This poster details my capstone project that I completed as a degree requirement for my Doctorate of Occupational Therapy through Belmont University. For this project I partnered with Tennessee State University’s Tiger Community Rehab Clinic. This is a student-run, pro-bono clinic that strives to provide free OT and PT services to those with limited healthcare access. After an initial audit of the clinic, I determined the clinic needed help in developing the OT portion of the clinic as well as help to grow the foundation of the clinic through community and financial partners. You can see my specific goals here.
OT advocacy was the base of a lot of my projects. Three of the biggest deficits I noticed pertaining to the OT portion were the lack of clinical instructors (or CI’s), the lack of clients, and the lack of OT resources within the clinic. When a patient comes to the clinic, they are treated by the students who are overseen by licensed clinicians—so if there are no CI’s then no patients can be seen. I created a survey to collect information on the CI’s perceived experience volunteering at the clinic to investigate problem areas of why someone might have trouble volunteering or might have stopped. This graphic represents the CI’s who volunteered during the semester and those who responded to the survey. In this survey I also included a section where they could recommend materials, interventions, or resources that they felt were missing from the clinic. Along with my personal inventory of the OT resources available in the clinic, I used this information to create a wish-list and then procured those materials to fill in some of the gaps.
When I dove in deeper to the issue of lack of clients, I realized that the root of the problem was lack of education on the scope of OT—both in the students recruiting and scheduling patients as well as the patients themselves. I created a summary sheet and booklet that outlined ‘pre-approved diagnoses” so to speak, that gave the students scheduling patients an idea of what OT could see in a community, outpatient setting so if they saw those in the descriptions of why a client was seeking services, they could recommend an OT appointment. I also created a website for the clinic that helped explain to potential clients what OT is and how the profession can help them. This would hopefully allow clients take initiative and seek out OT services if they felt anything listed was relevant to their situation.
This website was a great additional attribute to the clinic in general. It gives the clinic an interactive web-presence where possible patients, volunteers, and/or donors could seek information other than calling or sending an email. The website includes features such as detailed information about the clinic, a donor portal, a request appointment portal, and also has links to the clinic’s paperless intake paperwork. I created these virtual forms because the clients were taking as significant portion of their appointment time to fill out all this paperwork, which then either disrupted the schedule for the rest of the day or took away from the patients’ treatment time. When creating the forms I simplified the forms and got rid of unnecessary or repeated information to streamline the intake process for the clients.
On top of this, the clinic had recently switched over to an EMR and I noticed not all the information was getting transferred correctly over to the patient’s chart in the EMR. This created confusion and thus elongated appointment times because the students treating the clients during their follow-up appointment didn’t have all the information. In order to help with this, I also performed an audit of all 124 unique clients and ensured all information in their paper charts were transferred correctly to their EMR chart. In order to make sure no one would have to do this again, I linked the virtual intake forms to the clinic’s dropbox to make the transfer of the intake paperwork PDF’s to the EMR seamless.
In my opinion, one of the most intensive projects I worked on was finding and applying for a grant that would be able to fund OT and PT clinical faculty. This would allow the clinic to be open on more days than just Fridays during the academic year and would be a more reliable base of CI’s which would result in more comfort actively recruiting patients without the fear that no one would be there to receive them when they come to their appointment.
This was an amazing project to work on that taught me so much and gave insight to possible career paths I might take. I would not have been able to do any of this project without the support and encouragement of my supervisors or my collaborative team of peers. So thank you to them.
Carleen Johnson, OTD, OTR/L
Occupational Therapy, School of
Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Occupational Therapy; Community Clinic; Clinic Development; Social Determinants of Health; Limited Healthcare Access
Versace, Nicole, "Occupational Therapy Service and Clinic Development within Student-Run, Pro-Bono Outpatient Rehab Clinic" (2021). OTD Capstone Projects. 83.