State House Honors 100 Years of Occupational Therapy

by Mary Harwood on May 12, 2017


Pictured, Left to Right: Patricia Crocker, OTR/L; Ela Dupont, OTR/L; Todd Patterson, OTR/L; Chittenden County Rep. Trevor Squirrell; Karen Downey, OTR/L; Chittenden County Rep. Mary Sullivan; Chittenden County Rep. Carol Ode; Windham County Rep. David Deen; Chittenden County Rep. Jean O’Sullivan; Barbara Winters, COTA/L; and Chittenden County Rep. Jim McCullough.

The Vermont State House of Representatives honored 100 years of Occupational Therapy with a resolution recently. A group of Vermont Occupational Therapists representing a range of healthcare services – from in patient facility to schools and the VNAs of Vermont –accepted the resolution.

Ela Dupont, OTR/L, Rehab Manager, Franklin County Home Health Agency, was part of the team. “We wanted to have a group of us representing the range of care that we provide, from in home care to facility based care and to the care we provide to children both in school and at home,” she said. “I was honored to represent the VNAs of Vermont.”

From humble beginnings in Clifton Springs, NY, on March 15, 1917, when six founding members organized, the profession of occupational therapy has evolved into a science-driven, evidence-based profession whose goal is to help clients live to their maximum potential through a focus on the mind-body connection and purposeful activity.

Since its founding, The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has worked to create a global understanding of the profession through public education and by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations, and serving as an advocate to improve health care. The AOTA, with more than 60,000 members nationwide, is celebrating their 100th anniversary throughout 2017.

“In the past 100 years, occupational therapy practitioners have helped countless children of all abilities access education, facilitated relearning of life skills lost as a result of illness or injury,  supported persons with mental illness as they transitioned from institutions to communities, and have helped older adults age in place,” said AOTA President Amy J. Lamb. “As we embark on our next 100 years, occupational therapy will continue to bring meaning to the everyday lives of people through the use of meaningful, necessary and familiar occupations that they want and need to do.”

Occupational therapy practitioners focus on helping clients to perform everyday activities to their highest potential. Some examples: Teaching Wounded Warriors how to hold their children again after limb loss; helping babies in the NICU learn to feed, breathe, and swallow so they can thrive; providing recommendations for assistive technology in the vehicle or home so that older adults can age in place safely; and helping stroke survivors relearn how to bathe, groom, dress, and cook for themselves, among other occupations. An independent study recently found that occupational therapy is the only therapy that reduces hospital readmissions.

Today, more than 213,000 occupational therapy practitioners nationwide help people of all ages participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).

For more information about Occupational Therapy and Franklin County Home Health Agency, contact Ela Dupont, (802) 527-7531.

Franklin County Home Health Agency is a member of the VNAs of Vermont, your non-profit home health and hospice agencies.

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