It’s funny how life takes turns you didn’t expect. I experienced one of these turns a few years ago, when I stepped away from my clinical work at the Department of Veterans Affairs and began working as a clinical consultant, assisting with community transitions of individuals out of state institutions. (This was the same time that I began my work with outpatient PT & OT clinics, assisting with patient engagement, experience, & retention.) This work took me outside my comfort zone, into a population that I was not used to working with, and into roles that were outside of the “traditional” for my clinical discipline.


Supporting Community Transitions


I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Robin Akselrud, OTD, MS, OTR/L of the Ask the Therapists Podcast to talk about some of my consulting work on community transitions in the state of Georgia. We talked a lot about community transitions, institutional care, and supporting individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities in the community.


Some topics of discussion:

  • The Role of Integrated Clinic Support 
  • The Transition Process
  • Home Modifications
  • Supporting Individuals in the Community
  • Challenges in this Area
  • Professional Growth & Development
  • Successes & Failures 
  • Community Inclusion


We also talked about the shift from a strong clinical role to more of a consulting/advisory role on a major project. You can check out the episode here.


Integrated Clinical Support & the Patient Experience


As I’ve written about here, taking a wholistic approach to patient care, both in outpatient & inpatient rehab and medical practice, improves patient engagement, outcomes, and experience. My clinical and consulting experience has led me to the conclusion that healthcare is ultimately a human experience and it is the responsibility of the treating clinicians or healthcare organization to ensure that human connection gets made during treatment. 


The advantage of taking a biopsychosocial approach to healthcare is simply that: you are looking at each patient as a unique individual and meeting them where they are at, as opposed to trying to fit every patient into rigid protocols or treatment molds. Patients receiving this type of individualized and wholistic care become more engaged in treatment, are more likely to attend follow-up sessions, and even tell their friends and acquaintances about the experience they’ve had at that clinic.


And from a business or clinic management standpoint, you want your patients to be actively engaged in treatment. You want them to attend their follow-up appointment and complete their plan of care. (As I’ve written about here, patient drop-out and retention problems can cost clinics big time.)  



Have you made a big career shift or change areas of clinical practice?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

For more informational reads, check out our Insights Page to see all the articles we’ve published to date. Click here to head over to our resources section and check out our variety of clinical and professional resources aimed at increasing your knowledge and skills. If you’d like to make some changes in your clinic or health center, and would like some help, check out our consulting and advisement services or contact us to see how we can help you break out of the norm and provide a truly impactful patient experience.


Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L is the president and CEO of Rehab U Practice Solutions. He has experience in a variety of rehab settings, working with patients recovering from a variety of injuries and surgeries. He worked as the lead clinician in an outpatient specialty clinic at his local VA Medical center. He also has experience as an adjunct faculty instructor at Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy Program, as a Licensed Board Member on the GA State OT Board, has served on several committees for the national OT Board (NBCOT), and as a consultant working for the State of Georgia’s DBHDD. He is also on the Board of Directors for NBCOT. He works to help healthcare clinics and organizations deliver uniquely impactful patient experiences by improving service delivery through training & advisement.

Read his full bio Here. Read about Rehab U Here.

Schedule a call with him Here.

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