabilitation Center with an occupational therapist, Carin Feick. While I was there I saw various treatments they do as well as evaluations. One of the first things I witnessed there was a daily activities session, where the therapist observes a patient as they go about things we do on a daily basis: washing up, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, and dressing. This was interesting to me because it had never crossed my mind how much elderly people struggle with doing things I do so easily each and every day. When this particular patient went to put on their socks, I saw a piece of equipment that surprised me and is something that really opened my eyes to occupational therapy and the ways in which these therapists problem solve. This piece of equipment was a tube that the patient put their sock over. On the end of the tube were two ropes that the patient held onto while placing their foot through the hole and putting on the sock without bending over. This was something so simple, yet so innovative that eliminated an activity that could cause strain and danger to a patient.

Another thing that stuck out to me, was how simple the equipment used was and how great the outcome and the recovery of the patient was. We did things with patients as simple as playing a balloon toss and completing puzzles. However I saw first hand and was told how much these activities assisted in improving the overall health and abilities of these patients. There were several occasions where the patients would turn to me and tell me just how great therapy had been for them and how much their personal lives had changed because of it. This inspired me and proved to me that even patients who seemingly would never get better, could.

While shadowing at the facility, I was shocked by the number of stroke patients that came through occupational therapy and I learned a lot more about the impact this event can have on the lives of people. My grandfather had a stroke, and I have been told many stories about the struggles he went through both physically and emotionally after this had happened. Through shadowing, I got to gain a better understanding of what life after a stroke is like and how therapists go about helping these people.

One of the hardest things for me to see was the patient’s who were struggling with depression and anxiety. There were several patients who expressed their hatred for the place that they were in as well as the people that they were around. All they wanted was to get out of their and be back to their normal lives. There were times where I was put into a tough situation with patients who looked to me for support that I was unsure how to give. This further sparked my interest in helping people and inspired me to try and discover a way to promote their healing and get their quality of life back up.

Innovation Description

The solution that I came up with for the problems that I observed while shadowing was a Fine Motor Board. This activity consists of a wooden board with twelve holes in it, provided string, images for a patient to replicate on the board and a scale for the patients to be graded on. The scale as well as photographs are provided in the User Manual (white binder).

The main part of my innovation that accounts for ten hours of work is the Fine Motor Board. This was well thought out due to inspiration given by my mentor, when she discussed with me the struggles with fine motor skills stroke patients face. She showed me the activities they already had at the facility and mentioned replicating sewing in an activity. This was when I did research and came up with the idea of creating a board similar to mine that replicates the idea of small hand movements where one is pulling a string through various holes.

My initial idea was to create sheets patient’s could essentially sew on. The sheets would have patterns for the user to go over with thread or string and they would use something similar to a sewing needle. However, I realized that this would be unsafe for patients and possibly too difficult for some.  This was when I decided to think of something similar to this idea, however different and possibly more realistic for some patients to complete.

I decided on wood for this innovation because it is completely solid and easier for patients to work with. Also, this product could be reused unlike my initial idea where it would be for one time usage. The simple design of the wood board with twelve holes makes it easy for patients to understand and use. This can be an activity used for patients more than once, however the activity can be changed and adapted for each use (change the pattern the patient has to recreate) so that it is not a test of pure muscle memory.

Before I could construct the board, I had to complete research about the importance of the elderly being able to complete fine motor activities so my innovation would be relevant. I learned that while this activity that promotes small movements of the hand will improve their ability to use their hands in their everyday lives, it will also help with their cognition (Claire E. Cameron, 2012), something else I learned is important to focus on with these patients (Feick, 2017). While doing more research, I also discovered more about studies done about patients in facilities like Bel Air Health and Rehab. It is widely known that people lose their sense of identity in these particular situations and I discovered the Identity Theory of Petzhold: identity is the result of the ego processing interactions within culture and the world (Maria Riedl, 2013).

With the research I had done in mind, my initial sketch and what I learned from my experience, I went about creating my Fine Motor Board. I bought the materials I needed: an 8 by 11 piece of wood and some string. I measured out the board and created a grid, where in the center of each box there would be a hole. With all of these markings, I found a drill bit that would be the proper size for the size of my board while being realistic about the task I was asking patients to complete. Then, holes were drilled in the designated spots on the board. In order to improve the overall look of my product, I decided to sand the edges to make the smoother and less harsh. Then, I stained it to turn it a mahogany color, and look more professional.

Rather than throwing a board and some string at a patient and asking them to thread it through some holes, my mentor suggested that it would be a good idea to create a collection of images and patterns for the patient to recreate on the board. This will work their mirror neurons: a kind of cell in the brain that responds the same way when we see something else (Winerman, 2005). Activating different parts of the brain is good for these kinds of patients, especially when they are living a life of routine and normality (Feick, 2017). Initially, I was going to create a word document that looked similar to the board and put lines from hole to hole for the patient to use as a reference while making their pattern. However, I had a peer look over my innovation and critique it, and she said using actual photos of patterns would be easier for patients to comprehend (Hobbs, 2017). This is because if the string is on the backside of the board, a patient would still be able to see it in real life. This idea would be hard to portray on a word document.

With this in mind, I decided the best idea would be to create patterns myself on the board and take photos of them. I then printed them out at the drugstore on 8 by 11 photograph paper due to the fact that this activity is designed for geriatric patients who may have issues with their vision. They then were collected in a binder and in sheet protectors, this way they can be used by the patients and intact for a long period of time.

The other part of the User Manual is a guide for the therapists on how to use this product. It consists of a brief description of what this can be used for and the different ways to use it, simplified instructions to give patients, and a scoring scale along with what that score tells you about the particular patient. This was created with help from my mentor, and what she believed a possible outcome of the activity would tell you about a patient. It is based on a four point scale, with a one being the idea score, telling you a patient has the ability to recognize a pattern, create it, and have the physical ability to do so. This is presented in the form of a brochure to make it easy to understand and highly organized. It provides information about the product as well as the company in order to make a user be more likely to buy products from the company in the future.

I added materials in order to market my product and make it more attractive for therapy places to utilize. The packaging fits all materials needed to operate the product while not being to bulky to store away. Business cards were made to hand out to people when discussing the product in order for them to have access to more information about it. The brochure that is added in every package with the product markets it as well and provides additional information about the company.

+ Project Topic

Introduction to Topic

Through the completion of this independent project, my eyes were opened to just how much people’s health decline upon reaching an older age. While shadowing Carin Feick, an  occupational therapist at Bel Air Health and Rehabilitation, my eyes were opened to what it is like working with geriatric patients and how scenarios regarding their health can differ from those I am typically exposed to. I saw first-hand the emotional toll being in a facility like this one can have on these individuals along with the importance of keeping up their quality of life. During my hours there, a good amount of the patients I viewed were in occupational therapy due to a decrease in physical mobility resulting from a stroke. Many of these patients struggled with dexterity in their hands, especially on the side impacted by their stroke. This inspired me to create an activity that will improve these particular skills and aid in returning the patient to doing their daily activities and gaining a sense of independence again.

+ Project Overview

Project Description

While completing my learning experience at Bel Air Health and Rehabilitation with Carin Feick, an occupational therapist, I noticed some trends among patients that inspired me to design an activity that can assist in their healing process. Seeing many patients depressed and frustrated about their health problems touched me and inspired me to want to help them get back to the life they desired. It was noted that many of these patients were disappointed that they were not able to complete tasks that they were once able to complete, and many of these were stroke patients. Through my activity, they can strengthen their hand muscles and return to more of their day-to-day activities. This may result in them gaining a sense of hope for recovery through the ability to do things they were once able to do. Their sense of identity can come back through recovery, something I feel strongly about assisting others do.

+ Experience

Experience Description

I completed seventy hours of shadowing at Bel Air Health and Rehabilitation Center with an occupational therapist, Carin Feick. While I was there I saw various treatments they do as well as evaluations. One of the first things I witnessed there was a daily activities session, where the therapist observes a patient as they go about things we do on a daily basis: washing up, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, and dressing. This was interesting to me because it had never crossed my mind how much elderly people struggle with doing things I do so easily each and every day. When this particular patient went to put on their socks, I saw a piece of equipment that surprised me and is something that really opened my eyes to occupational therapy and the ways in which these therapists problem solve. This piece of equipment was a tube that the patient put their sock over. On the end of the tube were two ropes that the patient held onto while placing their foot through the hole and putting on the sock without bending over. This was something so simple, yet so innovative that eliminated an activity that could cause strain and danger to a patient.

Another thing that stuck out to me, was how simple the equipment used was and how great the outcome and the recovery of the patient was. We did things with patients as simple as playing a balloon toss and completing puzzles. However I saw first hand and was told how much these activities assisted in improving the overall health and abilities of these patients. There were several occasions where the patients would turn to me and tell me just how great therapy had been for them and how much their personal lives had changed because of it. This inspired me and proved to me that even patients who seemingly would never get better, could.

While shadowing at the facility, I was shocked by the number of stroke patients that came through occupational therapy and I learned a lot more about the impact this event can have on the lives of people. My grandfather had a stroke, and I have been told many stories about the struggles he went through both physically and emotionally after this had happened. Through shadowing, I got to gain a better understanding of what life after a stroke is like and how therapists go about helping these people.

One of the hardest things for me to see was the patient’s who were struggling with depression and anxiety. There were several patients who expressed their hatred for the place that they were in as well as the people that they were around. All they wanted was to get out of their and be back to their normal lives. There were times where I was put into a tough situation with patients who looked to me for support that I was unsure how to give. This further sparked my interest in helping people and inspired me to try and discover a way to promote their healing and get their quality of life back up.

+ Innovation

Innovation Description

The solution that I came up with for the problems that I observed while shadowing was a Fine Motor Board. This activity consists of a wooden board with twelve holes in it, provided string, images for a patient to replicate on the board and a scale for the patients to be graded on. The scale as well as photographs are provided in the User Manual (white binder).

The main part of my innovation that accounts for ten hours of work is the Fine Motor Board. This was well thought out due to inspiration given by my mentor, when she discussed with me the struggles with fine motor skills stroke patients face. She showed me the activities they already had at the facility and mentioned replicating sewing in an activity. This was when I did research and came up with the idea of creating a board similar to mine that replicates the idea of small hand movements where one is pulling a string through various holes.

My initial idea was to create sheets patient’s could essentially sew on. The sheets would have patterns for the user to go over with thread or string and they would use something similar to a sewing needle. However, I realized that this would be unsafe for patients and possibly too difficult for some.  This was when I decided to think of something similar to this idea, however different and possibly more realistic for some patients to complete.

I decided on wood for this innovation because it is completely solid and easier for patients to work with. Also, this product could be reused unlike my initial idea where it would be for one time usage. The simple design of the wood board with twelve holes makes it easy for patients to understand and use. This can be an activity used for patients more than once, however the activity can be changed and adapted for each use (change the pattern the patient has to recreate) so that it is not a test of pure muscle memory.

Before I could construct the board, I had to complete research about the importance of the elderly being able to complete fine motor activities so my innovation would be relevant. I learned that while this activity that promotes small movements of the hand will improve their ability to use their hands in their everyday lives, it will also help with their cognition (Claire E. Cameron, 2012), something else I learned is important to focus on with these patients (Feick, 2017). While doing more research, I also discovered more about studies done about patients in facilities like Bel Air Health and Rehab. It is widely known that people lose their sense of identity in these particular situations and I discovered the Identity Theory of Petzhold: identity is the result of the ego processing interactions within culture and the world (Maria Riedl, 2013).

With the research I had done in mind, my initial sketch and what I learned from my experience, I went about creating my Fine Motor Board. I bought the materials I needed: an 8 by 11 piece of wood and some string. I measured out the board and created a grid, where in the center of each box there would be a hole. With all of these markings, I found a drill bit that would be the proper size for the size of my board while being realistic about the task I was asking patients to complete. Then, holes were drilled in the designated spots on the board. In order to improve the overall look of my product, I decided to sand the edges to make the smoother and less harsh. Then, I stained it to turn it a mahogany color, and look more professional.

Rather than throwing a board and some string at a patient and asking them to thread it through some holes, my mentor suggested that it would be a good idea to create a collection of images and patterns for the patient to recreate on the board. This will work their mirror neurons: a kind of cell in the brain that responds the same way when we see something else (Winerman, 2005). Activating different parts of the brain is good for these kinds of patients, especially when they are living a life of routine and normality (Feick, 2017). Initially, I was going to create a word document that looked similar to the board and put lines from hole to hole for the patient to use as a reference while making their pattern. However, I had a peer look over my innovation and critique it, and she said using actual photos of patterns would be easier for patients to comprehend (Hobbs, 2017). This is because if the string is on the backside of the board, a patient would still be able to see it in real life. This idea would be hard to portray on a word document.

With this in mind, I decided the best idea would be to create patterns myself on the board and take photos of them. I then printed them out at the drugstore on 8 by 11 photograph paper due to the fact that this activity is designed for geriatric patients who may have issues with their vision. They then were collected in a binder and in sheet protectors, this way they can be used by the patients and intact for a long period of time.

The other part of the User Manual is a guide for the therapists on how to use this product. It consists of a brief description of what this can be used for and the different ways to use it, simplified instructions to give patients, and a scoring scale along with what that score tells you about the particular patient. This was created with help from my mentor, and what she believed a possible outcome of the activity would tell you about a patient. It is based on a four point scale, with a one being the idea score, telling you a patient has the ability to recognize a pattern, create it, and have the physical ability to do so. This is presented in the form of a brochure to make it easy to understand and highly organized. It provides information about the product as well as the company in order to make a user be more likely to buy products from the company in the future.

I added materials in order to market my product and make it more attractive for therapy places to utilize. The packaging fits all materials needed to operate the product while not being to bulky to store away. Business cards were made to hand out to people when discussing the product in order for them to have access to more information about it. The brochure that is added in every package with the product markets it as well and provides additional information about the company.

By | 2017-05-12T02:43:16+00:00 May 12th, 2017|Biomed Capstone Project 2017|0 Comments

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