Congratulations to the first two recipients of the ENspire grant program! Inaugural projects receiving ENspire funds include “Focused Occupational Therapy Interventions for Clients with Heart Failure in Skilled Nursing Facilities” and “Translating Evidence Based Mental Health interventions in a Skilled Nursing Facility Environment.”

ENspire is a seed money grant program designed to support therapy graduate students who want to elevate evidence-based therapy practice in post-acute rehabilitation and dignify long term care in the eyes of the world. More information and an application form can be found on the ENspire page.


Focused Occupational Therapy Interventions for Clients with Heart Failure in Skilled Nursing Facilities
The ultimate goal of the SNF is to help clients stabilize their medical conditions and attain their therapy goals so that they can return home (Orr, Boxer, Dolansky, Allen, & Forman, 2016). However, approximately 27% of heart failure (HF) clients are readmitted to the hospital after being discharged from the SNF (Allen et al., 2011). High readmission rates may be due to the cognitive, psychosocial, and lifestyle barriers HF clients face. However, interventions in the SNF tend to be emphasized on activities of daily living (ADLs) and therapeutic exercise (Rafeedie, Metzler, & Lamb, 2018). This project aims to create and implement a clinical pathway for occupational therapists (OT) within SNFs, in order to address patient barriers and improve the quality of care. To create the clinical pathway, needs assessments in the form of interviews and Likert surveys will be conducted at Ensign SNFs. The project team will create a clinical pathway addressing the identified gaps in OT practice with evidence-based research. The project team will present the clinical pathway to Ensign OTs in northern California. A survey will collect feedback from the OTs on strengths of the pathways, areas to improve, gaps to be addressed, areas of concern, and the likeliness that the pathway could be used effectively in a SNF. In addition, online modules and surveys will be created for Ensign OTs who cannot be at the presentation. The project team will incorporate the feedback into the clinical pathway and present the finished product to Ensign Facility Services.

Principal Contact: Elena Vaccaro
Study Collaborators: In Hwa Chae and Camille Schilling

Translating Evidence Based Mental Health interventions in a Skilled Nursing Facility Environment
The purpose of this project is to develop and implement a workshop and toolkit to enhance occupational therapists’ (OTs) skills in providing evidence based mental health interventions in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). Based on the literature physical and social environmental factors are barriers limiting residents in achieving their highest occupational performance. Within a SNF, OTs are currently not practicing mental health interventions rather they are focusing on therapeutic exercise and therapeutic activities. OTs are expressing concerns in their scope of practice regarding being client-centered in a SNF due to the inability to engage residents in preferred occupations. Within the scope of practice, OTs are trained in mental health interventions and are skilled in analyzing environment and contextual factors that impact occupational performance. OTs are in a strong position to implement mental health interventions into a SNF. Due to the gap in service delivery, a workshop and a clinical toolkit will translate evidencebased mental health interventions for residents with a serious mental illness (SMI) in a SNF. This will equip OTs in the SNF to better serve the needs of residents with a SMI. The OTs participating in the workshop and receiving the toolkit are working in an Ensign affiliated SNF within the United States. The outcome measures of the project will come from surveys.

Principal Contact: Cecelia Ly-Peh
Study Collaborators: Jan Martha Conducto and Natalie Barrales