We caught up with Meg Brushwood, who has been an occupational therapist (OT) for fifteen years and who is the Legacy Rehab Director as well as the occupational therapist onsite at Ralston Creek Neighborhood in Arvada, Colorado.
How does therapy work at Ralston Creek Neighborhood?
Legacy is our in-house physical, occupational, and speech therapy group and offers group and individual therapy.
On Mondays, Ralston Creek Neighborhood offers two exercise classes, one in memory care and for our Alzheimer’s and nursing home seniors as well as a second class for our assisted living community. These classes are 30 minutes and include portions of exercise and stretching, for the upper body, lower body, and also a time for working on thinking. Not only does this help senior physical and mental health, but it also allows for an informal screening each week to see if adults in the community might need therapy preemptively to prevent injuries.
Meg also teaches a 30 min health talk class once a month, to teach residents about various health topics, such as how to pick things up without hurting your back.
Seniors don’t need to attend the weekly exercise groups in order to receive a screening. The nursing staff can refer someone to therapy that they feel might benefit, or the family can stop by Meg’s office at Ralston Creek Neighborhood to ask for more information and to set up an appointment. There is also more information outside the office.
Once a resident is recognized to be in any need of additional therapy, the therapists will ask the nursing staff to fill out an information sheet, and then inquire if insurance will cover the cost of therapy, and if so, then the next step is for the individual to get a request from their doctor in order to receive services. Legacy Healthcare is an outpatient provider, and any therapy is billed to insurance as an outpatient procedure as opposed to home health. They take all health insurance, except for two insurance systems that require individuals to use the therapists in their own individual network versus utilizing the on-site therapists. Private pay is also an option.
Once everything is approved, the therapists conduct a thorough assessment of the senior on all three types of therapy to see what is needed and what the therapy schedule should be. For example, if someone is only referred for physical therapy, but then upon assessment, they find that the individual also needs occupational therapy and/or speech therapy, then the therapist will give their recommendations and the same formal process will be followed so that these therapies can also be added to the resident’s schedule.
Therapists such as Meg work with patients as they recover and can go with the resident to their home, give them assistance in getting to and from the bedroom, the gym, the dining room, and even accompany them on community outings in Denver. Therapists work on any goal area that the senior wants help with (whether it be to go to the grocery store in Arvada, to walk to the bathroom unaccompanied, etc.).
Meg and other therapists also work alongside maintenance at Ralston Creek Neighborhood to make adaptations if necessary to the senior apartments and get any appropriate equipment needed.
The fitness center has dedicated space for all Ralston Creek Neighborhood therapy, which includes two seated bicycles, a recumbent elliptical (FreeStep), as well as a mat, weights, and resistance bands.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is advised when a person needs to holistically look at ways to improve quality of life. This can mean altering the daily activities of the environment of a person in assisted living. For example, a senior might have a desire to improve their fine motor skills, so an occupational therapist will help with exercises that make brushing teeth or cutting food with a fork and a knife more manageable. When there are mental health challenges, OT might recommend positive coping strategies that help with day-to-day living.
Physical Therapy (PT) is prescribed when a patient has an injury or starts to experience pain where they used to not experience pain. PT focuses on improving gross motor skills, restoring movement, and reducing pain. Gross motor skills can include walking, biking, and climbing stairs. These kinds of daily movements include getting in and out of bed, sitting up and down on the toilet, etc. The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to prevent future injuries as well.
A speech therapist comes to Ralston Creek Neighborhood about three days a week. The goal of Speech Therapy is to improve an individual’s ability to communicate and/or swallow. Speech Therapy can be advised to help maintain or improve communication or swallowing ability, or to regain what has been lost due to a diagnosis. Speech Therapists can work on cognition as well.
All forms of therapy collaborate alongside the seniors and also their families on their individualized goals that are based on each person’s unique circumstances and the goal is to improve the individual’s quality of life. Therapists like Meg work to make each individual as independent as possible in senior living.
Reach out to us at Ralston Creek Neighborhood for more information or to schedule a tour (720) 927 – 8789