From the desk of Rebecca Fortelka, Guest Editor and AXIS Board Member.
Elise Francis is a recent graduate of Loma Linda University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. She is a person who loves life and is dedicated to helping her patients thrive and get back to being as independent as possible!
AXIS: Could you please explain what it means to be a traveling occupational therapist?
Elise: As a traveling OT, I work at various facilities throughout the US for 13 weeks at a time. So for example, I would likely work at 4 different facilities within 1 year. I work with patients on various goals to increase their independence after a medical issue or accident.
What is your favorite type of exercise to do with your patients?
I like to engage patients in exercises that help them progress towards their goals. So for example, I once had a patient who wanted to return to the occupation of gardening, which requires bending, squatting, and good balance. So one of her exercises was to bend or squat to pick up bean bags from the floor and place them on a table top and vice versa to simulate gardening.
How important is doing moving activities like dance and yoga for those of us with disabilities?
Very! It is good for one's physical and mental health to stay active and participate in enjoyable activities.
What has excited you most about becoming a traveling OT?
Being able to explore different facilities and locations, meeting new people, learning new things, and of course helping a variety of people get back to the occupations that they love!