Jennifer Escobar wants to help her clients get back the skills people normally take for granted.
Jennifer is an occupational therapist at GRH’s Freeport Campus. She supports patients returning home after a hospital stay.
For 13 years, Jennifer has
helped patients recover their health and quality of life. For her, it’s about
looking at all aspects of a client’s health and well-being, and how she needs
to provide care so they can get back their daily activities.
What enticed you into becoming an occupational therapist (OT)?
I knew from a very young age I wanted to work in health care but it took me a long time to find OT. I volunteered with many different disciplines to get a true understanding of the various health care professions.
In my second year of university I was sure I wanted to be a physiotherapist, I contacted various physiotherapists to request a shadowing opportunity and accidentally there was an OT on my list. This was the first time I had even heard of OT but on that first day of shadowing I instantly knew that OT was what I was meant to do.
What program area do you work in, and what are your patients’ needs?
I work on the restorative care program at the Freeport Campus. I have the opportunity to work with an amazing team of health care providers who work so well collaboratively to enhance our patients daily functioning to transition them out of hospital and back into the community.
Our patients are adults and older adults who require rehabilitation in order to regain independent functioning to return to the community.
What do you enjoy about your work?
I love being able to help people reach their full potential in order to return home. It is so rewarding to work with clients getting them back to the little things that we often take for granted, like being able to get in and out of bed independently, getting on their feet again to stand at the sink to brush their teeth or being able to go to the bathroom on their own.
Patients often feel they lose all decency when they enter the hospital. Helping them gain their independence to do things such as toileting themselves is something patients are always so grateful for. It’s a huge step towards being able to return home, and I enjoy helping them get there.
How has OT practice changed during your career?
Over the last 13 years a lot has changed. We have new assessments, new research to help guide our treatment, new therapy equipment, we have technology and information at our fingertips.
But at the end of the day, the core values of OT remain the same: working with clients to enhance their independence with their day-to-day activities.
What would you like people in the community to know about the support OTs provide?
OTs work with people across the entire life span from infants to the elderly, and also in various settings: from schools, community, work places, hospitals, clinics etc. OTs work with clients to enhance their quality of life by working with them to return to meaningful daily activities.
Whatever the goal may be, whether it be to get back to work, get back to cooking independently, to be able to hold your grandchild, walk your dog, or manage in the bathroom independently, OTs are there to help you achieve your goals.