Sunday, 28 February 2016

A Lesson Learned While Networking

It is amazing what lessons one can learn when networking with colleagues. I attended a network meeting a few weeks ago and have begun to interact with a few who have related services to mine. One of them just called me to discuss her services. I could hear her name but not very much more, every second word blurred out due to poor reception wherever she was calling from. I asked if it was possible for her to move to a better place or to call me again when she was in a place that has good cell phone reception. She explained that she was driving while making this phone call and hence there were times that reception would become unclear or non-existant. I mentioned my policy not to talk to someone who is driving and was surprised to hear her say that these kinds of phone calls she only makes when driving. This was her time to make certain business related calls.

Her attitude raised a few concerns for me:

1) If you are making a phone call related to your business, this requires attention and concentration. Even more so, the best way to interact with colleagues or potential clients is to engage in active listening. As the term suggests, active listening is an activity that requires concentration and focus. If your attention is split to another task, it will come through to whomever you are talking to that your attention is divided. This shows a lack of interest and respect for the other person

2) Driving is an activity that demands complete concentration. The minute you get behind the wheel you are involved in an activity that puts your life and the lives of others at risk. If you wish to reach your destination safely without causing problems for you or another, the only way to drive is to give driving your full attention. Having conversations that are important takes some of your attention off the road and is likely to lower your ability to act or react speedily when the need arises. My first encounter with an accident due to  driver using a cell phone is mention in a previous post: "Don't use cell phones when driving"

3) Contrary to the belief that some have that multi-tasking saves them time, research shows that multi-tasking can actually slow you down and waste the time you are trying to save. So let us look at some exampled of tasks that are suitable for multi-tasking: If you wish to relax and are listening to some calming, relaxing music, not too loud so that the volume also contributes to a calming atmosphere, this can be combined with drawing, giving a loved one a massage, receiving a massage, doing breathing exercises or yoga / pilates / dance. You can also combine listening to relaxing music with some other craft activities such as knitting, crocheting and the like.

4) Here are some examples of types of tasks that can not be mixed with another task:
To me, driving, business meetings, tasks that are potentially dangerous e.g. cutting up vegetables or any other use of machinery or  sharp equipment, mathematical or science tasks that require precision and accuracy. 

Perhaps you can add more examples of tasks that should not be combined. What are your thoughts on chatting to someone if you can hardly hear them due to their driving through an area with poor reception. How does it make you feel?

I'd love to hear your experiences so do post a comment here.

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Discovering Mr George Edward Barton and Consolation House

I was reading a little of a blog by a fellow O.T. entitled ABC Therapeutics. Browsing a few articles, a thread of posts on the history of OT caught my attention. I was fascinated to read about a Mr George Edward Barton and Consolation House. I had not heard of Mr Barton or Consolation House so decided to do a google search and happily found a photocopy which has been uploaded of an article featured in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy about Consolation House. It is an article of about 6 pages long. Sadly the copy I found has some words chopped due to the fold of the journal. However, the article is wonderful.

From the article I learned that Mr Barton had been ill and was hospitalized for a year. At the end of the year, the doctors introduced a Reverend Dr Elwood Wooster who had authored a book on "Religion and Medicine". The Reverend introduced Mr Barton to a new profession known as occupational therapy. 

Mr Barton was an architect by profession but unable to return to work due to his illness and disabilities. With his new found interest in occupational therapy, he purchased a property and developed the house, barn and garden initially for his own rehabilitation but opening up Consolation House to assist others too, in 1914. Opposite the property was the beginnings of the American OT Association, known at that time as the National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy with a primary focus on promoting the profession.

I loved reading the care that Mr Barton gave to the details of Consolation House. It's a project I would love to do if I only had the funding to. As to the focus on promotion of the profession, this is still a great need today. Now just over 100 years after the opening of Consolation House in New York, USA, there is still such a lack of understanding and appreciation for the profession. I wonder what could be done to bridge the gap so that OT can be appreciated by all and that those who need the services of this wonderful profession can be referred or know to request referral.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of history of OT in the USA. It was certainly interesting for me to read it.

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist

Monday, 22 February 2016

Is your Healthcare Facility / Office Easily Accessible?

I had a meeting recently with a colleague who works in natural / holistic healthcare. When I was finalizing the appointment I asked her secretary directions of how to get to her clinic. Her secretary was unable to tell me, saying ask the bus company. I did just that. I took the bus with plenty of time to get to the clinic, got off at the bus stop suggested and then wondered what next. Thanks to modern technology, an App gave me directions as to where to walk. About 2 km later, I arrived at the address given to me, opened the gate and wondered, wow, how does anyone with health difficulties get to her. Also, which building or apartment will be hers. I turned right along a path that looked easier to walk along, surely a health professional would have an easy path to access her clinic.

Wrong turn, time to turn back. Well, now I had the only option in front of me, to go down a steep path that was narrow, paved but not very well and with no railing to hold onto. After about 10 steps there was a break in the paving, a few steps, a gravel / stony section and then another steep ramp like path that was narrow. Definitely not a path for someone in a wheelchair to navigate safely. Anyone with balance problems would also have much difficulty. Finally I reached the end of the path, very relieved that I managed without falling.

I did not measure the entrance to the door to determine if it is wheelchair accessible for anyone who can get to the front door, or measure the space inside to determine the possibility to maneuver a wheelchair. Obviously, these details are important too.

At the end of our meeting, I discovered that there was a very long flight of stairs a few buildings away that took me up to a main road that had buses going on it. I would estimate this was close to 200 meters away, certainly closer than the 2 km trek I had to get there. The secretary explained that she could not let me know about this set of stairs as she could not describe it.

To begin with, a potential client going up or down these stairs would have to have very good endurance and again probably not require any assistance for walking, whether that be crutches, walking frame or wheelchair. However, if the client is fit enough to go up and down all those stairs, the way to explain where they can be found is quite simple. The person giving directions can take a look at the numbers of the buildings on either side of the flight of stairs and also make note of any landmarks to help direct the person. In addition, thanks to today's modern technology, it is easy to take a few photographs and post them on a website offering clear instructions for anyone coming to their offices.

The experience made me once again, grateful for my training in occupational therapy and for the information on both the importance of accessibility and how to make it easier for potential clients to both find one and to access your offices. Accessibility is a basic right. If you have moved to new offices or are needing to move, contact an occupational therapist for assistance in making sure that your clients can reach you as easily as possible. If you live in Israel and are in need of an occupational therapy consultation please be in touch to book a consultation. After all, most clients who are fit and health will have limited needs for intervention from a health professional. If your profession is in any of the health professions, whether that be allopathic or alternative, it is vital to ensure that your clients can actually get to you safely and easily.

I look forward to hearing from you

Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Certified Kallah Teacher
Co-Author of "Tuvia Finds His Freedom"

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

An Example of a Kallah in need of Occupational Therapy

I have received a few emails today, asking me to pray for a young lady who is in critical condition after a car accident. A few days ago, I was networking at a meeting and most who attended did not understand my niche or specialty, let alone occupational therapy itself. When I mentioned that I specialize in assisting Jewish women in the role of wife and mother I was told that this is what a life coach does.

Though prayer is crucial, appropriate treatment is also very important. I do not know this young lady or which hospital she is in, neither do I know the full extent of her injuries. I decided to write some ideas of what I could offer in the hope that Jewish women can come to understand the profession of occupational therapy and why it is important.

As mentioned, I have not heard much about this young lady. What I understand is that she is or was in a coma and among her injuries she has a severely injured hand and severely injured foot. She is also a Kallah (bride) due to come to Chuppah (wedding canopy) in just 2 weeks. This information is enough to already give an outline of how my service could assist her. 

If anyone looks at my website you will see that my services are divided into assisting women who are at the phase of:

To this end, in addition to being a licensed and experienced occupational therapist, I am also certified as a Kallah teacher, and have certification as an infant massage instructor as well as doing energy work.

The young lady in question would fall into the category of someone working on the phase of life to become a wife. In a normal world, she should be very busily preparing for her wedding. Any therapeutic intervention has to take this important life event into consideration. I would also recommend that both the Chatan and her mother are included in the therapy sessions, the goal setting and planning and the sessions themselves.

As some of my work experience, I have worked with poly trauma, including coma stimulation, I have also worked in two hand clinics. At this stage, much of the focus of intervention would be support to the family, support to the young lady herself, appropriate positioning and monitoring for potential to introduce therapy. The extent of coma stimulation that could be provided at this stage would be guided by the doctors in charge. Passive movements and elevation of the hand will also be important in order to reduce limit the extent of swelling. Swelling is a natural result of a wound especially in the hand. Depending on the injury, splinting might also be important so as to prevent contractures and maintain range of movement. 

Once the Kallah has regained consciousness there will be much need for physical rehabilitation. G-d willing, this Kallah will pull through and will then begin active physical rehabilitation. Without knowing the exact details of her injuries, let us look at a few of the activities of the Kallah. What does a Kallah usually do and what would be required of her in order for her to come to Chuppah successfully?

Let us pretend for a moment that the wedding is to take place and the Kallah is preparing for going to the Mikvah, a usual task for all Kallot. This Kallah will not be able to be guided by a regular Kallah teacher, there are many factors from her injury that will impact on her ability to prepare for the Mikvah and to immerse. I would therefore recommend a Kallah teacher who is also an occupational therapist. Let us take a look for a moment on some of the process of preparing for the Mikvah. To begin with is the process of recording certain details on a calendar and carrying out certain internal checks to make sure that her cycle is clear and she has counted 7 white days between the end of her cycle and the date of her immersion. There are a number of details that need to be remembered, not to mention the need to write down certain information. I do not know which hand was injured or what her dominance is, however she would need to be able to write in order to carry out this task. If writing is a problem, an alternative method needs to be determined according to her functional needs in OT and that is in keeping with Hallachah (Torah Law). As for the details to remember, someone who has been in a coma can have difficulties with memory, concentration and other cognitive or perceptual problems. These details will need to be evaluated in order to determine whether she can carry out these tasks and if not, what intervention is required so that she can gain the necessary skills. 

Next she will need to have a good bath, washing and combing your hair, cutting your nails of both hands and feet and cleaning them effectively in order to make sure that there are no intervening substances. If one takes a moment to think about the details involved in washing oneself, ones hair, getting in and out of the bath etc, this task requires a number of functions of both hands. Many tasks are bilateral. In addition, good balance is required in order to get in and out of the bath. However, before we can get to this, both her hand and her foot have to be healed sufficiently that they can be put into the water with no risk to infection. If there have been sutures (stitches) these have to be removed or resolved before immersing in a Mikvah will be possible as the stitches themselves become an intervening substance. This means that aside from the fact that she is in a coma, the stitches themselves would take 10 days to two weeks before they can be removed. Let's pray that there is no infection that develops, the mere fact that the stitches need to be removed and there needs to be no risk of infection is a clear indication that a wedding date in just 2 weeks might already become a problem. If the rabbis permit the wedding to take place while the Kallah is in hospital, that introduces a certain unspoken strain which would have to be worked with in therapy.

Let us pretend that she managed her bath and is now proceeding to go to the Mikvah. Once again she will need to check herself prior to going from the bathroom to the Mikvah. In addition to washing herself, checking herself, washing and combing her hair, she has to be able to undress and to dress herself. Regarding the Mikvah, she will need to follow the questions of the Mikvah lady which means being able to understand them and to remember the information to answer correctly. G-d willing her cognition and perception will be fine and she will be ready to immerse. The next stage requires walking down the stairs into the Mikvah itself. This requires balance and good function of both feet. In the event she is not yet able to stand and walk on her feet including going up and down the stairs she will need to be taken to a Mikvah that is adapted to accommodate for physical deficits. This will need evaluation and teaching her of how to use the adapted Mikvah in the event that this is necessary.

Notice, we have not yet got to all kinds of exciting tasks such as getting in and out of her bridal gown, having her hands and nails prepared, having her hair done, being able to walk to the Chuppah or finding a suitable means of mobility for her.

These will all become goals in treatment and have to be carried out with infinite sensitivity. Aside from the physical deficits and physical rehabilitation, there are a number of psychosocial factors that will need to be addressed which again fall into the role of the occupational therapist to work on with her and appropriate family members, especially her groom.

Let us pretend that she managed to come to Chuppah; since she is a young adult it will be important to look at other activities that will be necessary for her to carry out in her role of new wife, these can include cooking, shopping, meal planning, cleaning, setting up her new home, doing the laundry, safety in the kitchen. She will also have to look at what her profession or work are and to ensure that she is able to return to work and carry out her job effectively. If she is a student then the tasks / occupations necessary for her to complete her course will become important. If you spend a moment to think about the daily tasks that you carry out from when you get up in the morning to when you go to sleep, many of these tasks will be bilateral which means a need for good hand function. Being a Jewish young woman, she will have other tasks that are important too such as when she is in the kitchen, can she do what is necessary in order to keep Kosher in addition to basic cooking and meal preparation skills? Can she wash her hands? Using a special cup that has two handles in order to wash her hands as is required when waking up in the morning, after going to the toilet, when wanting to eat a meal that includes bread. This means not only being able to coordinate both hands to be able to pour the water over one hand and then the other, but she will need to have sufficient muscle strength to be able to pick up the washing vessel filled with water, with her affected hand. If her muscle strength is not strong enough to manage this, an alternative method needs to be determined that will still be in keeping with Torah. 

Some of the tasks mentioned thus far will be part of future planning with other short term goals being set and worked towards depending on her medical condition. In addition to the details that have been outlined above, it is important to find out what her interests are and what other tasks will be important for her to be able to carry out.

I wish this young Kallah a Refuah Shelayma - complete a speedy recovery. I hope that writing some information of a few obvious areas that come to mind in my capacity of occupational therapist, healing facilitator and Kallah teacher will help the reader to begin to understand how occupational therapy combines with being a Kallah teacher and the potential need for this. I hope too that it will begin to become evident how occupational therapy is not life coaching. Yes many occupational therapists use coaching and many have become life coaches, wellness coaches etc, however there is a difference. If anyone reading this knows the Kallah, you are welcome to be in touch. Please note, I would only be able to work with this young lady with a doctor's referral. Whether the Kallah would be referred to me or another OT, she will still be in need of effective occupational therapy intervention.

Friends, don't waste time. If you are in need of this type of assistance, check out my site TODAY. Be in touch with me either via my website or my email. I would be delighted to assist you whether it come to matters of healing, whether it comes to needing occupational therapy, whether in terms of learning the laws of family purity or any of the other services that you will find on my website.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Kallah Teacher
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Co-author of "Tuiva Finds His Freedom"

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A New Book on the Horizon

About 15 years ago, a few of my clients asked me to write a certain book about occupational therapy. I set to work and did just that only to come up against various stumbling blocks, finding a suitable publisher being just one of them. The book was completed but how to bring it to print continued to be a challenge. Moving countries, I got caught up with a myriad of activities in order to settle in the new country and this task was sadly shelved. There are a few times that I have taken out the manuscript and began to do some editing, editing lead to re-writing and once again I hit a specific road block.

After years mulling over this problem, I finally found a new direction which I hope will be a better version. I am happy to say that I have finally re-written the book and am now well into editing once more. After editing comes formatting and then the fun of putting a cover together. Of course, by now I have moved away from structured publishing companies. Thanks to publishing our previous book via CreateSpace, I aim to do this book through CreateSpace too. I hope that by self-publishing, I will have more flexibility and freedom and of course will ensure that the book does in deed come into print rather than just sitting on my shelf.

It's exciting times and I very much look forward to sharing the progress of the book and when it will be available in print.

Do you have a question that relates to occupational therapy? If so, please post it in the comments below. Your answers can assist me with the final editing of my book.

Have a wonderful week.

Occupational Therapist

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Reflexology for Patient in Coma

A reader asked about reflexology with comatosed patients. I have not personally used reflexology though I have used anti-edema massage. However, one of my clients we did use acupuncture to a specific point on the big toe. it is very difficult to know how much the acupuncture assisted as the patient was receiving a full coma stimulation program. Having said that, the patient did make a remarkable recovery, far exceeding doctors predictions.

Can reflexology work? I have not read any articles or research on the topic. I do not know enough about reflexology so can not give a final answer, however, certainly the point on the big toe that was stimulated with my patient can assist. If you are an expert in reflexology and interested in providing services to comatosed patients, I would recommend 1) obtaining permission from the consulting doctor and 2) consulting with a neuro-occupational  therapist who specializes in Sensory Integration (S.I.) and possibly both SI and NDT. 

If anyone has an answer, preferably that can be verified by clinical research I would be interested to hear your input.

May we all stay well and not require the need for such intervention.

Shoshanah Shear

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

8 Ways in which Blogging Can Assist You

For those wanting to earn from home and / or to earn online, does blogging help and if so how?

I was just reading a sobering blog post about all kinds of mistakes that one could be making with their blog which could prevent them from being able to earn effectively. In amongst the 26 tips provided, the post mentioned that most blogs will not earn even $100 from their blog. Well I am happy to state that through blogging my husband and I have both earned $100 in just google ads not to mention other referrals that have happened from the blog. What does this show, yes it takes work and regular input, however, it is possible to meet the minimum amount mentioned of $100. For us, the main key has been regular posting and making sure to have varied posts. Obviously there is much more to blogging. 

So, we can ask, what is the purpose of blogging. How does it help?

1) To begin with, by having a blog you are creating the opportunity for those outside of your immediate community, city or circle to get to know you.

2) If you are disciplined about writing blog posts regularly, this can assist you to create, develop and identify ideas.

3) If you have a profession, service or product, having a blog can assist you to think about what it is that you offer and to construct posts that can enable those who do not know you or your service to come to understand and appreciate the value of what you offer.

4) If you take the time to look at your google analytics and or  feedjit or other resources to track your readers, you can gain insight into the types of posts that readers are enjoying or visiting more frequently.

5) For those who take a little time to reflect on their blogs, posts and to look at the work of others, you have the opportunity to improve your writing skills

6) When you are needing to gather ideas for marketing a given event, product, service etc, blogging provides a number of opportunities. You can use it to reflect on progress, to brain storm or to pose questions. If you are promoting your blog, then you have the potential to receive feedback from your readers.

7) Blogging is a form of taking action. Even if you receive little feedback and are not managing to bring in the $100 minimum that many blogs struggle to do, your blog can also be a form of journaling which on its own has a certain value and benefit.

8) If you are considering developing a career in writing, then having a blog can enable you to create articles and posts to show to potential clients. 

Whether your blog is to assist you with a work goal or a personal goal, having a blog does have a value. What value or benefit it will provide is up to you. If you would like guidance in identifying your goals and ascertaining how having a blog can assist you to meet these goals, please do be in touch.

Have a blessed day

Shoshanah Shear

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