Category: Uncategorized

Reducing Hospital Admission with OT

Thank you to our guest blogger Hailey Jungerman, Covell Care Intern and Colorado State University Senior.

Occupational therapists play an important part in keeping patients out of the hospital. They do so by encouraging safety in independence. One thing that I have heard repeatedly in shadowing OTR Dave of Covell Care is, “And we want you to be safe while doing so.” He is always referring to the daily activities of his clients and encouraging that they can do the things they want to, but making it more safe for the ability of the client.

In a journal about OT preventing readmissions, OTR Pamela Roberts and OTR Marla Robinson say that “19.4% will be readmitted within 30 days and 51.6% within 1 year” (254). This is important because it shows a need. We NEED to help in reducing this rate. They also state that OT has an important role in early identification of risk and early engagement in risk-reduction strategies (254). The earlier that patients start with OT after a hospital visit, the more likely that it will help in preventing readmission.

Roberts and Robinson state that OT can prevent hospital acquired conditions (HACs) and falls while in the hospital (255). Being in a hospital increases risk of fall due to unfamiliar environment and confusion. If a patient is to fall, then there is a fear of falling which can in turn lead to further disability from reduction in activity due to fear (Roberts and Robinson 255). This is why OT is so important in all settings of care. OT should be seeing patients that are high-risk for falls and hospital admission to prevent admission as well as in hospital settings and care immediately following a hospital visit to reduce readmission risk.

Another journal restates the importance of safety by asking “can the patient be discharged safely into her or his environment?” and if not that occupational therapists can look at 6 important interventions that can reduce readmission (Rogers et al.):
1) Provide recommendations and training for caregivers.
2) Determine whether patients can safely live independently, or require rehabilitation or nursing.
3) Address existing disabilities with assistive devices so patients can safely perform activities of daily living.
4) Perform home safety assessments before discharge to suggest modifications.
5) Asses cognition and the ability to physically manipulate things like medication containers, and provide training when necessary
6) Work with physical therapists to increase intensity of inpatient rehabilitation.

The only thing to be added is that therapists should work the whole care team to ensure safety and monitor success of therapy which may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, personal training, nursing, etc. Occupational therapy is necessary in assessing safety in activities of daily living. When safety is encouraged, the more independent a person can be and the less likely they will end up in the hospital.

Works Cited:

Roberts, Pamela S., and Marla R. Robinson. “Occupational Therapy’s Role in Preventing Acute Readmissions.” American Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. 68, no. 3, 2014, pp. 254–259., doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.683001.
Rogers, Andrew T., et al. “Higher Hospital Spending on Occupational Therapy Is Associated With Lower Readmission Rates.” Medical Care Research and Review, vol. 74, no. 6, 2 Sept. 2016, pp. 668–686., doi:10.1177/1077558716666981.

What is Functional Fitness

Thank you to our guest blogger Garrett Masterson, Colorado State University Student and Covell Care Intern.

Functional fitness is a type of fitness that prepares you and your body for everyday normal living. This includes such activities as walking up and down stairs, picking objects up from the ground, placing and removing food and kitchenware into cabinets/pantries/shelves/the fridge, sitting and standing from chairs, and many other daily activities. Functional fitness is exercising using motions that mimic our natural movements that we use everyday in our daily activities.

An example of a functional fitness exercise would be a squat, which simulates sitting and standing from a chair. These types of exercise will engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, as many daily activities require the use of multiple muscle groups working in concert to perform actions. Functional fitness exercises focus on balance, strength, cardio, and exercises that move your body through different planes of motion.

The benefits of functional fitness improve your overall quality of life. It will increase your stability and balance while increasing your strength. Stronger, more functional muscles will help to stabilize your joints. Creating a stronger body for performing normal daily activities can greatly reduce the risk of injury and falls. You will also find that performing everyday activities can be easier. Functional exercise training may be especially beneficial for older adults to improve balance, agility and muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls and hospitalizations.

Make sure to call us at Covell Care to see if this type of training is a good fit for you! (970) 204-4331


  1. Mayo Clinic (2016). Functional fitness training: Is it right for you?
  2. Leonard, Deja (2018). Functional Fitness Is The Workout You Never Knew Your Body Needed. Women’s Health.

Exercise: A tool to manage Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Thank you to Hailey Jungerman, CSU Student and Covell Care intern for her guest blog post!

Exercise can be a great way to manage symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease that can cause impairments in mental and physical functioning, and ultimately daily activities of life. There are many symptoms such as decreased flexibility and mobility, cognitive impairment, muscular spasticity, and depressive mood. Exercise can help in improving some of these, while managing most others. Though it is not a cure, exercise is a great way to improve quality of life by helping to manage the symptoms. In a meta-analysis of studies, it found improvements in cardio and muscular fitness through exercising. There was also indications of balance and walking improvements as well as consistent reductions in fatigue and depressive symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis patients {1}. Another study found that there could be enhancements in muscle strength, flexibility, stability, fatigue, quality of life and respiratory function {2}.

Multiple Sclerosis can lead many to being physically inactive which itself poses a threat of more complications, such as osteoporosis. In order to help manage symptoms and prevent other complications it is important to develop a personalized exercise plan. Beginning or continuing exercise with Multiple Sclerosis requires a medical clearance by a physician and the exercise program should be supervised. This is important as to not worsen any symptoms, and just for safety in general. The program should be focused on chief concerns of the patient and be closely monitored to ensure it is working.

Great news is that Covell Care offers physical therapy, group fitness classes and personal training that can assist in providing information and exercise programs personalized to you. If you are interested in pursuing these options, contact Covell Care at (970) 204-4331.

Works Cited:

{2} Halabchi, Farzin, et al. “Exercise Prescription for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis; Potential Benefits and Practical Recommendations.” BMC Neurology, vol. 17, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1186/s12883-017-0960-9.

{1} Motl, Robert W, et al. “Exercise in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.” The Lancet Neurology, vol. 16, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 848–856., doi:10.1016/s1474-4422(17)30281-8.

Opioid Crisis in Older Adults

Thank you to JaNae Gregg, UNC student and volunteer for her guest blog post!

Chronic pain is an awful burden that many people of a variety of ages have to suffer from. Unfortunately, the most common treatment for chronic pain is delivered in the form of an addictive substance, such as an opioid.  It has become more apparent that there is an opioid crisis happening in the United States; everyday more than 115 people die from an opioid overdose.

Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids end up misusing them, often times leading to an overdose. In some cases, patients who are being prescribed opioids don’t often know that mixing their medications can lead to overdose or that not following the prescribed instructions can lead to an overdose. The questions now are, how do help fix this crisis? And
what are other alternatives to treating chronic pain without the use of opioids?

Good Day Pharmacy has recognized the opioid crisis and is beginning to take major leaps into helping their patients become aware.  The pharmacy has begun training with their team members to start the “opioid management discussion.” A part of this discussion has to do with the use of Naloxone (don’t worry, I didn’t know what this was either).  Naloxone is a new medication designed to help reverse an overdose from occurring. The Good Day Pharmacy team is spreading the word about this incredible new medication and teaching their patients how to use it. Naloxone can be given in three different types of ways. The three ways include: pre-packaged nasal spray, auto injectable (pre-filled auto injection), and injectable (professional training required).  This new medication will help stop an overdose if it begins to occur, but that doesn’t mean that preventing overdoses from occurring shouldn’t be taken into consideration.

Prescription pain medication is heavy duty and not something to be taken lightly or without knowledge. It is always important to look into all options for chronic pain management before landing on opioids.  To help bring an end to the opioid crisis and dependency on pain medication I have provided a list of options for chronic pain management. This could be for anyone who would like to stop using opioids and try something different or for anyone who is just now seeking help for their chronic pain.  Of course these treatments may not work for everyone, but it is important to keep an open mind when seeking pain management.

  • Alternative treatments for chronic pain include:
  • Acupuncture
  • Marijuana
  • Exercise
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Supplements and vitamins
  • Therapy
  • Stress-reduction techniques (yoga, relaxation therapy, hypnosis, massage, biofeedback)


Staying Health at Work

Thank you to JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado student and Covell Care volunteer for this guest blog!

Staying healthy at work goes beyond hand washing and spraying lysol. Staying healthy at work requires a healthy mind and body. To achieve this it is important to watch what you put into your body and how you treat it throughout the work day. Research has actually identified 9 simple ways people can stay healthy in the work environment.

These 9 simple ways to stay healthy at work include:

  • Eat sensibly:While at work, it’s easy to resort to food that is quick, but is often unhealthy. Eating junk food or fast food can make people feel sluggish. Feeling sluggish can lead to feeling tired and often times contributing to illness. Eating healthy foods and having a filling breakfast can help prevent feeling sluggish and help the body stay healthy.
  • Drink plenty of water: Water. The main contributor to staying healthy. It is always important to drink between 6 to 8 glasses of water, especially at work. While busy working it is easy to forget drink enough water, but drinking water not only helps a person stay hydrated, which helps prevents ill effects, but it also prevents drowsiness.  
  • Restrict your caffeine intake: I know it can seem almost impossible to not pound the caffeine at work some days, but caffeine dehydrates people, which often times can contribute to feeling sluggish. Instead of drinking caffeine throughout the day try just having one cup of a caffeinated beverage (preferably coffee) in the morning.
  • Maintain good posture: Most work environments require sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen. This daily task can really take a toll on our backs and necks, especially if we don’t pay close attention to our posture. To help maintain good posture, practice desk exercises and stretches frequently.
  • Take frequent breaks: Not taking breaks at work can leave a person feeling mentally lethargic, which in the long run will reduce productivity and not save time. It can also reduce a person’s creativity. An actual break at work consists of taking a few minutes and getting away from the work environment. Take a few minutes away from your desk or take a short walk, this will get blood and oxygen flowing and help increase energy and make your brain feel recharged.  
  • Keeping a tidy workstation: Avoid having clutter at your workstation and also keep sanitizing wipes or an antibacterial spray to wipe down any surface at the beginning and end of everyday. This will help kill any viruses that may be spread by touching any surfaces that could have germs on them.
  • Practice good hygiene: Hand washing is always important, but isn’t easy to continuously do while at the office. Keeping hand sanitizer at your desk can help kill some of the germs you may come in contact with.  
  • Avoid contact with sick employees: As much as we wish that sick employees would stay home that does not always happen. Try your best to avoid any contact with an employee who is showing symptoms of illness. If you do come contact always try wash your hands right away or use hand sanitizer.
  • Learn to manage stress: Managing stress can be a difficult task, but stress can lead to exhaustion which can lower your bodies immune system. To help avoid or manage stress do activities which are enjoyable and always take time for yourself.