For years, it has been the place to turn to for care and concern, expertise and education, a refuge where those who are out of options can come for help and healing – at no cost.
For Scotty Glanzman, the Sanders IMPACT Practice Center at MGH Institute of Health Professions gave him his life back.
“These are my angels, and this is the angel factory,” said Scotty Glanzman, who just finished up several months of rehabilitation at the Tabor/Connor Family Occupational Therapy Center for Learning, Participation and Rehabilitation within the Sanders IMPACT Practice Center. “I wondered if I’d ever be able to be this active again, but the work I’ve done here has made it possible.”
For Glanzman, the Tabor/Connor Family Occupational Therapy Center for Learning, Participation, and Rehabilitation (affectionately known as OT CLiPR) was the perfect follow up to his care at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital after a bout of West Nile Virus he contracted post-retirement. While 80% of individuals remain asymptomatic for the duration of their infection, 20% of patients will become seriously ill, experiencing long-lasting fatigue and weakness. Before coming to the IPC, there were many days where Glanzman couldn’t get out of bed. If he was able to muster the energy, he would often fall asleep early.
With these struggles still very much affecting his daily life even after his initial rehabilitation treatment, Glanzman happily accepted the opportunity to receive additional support. This past winter, he started coming to IPC and quickly saw improvements. In April, under the supervision of occupational therapist, Pauline Fiorello, he began working with Annika Chan, OTD ’22.
For Chan and the other supervised entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) students, offering individualized care to clients is a critical part of the IPC learning experience. She was looking forward to working with clients face-to-face at the IHP. After studying PT as an undergraduate at Boston University, Chan spoke to friends who had studied OT, and learned more about the work they were doing. The difference between PT and OT lead Chan to switch gears, as she realized OT clinicians have more of a role in personal, creative work to meet clients’ goals, as opposed to simply focusing on their bodily strength and movement. Her time at the IPC taught her to build rapport with clients and apply clinical reasoning in new ways.
Working with Scotty was a perfect fit.
Utilizing the Center’s kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom built for therapy sessions, Chan and Glanzman focused on energy conservation and body mechanic work. At first, everything exhausted Glanzman. It was discouraging, but he and Chan discussed ways to better balance his time and the energy he expended by integrating rest.
By working through exercises to better engage his core muscles, Glanzman was eventually able to return to some of his favorite hobbies: cooking and gardening. Grabbing a pot from a high cabinet can be challenging, but he was able to build strength to make it happen, while also adapting activities to reduce energy use. These workarounds allowed Glanzman to become more independent, which had a considerable impact on his mindset and energy levels.
What was most impactful for Glanzman is the way in which the students and faculty he worked with encouraged him to bring his whole person to each appointment.
“The work I’ve done here has been incredibly helpful for me, but what’s most helpful is the overall support I’ve received,” said Glanzman. “Just the fact that someone else thinks I can do these things gives me the confidence to go out and do them.”
Through it all, Chan acknowledges the impact that accountability had on Glanzman’s treatment. She notes that after clients get discharged from a facility they often go home and fall off their treatment and post-rehabilitation plans.
Glanzman agreed that it was this accountability that kept him on-track and motivated him to keep improving his wellbeing after “graduating” from the IPC program. While his sessions are over, Glanzman will apply what he learned at the Center into his everyday life. He looks forward to engaging in his community a bit more while finding new places to swim so that he can continue the PT and OT work on his own.
The care given to Glanzman is part of the estimated $1 million in pro bono services given annually to the community through the IMPACT Practice Center, a facility where those who have run out of insurance options can come for care. Under faculty supervision, multidisciplinary teams of students provide services to children and adults with chronic health issues. Over the years, the IPC has provided over 7,200 hours of free, professional care annually.
And it has trained scores of students like Chan, who calls this work “essential preparation” for her career after graduation.
“This experience really allowed me to see the impact occupational therapy work has on our clients, and the way it can change their lives,” Chan said. “Being able to enjoy hobbies, especially, improves clients’ wellbeing, both physically and emotionally, and contributes to their quality of life dramatically. Being involved in that work is meaningful and highlights the power of what we do.”
Dr. Regina Doherty, Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, shared a similar sentiment about the work done in the Tabor/Connor OT CLiPR.
“What our students, clinicians, and faculty do here has a lasting impact on the lives of the clients worked with as they rehabilitate, recover and resume important life roles,” said Doherty. “Our OT students learn from our clients exactly what meaningful participation and recovery is all about. Whether it is cooking a meal, planting an herb garden, or learning how to use an iPad to video chat with family, these activities are important, and the OT CLiPR is a special place where client centered care, healing, and valuable learning come together.”