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Getting to Know our Rehabilitation Assistants

September 13, 2019

You may see individuals at the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) wearing burgundy scrub tops and wonder, are they Occupational Therapists (OT), Physiotherapists (PT), Speech Language Pathologists or Rehabilitation Assistants (RA)? These are four different disciplines, with complimentary roles, who work together to provide comprehensive rehabilitation and therapy across the Alliance. Let's take a closer look at the role of RAs at HPHA!

RAs follow therapy treatment plans for patients as outlined by PTs and OTs. They work with patients to complete exercises, ambulation, and gait training and thereby improve/develop cognitive and physical skills. They also provide training for walkers, crutches, and more, to help patients recover as quickly as possible. Strong communication is needed to relay observations about patients to both the therapy and extended interdisciplinary teams. In addition, they undertake some clerical duties including monthly safety inspections, equipment maintenance, monitoring inventory and scheduling appointments.

The role of an RA can be likened to the following - an advocate, a confidante, a cheerleader, and when needed, a drill sergeant! They make a difference in patients' lives and are a big part of the recovery process from admission to discharge.

RAs work in many areas of the hospital and can have upwards of 35 patients on their list in a day, which can make it difficult to adjust patient visit time and return later (as much as they would like to). RAs must employ a high degree of organization and strategy to keep therapy running as smoothly as possible.

We asked some of our RAs to tell us what the most rewarding part of their job is:

“The patients. Getting to watch them on their first day and work with them until their last day, when they have reached their goals and get to go home, makes it all worth it.” – Cassandra Dale, Clinton Public Hospital

“The most rewarding part of this job is seeing the recovery of our patients and helping them to return to their previous functional level. I love meeting so many people from all walks of life!” - Tammy McLean, Stratford General Hospital

“When patients succeed in their individual goals for rehab.” – Jackie Piper, Stratford General Hospital

“Watching patients progress, seeing patients reach/surpass goals, helping to make a difference in somebody's life. Knowing a patient is genuinely appreciative of the work you do and knowing that your helping a therapist and they are grateful for the support.” - Courtney Robblee, Stratford General Hospital

Arden Longeway, RA leads a group activity in St. Marys

Some of the RAs at HPHA! Front row L to R: Jackie Piper & Courtney Robblee, Back Row L to R: Wendy Wagler & Tammy McLean