Physical and Occupational Therapy Team

Tufts MC True Blue Recipients: Occupational Therapist Anna Brussa and Physical Therapist Carmen Lai, DPT, Tufts Children's Hospital 

Nomination from Senior Pediatric Therapist Cecelia Sibley, PT, MHA:

“The pediatric team of Occupational Therapy (Ana) and Physical Therapy (Carmen) provide exceptional care to our pediatric patients day after day. Both Ana and Carmen are available to parents, medical/surgical teams and patients, providing hands-on assistance, education and ideas about the best way to help patients safely participate in age-appropriate activities as well as safely mobilize. 

“Ana and Carmen provide the necessary activities, ideas, training and knowledge to help patients be safe as they return to their optimal level of function, even in the setting of their current limitations (brace, crutches, weakness, etc.). On a daily basis, Ana and Carmen inspire their patients to perform at their best. This is not always easy when a patient is in pain, deconditioned and has limited mobility. Adding to the complexity of the situation, may be developmental issues, young age and a child’s inability to always understand what is happening. Ana and Carmen make therapy fun and engaging. In addition, Ana and Carmen are also acutely aware that a child’s hospital admission is extremely stressful for the whole family. They use their expert skills to provide the techniques, education and emotional support to prepare a child for discharge.

“Two specific situations come to mind: A pediatric trauma patient was hit by a car and sadly, making limited progress. He was recommended for a rehabilitation program, but there are only a few Pedi rehab beds available in the city; he was placed on a waiting list. This was a very complex patient who also had mental health issues and at times lashed out at staff. Carmen and Ana worked with him daily until he was able to go home. 

“Another occasion, a little girl had hip surgery. She was extremely anxious and it took extraordinary time to mobilize her just from bed to a chair, due to her fears and anxiety. These fears limited her initial progress, but with Ana’s and Carmen’s continued support and encouragement, she was not only able to transfer from the bed to the chair by herself but use a walker under her parents’ supervision. This patient also was able to go home.”