The key to recovery

View information on our visitor policy. >>

Book an appointment online for COVID-19 testing at one of our Assessment Centres. >>


Our Stories

The key to recovery

Toronto, October 14, 2014

By Patricia Favre

Edward Rowntree uses the manipulation board
Edward Rowntree, a patient in General Internal Medicine, uses the manipulation board created by Engineering and the Occupational Therapy team. (Photo by Katie Cooper)

Unlocking a door, turning a handle and running a tap are three actions that many people take for granted, but for a patient receiving occupational therapy they can be challenging.

St. Michael’s Inner City Health Occupational Therapy team and Engineering partnered to develop a custom tool to improve recovery at the bedside. Known as a manipulation board, the tool allows patients to practice using everyday items such as door knobs, faucets and chain locks.

“For individuals such as stroke patients that have suffered a loss of motor skills, the board allows them to practice functional skills rather than just hand exercises,” said Leah Christie, an occupational therapist involved in the project. “Before we had the board, patients would use real doors and faucets on the unit, but that’s not always an option for our less mobile patients or for those in isolation.”

When occupational therapist assistants Kristin Broadhead and Tyrone Gordon started exploring options for purchasing a manipulation board, they were surprised by the cost. That’s when Engineering was engaged with the help of materials coordinator Jennifer Goss.

Darryn Cove, a carpenter in the Engineering Department, worked with Occupational Therapy to design a board based on a few options that were available on the market. The team was able to customize the board. For example, specific varnishes were used that are better from an infection control perspective.

Did you know...

October is Occupational Therapy Month. St. Michael’s employs 24 occupational therapists and three occupational therapist assistants?

With two highly customized boards that can be washed and shared, patients on 14CC will have greater access to diverse therapy and hopefully faster results.

“At a time when the hospital is emphasizing interprofessional care and breaking down silos, it’s great to be able to collaborate with a team we don’t usually work with,” said Jenna Egan, another occupational therapist involved in the project. “Engineering was a strong partner in this project, providing us with guidance and recommendations for the board.”

Cove was able to work with his colleagues to get everything he needed for the board. For example, the hospital’s locksmith provided the locks and the faucets came from plumbing.

“The Engineering Department affects patient care every day, but this was a unique opportunity to work with a clinical group,” said Cove. “For the first time, I got to see my work directly influence the patient experience.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

See More of Our Stories in 2014