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Analyzing PTSD and Building a Network of Resources to Alleviate Psychological Trauma in NICU Families

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Posttraumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event, and it can cause affected individuals to relive the associated event through flashbacks or nightmares. This project centers around the prevalence of PTSD in

Posttraumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event, and it can cause affected individuals to relive the associated event through flashbacks or nightmares. This project centers around the prevalence of PTSD in parents of infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. Past research has shown that these parents are at increased risk of developing traumatic stress symptoms, with affliction rates as high as 53% in mothers and 33% in fathers (Hua et al., 2018). With this statistic as a catalyst, the present text has a variety of aims, all hinging on the goal of easing the NICU journey for parents. This thesis explores the different types of therapy used in the treatment of traumatic stress, with a focus on trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) as these were shown to be the most effective in past research. A compilation of resources was also gathered that can now be distributed to NICU parents, including information on PTSD, how to access a therapist, and other helpful articles. An additional component of this project included the administration of a survey to NICU parents to gain a better understanding of their stress levels, what resources were most helpful to them, what barriers limited their ability to seek help, and their thoughts on a text-messaging resource service. Institutional IRB approval was received for this survey. The survey indicated that parents were very stressed when admitted to the NICU, but their stress levels tend to decrease over time. Parents also faced a variety of barriers, with the need to return to work or maintain a busy schedule being the most pervasive. Additionally, an analysis was completed on federal legislation relating to healthcare and the NICU experience. Furthermore, special considerations for limited English proficient (LEP) families were also considered. The paper concludes with steps that should be taken, in both research and action, to improve on the NICU experience for at-risk parents. The implementation of a text-messaging resource service for NICU parents was desired by survey respondents and is a recommended next step. Changes in policy surrounding insurance reform and longer, paid family leave would also be beneficial. Training of NICU staff on how to provide resources and communicate sensitively and effectively with parents is also crucial if the current situation is to be improved. There are definitive steps that should be taken immediately to ease the journey and provide comfort for NICU parents.

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2020-05

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Ultrasound Imaging of Swallowing Subsequent to Feeding and Myofunctional Intervention

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The purpose of this study was to examine swallowing patterns using ultrasound technology subsequent to the implementation of two therapeutic interventions. Baseline swallow patterns were compared to swallows after implementation of therapeutic interventions common in both feeding therapy (FT) and

The purpose of this study was to examine swallowing patterns using ultrasound technology subsequent to the implementation of two therapeutic interventions. Baseline swallow patterns were compared to swallows after implementation of therapeutic interventions common in both feeding therapy (FT) and orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT). The interventions consist of stimulation of the tongue by z-vibe and tongue pops. Changes in swallowing patterns are described, and similarities of interventions across the two professions are discussed. Ultrasound research in the realm of swallowing is sparse despite having potential clinical application in both professions. In using ultrasound, this study outlines a protocol for utilization of a hand-held probe and reinforces a particular protocol described in the literature. Real-time ultrasound recordings of swallows for 19 adult female subjects were made. Participants with orofacial myofunctional disorder are compared to a group with typical swallowing and differences in swallowing patterns are described. Three stages of the oral phase of the swallow were assigned based on ultrasonic observation of the tongue shape. Analysis involves total duration of the swallow, duration of the three stages in relation to the total duration of the swallow, and the number of swallows required for the bolus to be cleared from the oral cavity. No significant effects of either intervention were found. Swallowing patterns showed a general trend to become faster in total duration subsequent to each intervention. An unexpected finding showed significant changes in the relationship between the bolus preparation stage and the bolus transportation stage when comparing the group classified as having a single swallow and the group classified as having multiple swallows.

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Date Created
2016-05

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In Andy's Shoes: A Children's Book and Manual on the Expression of Autism Spectrum Disorder

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The purpose of this project was to research the expression of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children and create a children’s book that can help the peers of individuals with a diagnosis to understand what the disorder entails and potentially gain

The purpose of this project was to research the expression of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children and create a children’s book that can help the peers of individuals with a diagnosis to understand what the disorder entails and potentially gain a new sense of empathy for peers of all levels of physical and mental abilities. The research component includes interviews with individuals deemed knowledgeable about ASD, including occupational therapists, behavioral analysts, and parents, as well as a literature review of research studies on the expression of Autism in children. This written portion of the project may also serve as a manual for individuals who have little to no knowledge of ASD, as it dives deeper into the content of the book and research, while remaining easily understandable and clear to those without any prior knowledge or experience with ASD. It could prove especially useful for those in professions that come into contact with individuals with Autism, but do not necessarily require psychology courses or training as a prerequisite for the role, such as teachers and some health professionals.

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Date Created
2021-05

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The Transition to Telehealth in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Description

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals including occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) were required to transition to working utilizing an online-service delivery model called telehealth. The use of telehealth for occupational therapy (OT) sessions was limited prior to the pandemic,

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals including occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) were required to transition to working utilizing an online-service delivery model called telehealth. The use of telehealth for occupational therapy (OT) sessions was limited prior to the pandemic, and this shift required OTPs to provide services in ways many had never experienced. The purpose of this study was to identify how the transition to telehealth impacted OTPs and their ability to provide proper care to the pediatric population via telehealth. The final analytic sample included 32 female OTPs who worked with the pediatric population. Results from qualitative and quantitative analyses showed that OTPs had positive feelings toward using telehealth and that the telehealth modality had a moderate impact on their job performance. The areas that pediatric OTPs want to be addressed included technology and internet issues, lack of parent involvement, decreased quality of care, inaccessibility of materials, decreased attention span and increased distractions, and lack of general knowledge about telehealth among clients, parents, and professionals. Despite these drawbacks, a positive theme emerged that the telehealth model is good for current circumstances. The results show telehealth is a positive experience for OTPs and allows OT to be more accessible to their clients. Implications for increasing education for healthcare professionals, clients, and parents/guardians to make telehealth accessible to clients on a large scale are discussed.

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2021-05