On Thursday, January 17, 2014, second-year students in the entry-level graduate programs gathered at Bunker Hill Community College for the Interprofessional Rounds. All year in the Schwartz Center Educational Rounds, students and faculty have been exploring the theme of healing trauma. As a capstone to this discussion, we invited Heather Abbott, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings, and her team of caregivers from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to discuss the role of interprofessional practice in her recovery.
Heather, pictured here with physical therapist Dara Casparian DPT ’13 about to throw the first pitch at a Red Sox game, described how the health professionals at Spaulding worked together to return her to full function after receiving a prosthetic leg. The caregivers provided examples of how listening to the patient and finding out what was meaningful for her allowed them to work collectively and effectively.
After the panelists spoke, they answered questions from the audience. Time did not permit responding to all of the questions gathered, so I’ve pasted below additional questions from students in hopes of furthering the conversation about healing after trauma.
Questions for Heather:
- What were some of the things that were most helpful in your outpatient rehab?
- Resilience is a staple in recovery, what was the role of the psych team within your recovery and what worked for you after such an event?
- What was the most challenging thing you experienced when learning to use your prosthetic? Were you surprised about anything you were able to do with your prosthetic?
Questions for health professionals:
- What were your strategies to stay emotionally strong when working with survivors?
- When you say you had to prepare for the survivors, how exactly did you do that?
- How has the experience of working with the survivors affected the care you give now?
- How did you motivate patients who were depressed and/or experiencing PTSD?
- How did you decide as a team what the top priorities were for a patient when they first came to the rehab center?
- Given a patient that has challenges with learning new routines and limb damage – how would the process to help the patient learn the new routine be accomplished? What would be SLP, PT, and OT roles?
- All of the survivors have been described as young, healthy, and motivated, and most of the anecdotes have been positive. Can someone on the panel – from any discipline – give an example of a physical or emotional setback and how they helped the patient through it?
- What was the average time frame for the acute phase (prior to Spaulding)? In that time, what did you do to prepare for their arrival? On average, how long did it take a survivor to recover?
- How did the patient’s pain level affect your treatment plan?
- How do you know as a clinician when to push a client to reach goals and when to give them space and time, especially in the setting of trauma?
- In your experience, what has been the best way to divide tasks/goals that may overlap between disciplines? (i.e. when it is not explicitly a PT/SLP/OT/Nursing issue, how does the discussion go?)
- With patients with memory problems, how closely does speech collaborate with the neurology team?
- We’ve heard a lot about what you did well and we applaud you for that! Can you share with us what new interprofessional challenges were brought to light during the aftermath of the bombing and what are you goals for improving interprofessional care even more than you already have at Spaulding?