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Published on October 24, 2013

Laura Crist, of Crozer-Keystone Home Health and Hospice, Wins Statewide Occupational Therapy Award

Laura Crist

Laura Crist, Winner of Statewide Occupational
Therapy Award, 2013

Laura Crist, a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) for Crozer-Keystone Home Health and Hospice, has been chosen to receive the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association’s (POTA’s) 2013 OTA Award of Recognition. The award is given each year to honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the profession of occupational therapy and/or has provided outstanding service to POTA.

Crist, whose experience in occupational therapy spans 12 years, has been active both in the community and through her one-on-one work with patients at Crozer-Keystone Home Health and Hospice.

Her primary responsibility as an occupational therapy assistant for Crozer-Keystone is to help patients reestablish independence in their homes following a hospital stay or health challenge.

“Many patients I see have been counting on others to do things for them, so when they can do things on their own, it’s a major stepping stone for them,” she says.

To help patients regain physical function and resume their day-to-day activities, Crist provides assistance with rehabilitation, such as strengthening or stretching exercises. She also makes recommendations on home modifications – such as grab bars in bathrooms or banisters on stairways – to support a safer home environment.

Beyond helping patients to achieve important physical milestones, Crist said she also sees her role as “bringing sunshine to their lives.”

“When you see patients who are able do something that they couldn’t do before, it’s pretty cool,” she says.           

In addition to her work with patients at Crozer-Keystone, Crist has been actively involved with POTA as a COTA representative on the POTA state board for District V (which encompasses Philadelphia and several neighboring counties). Also, she has shared her professional expertise with the community as a volunteer for Rebuilding Together Philadelphia (RTP) – a local, independent affiliate of the national non-profit organization Rebuilding Together, Inc., which provides home repairs, modifications, and improvements for low-income homeowners.

As an RTP volunteer, Crist provided assessments to help Philadelphia homeowners make their homes safer; and she rallied other occupational therapists to join the cause.

In supporting Crist for the POTA award, Crozer-Keystone Rehab Manager Robert Byrnes, M.S., OTR, commented on her commitment to patient safety and individualized care.

 “Our patients, our nursing and physical therapy staff and of course the rest of her OT colleagues have nothing but praise for her both as a clinician and as a person,” Byrnes stated in a letter recommending Crist for the award. “I’ve had the experience of witnessing her clinical skills firsthand while visiting patients’ homes during Laura’s treatment time. Her ability to adapt her approach to the diverse personalities and needs of patients without deviating from the plan of care is a joy to observe.”

“Laura is an asset to the rehab team,” echoes Jane Hanahan, R.N., B.S.N., M.H.A., administrative director of Crozer-Keystone Home Health and Hospice. “She works diligently and skillfully to bring patients to their optimal level of function and help them become as independent as possible at home, which is ultimately where patients want to be.”

Crist says she is honored to win the award and to be recognized for a career she feels passionate about.

“I love what I do,” she says.

Crozer-Keystone Home Health and Hospice services the Crozer-Keystone Health System hospitals, physicians and community. Referrals can be made at (610) 638-1500. For more information, please call (610) 284-0700 or visit Home Health Services and Hospice Services.

 

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