SAN DIEGO (Mar. 24, 2021) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Hector Riojas, a certified occupational therapy assistant assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) Occupational Therapy Clinic (right), fits a patient with a custom-fabricated wrist orthosis, or splint, in the clinic Mar. 24. The splints are custom-formed to each individual patient to help them better perform day-to-day tasks. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many facets of healthcare are conducted, and NMCSD has adapted some of its techniques and practices to keep both staff and patients safe while delivering the high-quality healthcare they’ve come to expect. NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality healthcare services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians, and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Luke Cunningham.
NMCSD recognizes Occupational Therapy Month
by MC3 Luke Cunningham,
Naval Medical Center San Diego
SAN DIEGO – Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) recognizes Occupational Therapy Month throughout April.
Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants specialize in physical and cognitive rehabilitation, and improving patients’ ability to perform day-to-day activities, which are referred to as occupations.
Occupational therapists evaluate patients and develop treatment plans concerning their injuries. After the treatment plan is developed, occupational therapy assistants execute the patients treatment plan.
“After the patient sees an occupational therapist, they come to me,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Hector Riojas, a certified occupational therapy assistant assigned to NMCSD’s Occupational Therapy Clinic. “Assistants do a lot of hands-on work in the clinic. After their evaluation, we build a rapport with the patient, get to know them, and figure out the best way to execute their treatment plan to fit their needs.”
NMCSD’s Occupational Therapy Clinic treats job-related injuries, inpatient and outpatient cases and postoperative patients. They also tend to mental health and pediatric patients.
For patients with hand and wrist injuries, the clinic creates custom-fabricated wrist orthosis, called splints.
“The splints are custom-formed to the patient in the exact position that benefits them most,” said Lt. Jessica Haney, an occupational therapist assigned to NMCSD’s Occupational Therapy Clinic. “Patients come to us and tell us what they need, and we provide them with a splint that helps them do that task.”
Haney said the splints can help patients better perform daily tasks, such as climbing ladders, firing a weapon, folding laundry or holding a camera.
Occupational therapy is uniquely tailored towards each individual’s needs.
“Whether it’s homelife, hobbies or job aspects, things that are meaningful and purposeful, we can hone in on what is important for each individual’s needs,” said Haney. “For active duty service members, the mission is getting them back into a warfighting status. It’s an important aspect for our military facility, and I feel we have an important role in making sure our patients return to full-duty capabilities.”
NMCSD’s Occupational Therapy Clinic holds a critical role in the rehabilitation of service members and beneficiaries. The recognition of NMCSD’s occupational therapy staff allows the hospital to celebrate those who have given back their patients a normal sense of life.
NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high-quality healthcare services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.
Visit navy.mil or facebook.com/NMCSD for more information.
Military News | Navy News | Occupational Therapy month observed this April at NMCSD