Patricia Chichester, OT, sees patients in person and remotely.
Patricia Chichester started her occupational therapy career at Bacharach 25 years ago as a student, working with both inpatients and outpatients. After a few forays in different care settings, she has been back for the last 15 years.
“I always tell my OT students when you get the chance, start at a rehab hospital. Bacharach is a great place to work as a therapist. There are so many mentors and you can get experience in so much, in everything from wheelchair positioning to neuro rehab to outpatient therapy to splinting. It teaches you how to be flexible and to think on your feet.”
Today, Patty is managing a hectic schedule that includes hours in Bacharach’s Mays Landing, Linwood, and Cape May Court House centers, as well as offering remote therapy to some of her patients.
Now Offering Telehealth
“It is great to have the opportunity to offer clients OT services via telehealth’” says Pat. It has allowed people who otherwise might fall behind in the rehab process and lose function to work with a therapist remotely to maximize return of flexibility, strength, mobility’ and independence. The clients we see may be told by their doctor to avoid going out in the community for the time being or they may have difficulty with getting transportation.”
“With remote therapy for example, I can see how their motion strength and coordination is. I had one patient who needed therapy putty – it comes in colors graded for grip strength, yellow, orange, green. During our session I could see that the patient was ready to begin strengthening so I was able to drop putty off (social distance style) and then we could progress to the strengthening in the next telehealth session.”
Patient Praise for Telehealth
Patty’s patient Jonathan Pruitt of Mays Landing chose telehealth and has glowing praise for the option. He had been seeing Patty in person for quite some time after a stroke and a fall. Jonathan is a musician and was determined to regain the use of his hand and shoulder, injured in the fall.
“The platform works great,” said Jonathan. “Pat uses the session time to give me maximum benefit. She angles her laptop to show me the exercise and then I can do it. Then she has me text her a list of the gear I have here and then she tells me to do these exercises on Monday, these exercises on Tuesday, etc. Pat brings all that knowledge to a new medium and it works for both of us. It really is a great solution.”
Who Chooses Therapy In Person?
You may wonder who is choosing therapy in person these days.
According to Pat, “Elective surgeries were on hold for a while, but trauma was not, so I have still been seeing patients in the outpatient satellites. Some examples include someone who slipped and fell and broke their wrist or dislocated their elbow and needed surgery and post-operative therapy, someone who was injured in their home or working in the yard sustaining a crush injury of the finger or hand, someone in a car accident who sustained an orthopedic injury, or someone who had a stroke.”
“I am also seeing patients who have resumed therapy at the clinic now that they feel comfortable coming out. We follow all precautions recommended by the CDC,” said Patty. “When people call to schedule, if they are not comfortable coming in, we are offering remote therapy. We want to be flexible, make it easy for the patient to get care, and for the doctor to refer.”