Courtney Gerten

University of Toledo
2019

“The Ohio Scholars in Aging program was a great networking opportunity which allowed me to form connections with professionals in the field and learn so much more about the resources available within the community.”

During the spring semester of 2019, I completed a Capstone experience, which is one unique aspect of the occupational therapy doctorate program. Through this experience, I was able to create a program modification to the current discharge planning process at the Meadows of Ottawa, a skilled nursing facility. A needs assessment was conducted with key stakeholders at the facility (i.e., Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Home Health Nurse, & MDS Coordinator) and clients who received therapy services. Through interviews and written surveys, I found that there was a need for a program modification to the current discharge planning process due to weaknesses in the discharge planning process (i.e., ineffective communication, no set protocol, and not always having enough time to plan the discharge) and a need for more education/community resources.

The program modification called Safe Transitions was created and helped to set new protocols into place, integrate occupation-based interventions, open lines of communication between disciplines (beyond the therapy department including nursing and social work), create interdisciplinary collaboration for medication management, provide education/resources to patients, and establish a form of communication for patients to contact their therapists following discharge. The aim of this modification was to allow patients to return home while reducing their chance of being re-hospitalized.

Participating in this Capstone experience and being involved with the Ohio Scholars in Aging program have both been wonderful opportunities that have allowed me to learn more about the aging population and their specific needs. The Ohio Scholars in Aging program was a great networking opportunity which allowed me to form connections with professionals in the field and learn so much more about the resources available within the community. As a future clinician, these resources will be valuable to the population I intend on working with. We also had the opportunity to meet with legislators to discuss current issues being discussed in legislation. This was an eye-opening experience which showed how truly passionate so many others are toward the aging population. I have been given hope that legislation will be passed that will help protect and provide better quality services to the aging population.