A day in the life of an occupational therapist


A day in the life: Angela Trujillo, occupational therapist at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami

Ask Angela Trujillo what her typical day is like as an occupational therapist, she will likely tell you that it depends on her patients. From the time she enters Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami, that’s who she’s focused on – her patients and helping them achieve their individual goals.

Angela started working at Encompass Health Miami in college as an intern. Three months later, after graduating from OT school, she was able to stay on at the hospital full time. She’s now been at Encompass Health Miami for three years.

She said her favorite part of her job is seeing her patients succeed and helping them meet their goals no matter how big or small.

“Even the smallest accomplishments mean the world to them – dressing, bathing, using the toilet,” she said. “I love seeing the small accomplishments and how happy it makes them.”

At Encompass Health Miami, they take a team approach to therapy, so Angela said she also enjoys interacting with the speech and physical therapists to help patients meet their goals.

Here’s what a typical day might look like for Angela:

7 a.m.

The first thing Angela does when arriving at work is chart reviews to give her an idea of how her patients are doing. She checks their diagnosis, areas for  growth, therapy goals and more. She also assess the patients’ ADLs, or activities of daily living to help better prepare them for occupational therapy.

8 a.m.– noon

After reviewing the charts, therapy sessions begin.

Angela’s therapy is highly personalized to each patient’s specific goals and needs. A lot of her day is problem solving and coming up with creative solutions to help patients regain maximum independence.

Each week she has goal-setting meetings with patients. Every Wednesday she sits down with her patients individually, and they fill out a goal setting form. This helps Angela tailor therapy sessions to meet her patients’ ever-changing goals.

Her first patient is recovering from hip surgery. This week his goals are:

  • Mobility – This week they specifically are working on getting in and out of bed independently.
  • Dressing – This week he wanted to focus on putting on and taking off his socks.
  • Community Reentry – Before surgery, the patient frequently went to Home Depot, Publix and Walmart for groceries and household items. He wants to make sure he is strong and mobile enough to do that independently in the future.
  • Home Safety – Upon discharge, he will go home to live with his two grown daughters. He wants to be mobile and safe while they are at work during the day and be able to accomplish some chores on his own.

Angela and her patient practice safe approaches to doing laundry, so that he can assist with household chores while his daughters are at work.

Encompass Health Occupational Therapist helping patient put on socks

Angela uses lower body dressing adaptive equipment to help her patient safely put on and take off socks, as he can’t bend due to hip surgery.

Noon-1 p.m.

While the patients are breaking from therapy for lunch, so do the therapists.

1 – 2 p.m.

Angela is working with patients again during their afternoon block of therapy. She typically sees about six patients a day. As part of the interdisciplinary team approach to therapy at Encompass Health, Angela works with physical and speech therapists between sessions to discuss their patients’ goals and progress. This collaboration allows them to fully understand the progress of each patient and how they can best help them regain maximum independence.

End of day

Angela finishes her sessions and team meetings to wrap up her day and begin preparing for the next.