What does a career with VNSNY offer a rehabilitation therapist?
- The ability to treat and assess patients in their own environment.
- An interdisciplinary approach to help restore patients’ overall function and improve outcomes allowing patients to reenter the community with the knowledge and strength to live happy, healthy, and rewarding lives.
- Ongoing professional development within a caring and supportive team.
- Utilization of the most-up-to-date technologies and best-practice protocols with hands-on care to help patients recover and regain independence to the fullest level possible.
- Opportunity for impacting the lives of a diverse patient population within a mission-driven organization.
“New Yorkers can be a bit tough on the outside, but they recognize genuine care and concern, as evidenced by their willingness to open their doors to each one of us. They open their doors to our speech-language pathologists, who help New Yorkers regain their ability to communicate, speak and swallow. They open their doors to our occupational therapists, who help New Yorkers regain the ability to perform their activities of daily living. And they open their doors to us physical therapists, who help New Yorkers regain their mobility."
—VNSNY Physical Therapist
- Speech-Language Pathologist
- Physical Therapist
- Senior Occupational Therapist
Prior to joining VNSNY, I served as a speech-language pathologist in the pediatric brain injury program at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey. I was part of the comprehensive rehabilitation team in the intensive day program. I also saw children in the outpatient setting in a different location two days a week.
I was drawn to VNSNY’s home care model because I always believed that I could help my patients achieve their goals more successfully if the work was done in their own homes. People do not realize how much of an impact we have with patients in their home setting versus an outpatient setting. I wish there was greater understanding among the public that we are on the front lines of health care. It is there that we see the reality of a true health crisis - not briefly like you would in an office setting, but rather the whole picture, from the barriers to progress to the importance of a strong support system at home helping many patients improve faster.
Since joining VNSNY, I have learned that the majority of home care patients are very appreciative to be receiving care at home and are often more motivated to achieve their functional goals. As part of an interdisciplinary team, I work closely with an occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker, and a home care nurse to provide the most comprehensive rehabilitation services in the home setting. This interdisciplinary model is effective in ensuring all needs of a patient are met, leading to a quicker recovery. It also demonstrates how a comprehensive medical team approach in the home setting is modeling the future of health care and the pivotal role that speech-language pathologists play on the team.
I am one of the 75 physical therapists at VNSNY specially trained to work with hospice patients. Rather than focusing on functional recovery, the hospice PT generally strives to keep the patient safe and comfortable while improving his or her quality of life as much as possible, working in concert with the patient’s hospice physician, nurse and other hospice caregivers.
The most important thing is to respect the hospice patient’s wishes, and support them in whatever goals they want to achieve. This might include being able to sit and share a meal with their loved ones, or simply finding a pain-free position in bed. Even though most hospice patients realize they’re approaching the end of life, they still want to have the best life possible. If a patient in my region is under VNSNY hospice care and the hospice team determines that physical therapy could be helpful, I will visit that patient several times a week. I also spend time giving support and training to the hospice patient’s family caregivers. If the patient is bedridden, I train caregivers on positioning, making sure the patient is comfortable and explaining how often they should be turned. When a patient wishes to move from bed to a reclining chair or wheelchair, I’ll teach the caregiver how to make the transfer—including how to use a mechanical lift, if necessary. In the process, I form close bonds with my patients and their families, which is one reason why I enjoy what I do. It’s not enough just to be skilled at doing therapy. To be effective, you have to be able to connect emotionally. I can almost always improve a hospice patient’s physical condition in some fashion and most of the time, I’m able to help them achieve their goals. There’s no question that the therapy is helping my hospice patients live better lives.
As a Senior Occupational Therapist, I have oversight for services performed by a team of VNSNY OTs including adherence to core clinical competencies. Prior to joining VNSNY, I was a rehabilitation clinical specialist for a 30-bed inpatient neurology unit at an extended care and rehabilitation facility.
I saw a move to VNSNY as an opportunity to become embedded in the NYC healthcare system. While I was not sure what to expect, I really found a “home” in home care. There are many facets to my role that I truly value including working with my patients in the natural environment of their homes, making annual clinical co-visits with all of our OTs and providing consultation on clinically complex cases. I also mentor new graduates in their transition from academic preparation to employment with VNSNY. Our mentorship program helps VNSNY to achieve two goals – to ensure the clinical preparedness of our new graduate clinicians and to help VNSNY connect with new graduates and fresh talent in the field.
There have been many memorable experiences since starting with VNSNY but one of the most meaningful occurred while I was making a patient visit in Chinatown along with a new graduate. It was a very hot day and few apartments had air conditioning. My patient spoke only Cantonese and my colleague also spoke Cantonese. I do not speak Cantonese beyond a few basic greetings. This patient, somewhat abruptly, got up from the kitchen table where we had begun our treatment session. I was confused and asked my colleague what she was doing but my colleague was not sure either. Our patient returned to the table carrying a container full of ice cold cut-up melon and a few toothpicks for us. I was really touched by her generosity. We had come to help this woman, but she saw that we were tired and hot and offered us what little comfort she had.
Our VNSNY clinicians are a reflection of the communities they serve. We are an extremely diverse and a highly skilled workforce. I work on a team with clinicians from the Philippines, the Caribbean, and the Indian subcontinent. Several of us speak at least two languages, and routinely provide our services in another language. I work with nurses who trained at the most renowned rehab hospitals in the world and PTs who are board-certified specialists in their practice areas and who have worked in the U.S. and abroad. We have Speech-Language Pathologists who have specialty certification in highly technical swallow diagnostic testing. Many of my OT colleagues are certified in treatment approaches for persons with a variety of neurological diagnoses. It’s a very rich experience working for VNSNY.