ILOTA Communique December 2017 Communique | Page 5

October / November / December • Issue 4 • 2017 Finding purpose through occupational therapy , continued from Page 4 unfamiliar situations. Staff supported Sam in decreasing his vulnerability in the community, and facilitated use of a low vision bill sorting technique to support more effective money management in natural environments, most importantly, at the coffee shop. Through engagement in meaningful occupations, Sam presented with increased motivation and determination to reconstruct his everyday roles and routines. He was now ready to transition to a more independent living environment. The transition from a nursing home to either independent living or supported living in the community is both an exciting and anxiety-provoking time for most clients. In Sam’s case, his transition was from the nursing home to a group home, which is designed to provide clients with assistance with medication management, budgeting, case management for appointments and any other support that client may need while living in the community. The OT working with Sam, recognized the importance of Sam maintaining his independence, despite the support he was receiving from the group home staff. Sam had a personal goal to learn his new neighborhood so he could go grocery shopping, take public transportation, go to local restaurants and explore the community independently. With OT, Sam learned landmarks in the neighborhood to help guide him to preferred locations, he learned how to walk to the “L” stop and bus stop and learned to independently walk to the local grocery store. It had been quite some time since Sam had to complete laundry and meal preparation on his own. The OT working with him oriented him to the washer and dryer and collaborated to identify modifications, specifically adding tactile bumps to the machines where he felt they would be most beneficial. Staff educated Sam as well as the group home staff on strategies to increase his independence with laundry, such as using detergent pods in order to avoid spilling detergent and easing the process of carrying laundry supplies to the basement while using his walking cane. Sam had limited experience preparing meals for himself using the stove or the microwave and was motivated to learn how to brew himself a hot cup of coffee. Sam had to generalize the skills learned pre-transition and apply them to an unfamiliar environment, which required significant prompting for sequencing the steps of the task and problem solving for safety concerns. Sam and his OT consulted with an outside assistive technology unit to identify and link him to assistive technology and equipment to maximize independence with daily tasks. This agency provided Sam with a variety of cooking tools to assist him with safe meal preparation, and a smartphone that has screen reader technology for the visually impaired. This opened a world of opportunity for Sam, as he was now able to access the community with increased independence and confidence. Sam and his OT continue to collaborate to identify barriers to engaging in meaningful occupations and continue to develop structure and routine to support a new sense of purpose and direction. Here at Trilogy, we often see the benefit of providing occupational therapy services to individuals transitioning to independent living. The benefit of skill building and assessment by an OT was evident in Sam’s transition. Sam faced unique challenges in managing symptoms of mental illness, physical health concerns and vision loss, while transitioning to an unfamiliar environment. With the support of his transition staff, occupational therapists, and community outreach workers, Sam was given the opportunity to re-establish a sense of purpose, life direction, and a home brewed cup of coffee. About the Authors Jamie Angell is an occupational therapist Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare, working with individuals with mental illness to support successful independent living and participation in meaningful activities in the community. Jamie works with clients in both independent living and in group home settings. Jamie Rotter, OTR/L, QMHP is the lead occupational therapist for Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare in Chicago. Jamie is part of an innovative program which provides the opportunity for adults with mental illness to gain the skills necessary to participate in meaningful activities. Katie Nagy OTR/L QMHP is an occupational therapist for Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare in Chicago, working with individuals with mental illness to support creation and maintenance of a meaningful routine in a community environment. Page