Monday, 23 March 2015

Burns Prevention

             The above photograph is of the game the boys were playing.

A number of months ago, we were walking home across the park when we noticed a few young boys engrossed in something on the floor. Walking a little closer we discovered they were trying to start a fire, just for fun/! We asked where they obtained the matches from and were told the parents were out and they found the matches at home. The boys claimed they were their matches and they could play with them if they wanted to. 

It took a lot to help them understand just how dangerous their little game could become and to stop what they were doing and give us the matches for safe keeping until their parents returned. Following up with the parents was not so easy either.

Having worked in a burns unit, I prefer to help to educate regarding burns prevention and other accident and disability prevention, though this approach to healthcare is not always so readily received. With all the resistance to preventing accidents, I think I'd still rather hear the gripes of those who think I am over-reacting to the cries and screams of those in pain undergoing a certain procedure. For those in the burns unit, having their daily bath was the worst and the screams stayed with me for years, not just while treating them.

Some years ago, I offered a major website to write a series of a few articles on accident and disability prevent stating that the Rambam (Maimonedes) teaches that prevention is better than cure. Judaism is of course focused on preservation of life and saving lives therefore comes first before other Mitzvos.

Sadly the website turned down the offer out of concern for ambulance drivers, doctors and others who receive a Parnassa due to accidents. I'd rather do what I can to educate on preventing an accident and allow Hashem who runs to world to provide a different Parnassa to those who receive their income from anything related to accidents than keep quiet and hear the cries of those who have been hurt. Hashem is not short of ways to provide income to anyone. Aside from my feelings as a health professional, I am not alone in this attitude. Speaking to a med student, she reminded me that contrary to the editor's concern, most health professionals would actually prefer to be involved in happy intervention such as delivery of a new born than in trauma care.

I remember too, giving a talk in the Old City of Jerusalem on the topic and being saddened by only 3 women showing. One woman explained that the information is common sense. It might be so, but it is hard when reading of such a major tragedy to consider the words that preventing accidents, burns and other disabilities are just common sense.

The sad reality is that too many of us are too busy in our daily lives to think of the real needs that can save the lives of those we love and prevent those terrible tragedies.

For those who know our work in Chessed Ve'Emet, our main focus is that the world is built on loving kindness and stands on three things: Torah, Tefillah and acts of loving kindness.

One of the greatest kindnesses we can do is to learn how to protect our lives and our health. Since I was not successful in writing a series of articles for a website, I offer instead that you sign up for my newsletter. In my newsletter I aim to share important information on accident and disability prevention, tips on developing a healthy, balanced lifestyle and much more. Even if the information is common sense, please, please sign up and read the information. If even one tragedy can be prevented we will have achieved something. 

Sign up for our newsletter and together, with G-d's help, may we merit good health and well being for all.  

This post is prepared for you by:
Occupational therapist, healing facilitator
Certified infant massage instructor
Certified Kallah teacher

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Invite for M.E. Sufferers to Contribute to a Book

I have had one fellow M.E. Sufferer send in her answers to the few questions that I have prepared to include in my upcoming book. I have had about 4 others inquire and would like to have at least 10 if not more to write up in the book 

If you suffer from M.E. / CFS or know anyone who does and are interested in sharing a little of your story to let others know that this illness is real, please be in touch. 

Maybe after this book I will still publish my own. In the meantime, the research and editing is time consuming and expensive. So we wait to see how things will turn out and I look forward to hear from others who would like to participate in this project.

Wishing you all good health.


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Invite To Those Suffering From M.E / CFS

I have been busy working on updating a book that I wrote a while ago of my experience with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). It is not easy to re-read the manuscript or to do the research to update it. In the meantime, I have decided I don't want it to be as much my journey as to educate about the condition, living with a condition like this and how the public can help through awareness, sensitivity to those with ME etc.

Perhaps in time I will put more of my journey as a sequel or another book. For now, I have decided I'd like to include experiences of others. 

A few weeks ago, someone in one of the FaceBook groups for M.E / CFS commented that not everyone can write a book. So, I am inviting anyone who has been diagnosed with ME to email me to participate in this book. 

If have 7 - 8 short questions for you to answer that can be put into the book. You are welcome to include your name or to write it anonymously. If anyone has a blog or website, I'd be happy to include a link. 

I have had one M.E. sufferer answer the questions so far. I'd like to have at least 10, though more are welcome too. 

Thanks for your input. Together, perhaps we can increase awareness of this hard condition.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Equine Assisted Therapy

In a previous post, I introduced the concept Therapeutic Riding. Horses are in fact used in therapy which can be OT in a variety of ways. I am not an expert on working with horses in OT, though I still hope to add this or use of other animals in my OT sessions. There is much I can write about from the year I spent working with Riding for the Disabled, but let's take a moment to view a video that illustrates more than words can.


If you have any questions, please do post at the bottom of this post. If I do not know the answer, I have colleagues who are OT's and specialize in Hippo-therapy and Equine Assisted therapy

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Is Coma Stimulation Effective

I noticed that there is some interest in coma stimulation. So here I ask the question:

"Is coma stimulation effective?"

The answer is yes, it can be, but only when used effectively, implemented by a qualified and licensed occupational therapist and when it is consistent.

I have worked with many unconscious patients. One of the most exciting cases was a young lady who had such a severe head injury, doctors did not believe she could survive and if she did they had hard predictions for her prognosis. Another was in a coma from a different cause and also doctors gave the family the news that it was time to prepare for the worst. Both of these ladies and others came out of their coma. Both did receive some regular input and the effort certainly paid off.

One client I was called in to visit was months after becoming comatosed. He was already contracted due to poor positioning and though his family tried to offer stimulation, there were certain details they erred on due to lack of appropriate training. Sadly we never obtained the appropriate go ahead from the doctors and hence  I am left to wonder how he progressed.

In another case, the family insisted at the outset that finance would not be an issue but finance was an issue and hence they tried to limit coma stimulation to once a week. That is not an effective implementation of coma stimulation and eventually OT was stopped due to lack of funding. I do not know what transpired with this patient but fear he might have gone the same as the person who was contracted. 

In short, coma stimulation is a controversial topic. However, it can be very effective when begun early and implemented regularly by a qualified and licensed occupational therapist. Preferably the OT needs to be trained in NDT and Sensory Integration.

What is your experience with coma stimulation? We'd love to hear what brings you to this blog and whether the post has answered your questions.

This post is prepared for you by Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Kallah Teacher
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Artist, Photographer and Author

Monday, 2 March 2015

Meeting Emily Haltiwanger

Yesterday I had the great privilege to met Emily Haltiwanger, a Retired Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy from the US, via Skype with webcam. 

Emily had taken an interest in a question I posted in one of the OT forums on Linked In and kindly offered to chat further. We had a long conversation and it was a delight to share work experience, cases treated and other interesting points regarding our profession. It is always a great pleasure to discuss occupational therapy with someone who appreciates the holistic approach of the profession and the wealth of assistance we can offer to our clients.

It has been a while since I had such a stimulating conversation with a fellow OT and has renewed my excitement about the profession. 

For those who do not know Emily, stay tuned for information of my book and you can read first hand her contribution to one section of the book.

This post is prepared by Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Kallah Teacher
Certified Infant Massage Instructor

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