OccupationalTherapy.com Phone: 866-782-9924


How Do Rehab Engineers Complement Therapy Services?

Theresa Berner, MOT, OTR/L, ATP, Dennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L

January 15, 2023

Share:

Question

How do rehab engineers complement therapy services?

Answer

A rehab engineer can have a mechanical, biomedical, or electrical engineering degree. They can have any engineering undergrad degree and get advanced training in the rehabilitation field. They learn how to apply technology to a person's needs and are often very good with the technological piece. Therapists who work in AT usually have a natural inclination to want to tinker. What I have learned is there is an area where therapists tend to level off due to a knowledge gap about technology. I have seen this in the past five to six years because of the complexity of technology. We advocated for a rehab engineer to come to the clinic with us as a "value-added" service, so we do not bill the client. The rehab engineer supports the clinicians and allows us to prioritize our time and ensure that the equipment is serving at its highest level.

Our rehab engineer is Liz. How I look at it is that she has enough clinical knowledge to understand the person, but she has more mechanical expertise and the time to program, upload, integrate, and set up the devices. OT or PT's time is utilized for the interface of the patient with the equipment, and therapists love that. They do not want to spend their time programming or setting up equipment. They want to interact with that person. The engineer can then stick around and see how the equipment and their work are utilized. It has been a great partnership, and I hope to see more rehab engineers in clinics. They are in the VA and academia, but you do not see them as much in clinical settings.

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Using Assistive Technology To Increase Participation In Daily Life Podcast, presented by Theresa Berner, MOT, OTR/L, ATP and Dennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L.


theresa berner

Theresa Berner, MOT, OTR/L, ATP

Theresa Berner, MOT, OTR/L, ATP is an occupational therapist and Rehabilitation Clinical Manager at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She has more than 29 years of experience in seating and positioning and Adult Neuro Rehabilitation. Theresa has been certified by RESNA as an assistive technology professional (ATP). She is responsible for the Assistive Technology Center and the Adaptive Sports Institute. She is also a clinical instructor at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Ohio State and oversees the OT Neurologic Fellowship Program. Theresa is a Clinician Task Force member and was recently appointed to the United Spinal Board of Directors. Theresa has participated in presentations across the country at many national and international conferences. Theresa received the 2016 Academy of Spinal Cord Injury TLC Distinguished Clinical Award and the 2017 OSU Medical Center Values in Action Award. She received the 2022 RESNA Samuel McFarland Memorial Mentor Award.


dennis cleary

Dennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L

Dr. Dennis Cleary has over 25 years of experience as an occupational therapist.  Dennis’ clinical practice has been primarily with children and adults with intellectual disabilities to encourage their full participation in all aspects of life at home, work, and in the community. He has had faculty positions at The Ohio State University and Indiana University. As a researcher, he has been on teams that have received over seven million dollars in grants from state and federal agencies, including a National Institutes of Health multisite trial of the Vocational Fit Assessment, an age-appropriate transition assessment, which he co-created. He has numerous publications and national and international presentations. Dennis is passionate about increasing the role of Occupational Therapy in transition-age service with the goal of improving outcomes and quality of life for all. 

 


Related Courses

Using Assistive Technology To Increase Participation In Daily Life Podcast
Presented by Theresa Berner, MOT, OTR/L, ATP, Dennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Audio

Presenters

Theresa Berner, MOT, OTR/L, ATPDennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Course: #5804Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Lots of information'   Read Reviews
Technology has changed greatly in the last 20 years, and more assistive technology is available than ever. This podcast will explore how an occupational therapy practitioner evaluates what technology might work best to increase participation in all aspects of daily life, with a special focus on sports and leisure participation. This is part of the Continued Learning Podcast series.

Fall Prevention and Social Determinants of Health, Implications for Practice Podcast
Presented by Lisa Juckett, PhD, OTR/L, CHT, Dennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Audio

Presenters

Lisa Juckett, PhD, OTR/L, CHTDennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Course: #5557Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Good information, very helpful'   Read Reviews
Social determinants of health and their impact on falls among older adults will be discussed in this course. Case illustrations from the home- and community-based service setting will be provided. This course is part of the Continued Learning Podcast series.

Integrating Extended Reality (XR) With OT Practice Podcast
Presented by Robert Ferguson, MHS, OTR/L, Dennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Audio

Presenters

Robert Ferguson, MHS, OTR/LDennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Course: #5596Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Visuals and explanation of the various devices that are available for use in Therapy!'   Read Reviews
Extended reality (XR) technologies and platforms and their support of ADLs and rehabilitation goals will be discussed in this course along with the facilitators and barriers of this treatment. This is part of the Continued Learning Podcast series.

Understanding The Evidence For Therapeutic Extended Reality (XR) Podcast
Presented by Robert Ferguson, MHS, OTR/L, Dennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Audio

Presenters

Robert Ferguson, MHS, OTR/LDennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Course: #5597Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Great presentation on new concepts and applications for OT treatments'   Read Reviews
Evidence-based treatment strategies and techniques to provide an engaging, motivating, task-oriented, and salient experience providing the requisite use, repetition, and intensity of training for skill acquisition via extended reality (XR) will be discussed in this course. This is part of the Continued Learning Podcast series.

Occupational Therapy's Role In Opioid Recovery Podcast
Presented by Monica Robinson, OTD, MS, OT/L, BCMH, FAOTA, Dennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Audio

Presenters

Monica Robinson, OTD, MS, OT/L, BCMH, FAOTADennis Cleary, MS, OTD, OTR/L
Course: #5671Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'The speaker, Monica Robinson, was exceptional'   Read Reviews
Opioid-use disorder is a national population health crisis affecting those of all ages. Understanding the demographic, socioeconomic, psychosocial, and substance use characteristics of different groups of opioid users allows OT practitioners to tailor interventions. OT practitioners can provide interventions across the life span supporting a return to meaningful occupations, roles, and routines. This is part of the Continued Learning Podcast series.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.