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Fieldwork Brings Education to Life

6/11/2009 —

DuBois – Penn State DuBois Occupational Therapy (OT) student Lisa Demotte is putting her skills and education to the test this summer.  She is the first student this year to begin her fieldwork for the OT program, providing valuable treatment for area patients and getting real-world experience.

OT students are required to complete eight weeks of fieldwork as part of the curriculum.  Demotte, who is completing hers at Christ the King Manor Assisted Living Home in DuBois says she wouldn't have it any other way. "The fieldwork experience brings everything I've learned in the classroom to life," she says. "You spend so much time in class packing all this information into your brain and the fieldwork experience brings it all to the surface again.  I'm constantly amazed by this."

Demotte currently works with geriatric residents with various diagnosis such as hip fractures, Parkinson's, Myasthenia Gravis, Alzheimer's, COPD, and heart related issues.  She is responsible for helping those residents adapt to their condition and perform activities of daily living to the best of their ability. Actions such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and hygiene are covered. "I work with them so that they may perform these activities independently or at the highest level of functioning that can be achieved," Demotte explains. "Goals for the resident are set upon their initial evaluation, and these are the goals that I address when working with the resident. The residents come down to the OT/PT gym area for further work on these goals.  During these sessions, we try to do activities that simulate tasks that are performed at home or on a daily basis with close attention paid to factors such as strength, endurance, balance, safety, work simplification, and energy conservation."

Demotte is also responsible for educating the residents on the use of adaptive and assistive equipment such as long-handled reachers, sponges, and shoe horns.

Though she plans to one day work with children, Demotte says she learns important lessons at the assisted living home every day. "The experience of working with actual clients and watching them make progress is truly rewarding," she said. "The fieldwork experience truly offers us an invaluable learning experience."

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