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Occupational Therapy to create summer camp for stroke victims

SVSU’s occupational therapy program will host a two-week long camp over the summer to assist stroke survivors.

The camp is called Skills for the Job of Living.

Donald Earley, an occupational therapy professor, believes the camp helps survivors regain important skills.

“We help people improve lost motor and functional skills through remediation, compensation and/or adaptive equipment and assistive devices,” Earley said.

According to Earley, the experience is also valuable to the survivors on many levels other than regaining abilities.

“(The camp is a) meaning-making experience, having been part of a social community for two weeks and to improve functional and life skills for improved performance at home and when out and about,” he said.

Participants of the camp must come in six months prior to be evaluated by Master of Science in Occupational Therapy students and have their individual treatment plans created.

Jill Ewend, the simulation learning laboratory associate in the occupational therapy department, said there are many factors that go into this process.

“The MSOT students will be evaluating factors related to function of the upper extremity – range of motion, muscle strength, coordination, sitting and standing balance,” Ewend said. “They will also evaluate and address the individual’s ability to complete their daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, cooking, cleaning, laundry, recreational activities, etc.”

The camp is especially beneficial to the survivors because it comes at no cost and can offer additional help in regaining a better standard of living.

“This event benefits the community, as it provides an opportunity for those participating to receive additional Occupational Therapy services in situations where their insurance benefits no longer cover therapy services or they have been discharged from therapy services,” Ewend said. “It facilitates improved awareness of the occupational therapy profession and advocacy for occupational therapy for those that would benefit from services.”

The camp will allow participants to form connections with those facing similar challenges, Ewend said. He hopes it helps participants connect with others facing similar struggles to their own.

“Hopefully, by participating in this event, the participants will gain improved function and independence in their activities of daily living,” he said. “It is also an opportunity for the participants to meet and network with other individuals that may have similar life circumstances.”

Ewend believes that hosting this camp shows the community that SVSU cares.

“It is important for SVSU to host these events,” Ewend said. “It provides an opportunity for the participants to see the facilities at SVSU, to learn about Occupational Therapy and to see what our students are learning and to help those that participate to live as independently as possible to lead a fulfilling life after an accident, injury or medical event.”

MSOT students also gain important skills from this experience.

“I hope the MSOT students will improve their confidence and technical skills related to evaluating, planning and implementing therapeutic intervention,” Ewend said.

He believes the camp will offer an opportunity to student to learn how to create rapport with patients.

“I also hope they learn to improve their skills for developing rapport with their patients as well as learning the art of therapeutic use of self,” he said.

He believes the experience will help students feel the satisfaction that comes with helping others.

“I also hope they experience a sense of reward/satisfaction by using the science and the art of Occupational Therapy to help someone learn or re-learn to do to a task that they were previously able to do prior the accident, injury or illness,” he said.

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