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From Occupational Therapists to Social Workers, This Is the Dream Team Tasked With Improving Patient Recovery


The role of an occupational therapist is multifaceted. Whether it’s assisting disabled patients with everyday skills or helping injured patients regain strength, occupational therapists are tasked with inspiring and improving the lives of people who are critically ill or injured. This daily proximity has made Sara Clements, an occupational therapist at Hahnemann University Hospital, even more attuned to making safe, sound decisions, which is why she opted for a Subaru Impreza Limited four-door. This peace of mind ensures that Clements can remain focused on her patients’ recovery — and spend less time worrying about her vehicle. 

What is your position at Hahnemann?

[I’m an] occupational therapist in the Medical ICU and Progressive Care Unit.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

During the acute phase of critical illness or injury, I assess patients ability to physically and cognitively participate in their activities of daily living (ex. dressing, grooming, toileting, bathing, and functional ambulation).

What exciting advancements have you observed during your career as an occupational therapist?

Rather than waiting for patients to receive therapy services after their stay in an ICU, we are now having patients participate in their self-care tasks even while they are receiving mechanical ventilation.

What’s the most challenging part of your job and how do you manage it?

Working with critically ill patients who may not have a great prognosis. I cope with it by incorporating a patient’s meaningful task into therapy. Even if it seems as simple as assisting a patient with washing their face or combing their hair, in that particular moment that’s what is going to make them feel less like a patient and more like them self.

Having a good sense of humor is another way I manage challenging moments. If I can put a smile on their face, or have them dance out their worries I’m able to leave their room knowing I’ve helped them overcome one small obstacle. It’s a nice change of pace to listen to your favorite music rather than a symphony of beeping machines.

What qualities would you say are essential to being an effective occupational therapist?

Empathy, patience, and communication.

As an occupational therapist, do you work independently or with a team?

I work extremely close with physical therapists, speech therapists, nurses, physicians, social workers and most importantly patients’ families in order to facilitate patient-centered care.

Can you tell me how that affects your care style?

It allows for ease of reporting a patient’s progress, goals, and plan of care. I often co-treat with physical therapy, so challenging the patient to achieve multiple goals within one time frame is exciting and rewarding.

What model Subaru do you drive?

[I drive a] Subaru Impreza Limited four-door.

Did your current role play a factor in you deciding to purchase a Subaru?

Yes, after seeing the injuries from serious car accidents and the long road to recovery I wanted to be sure I was driving a highly rated safe vehicle. I wanted a car that was safe, sporty, gas efficient and good in all types of weather.

For more information about finding the right ride for you, visit Subaru, here.