Leila Kohute, OTR/L always knew that she would be an Occupational Therapist
When Leila Kohute, OTR/L was 10 years old she knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“I was inspired by my sister Yasmin to be an occupational therapist,” said Leila. “Yasmin is the youngest of my eight siblings and she has Down Syndrome. She was hospitalized the first few months of her life and when she finally came home, I was able to go with her to therapy. I watched the rehabilitation team help her to achieve developmental milestones, this made a huge impact on me!”
Leila graduated from Stockton University in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and went on to earn her Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2004.
“Bacharach was somewhere that I always wanted to work, they have a great reputation,” said Leila. “When I was in high school, I volunteered here transporting patients from their rooms to therapy. I have now been an OT here for 13 years and I have to say that I work in a place where I am doing what I love to do, which is help people live life to their fullest potential and make a difference.”
Working primarily with Bacharach’s outpatient neurological patients, Leila spends most of her day in the new Klinghoffer Neurorecovery Center. “I was very excited and grateful for all the new equipment we received,” said Leila. “I get to work with state-of-the-art technology that is used in the top rehabilitation facilities in the world.”
Leila works with her patient, Tracey on the Armeo Spring.
Leila has had great success introducing the new robots into her patients’ therapy plans. The majority of the patients she sees daily are good candidates for at least one of the devices. The Amadeo is a computer assisted device that helps stimulate a patient’s hand via opening and grasping movements, and is helpful for people with upper extremity spasticity. The Diego is an upper extremity robotic assisted arm device that primarily works the arm and shoulder.
Tracey travels an hour each way for therapy on Bacharach’s neurorecovery robots.
“We also have technology that targets vision and cognitive skills and is a great addition for concussion therapy.”
The patients at Bacharach love the new technology and interactive equipment. The robots have an evaluation piece and give the patients feedback on their progress. Some of them have a “gaming” feature that encourages patients to complete tasks to get to the next challenge.
“There is a patient who has severe spasticity in her hand is now able to keep her hand open for better hygiene, which is something she would not have been able to accomplish without the robotic technology,” said Leila. “Another patient who has a C4 traumatic spinal cord injury uses many of the robots and is able to engage in a virtual reality swimming program and move his arms. The robotic devices motivate him and he is making great progress.” “Another patient who is a West Nile Virus survivor has used many of the robots including Tyromotion’s Diego, Myro, Tymo and Pablo to recover from loss of function in his arms, hands and core. He takes videos and posts them online to other survivors from all over the country!”
“For the occupational therapy department, the set-up of the Klinghoffer Center is effective because it allows many patients to work on different robots at the same time. Because there is such a variety of robots, patients can shift from one to another quite easily.” said Leila. “It has definitely been a blessing to add so many more innovative treatment options to our therapy toolbox. I feel like I am able to provide my patients with even more comprehensive therapy. This is the place to come for therapy!”