Physical & Occupational Therapy

Meet Cheshire Home OT, Lauren Rosario

Cheshire Home Occupational Therapist, Lauren Rosario, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from William Paterson University.  She worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at a rehabilitation facility while in college.  Her favorite part of the job was helping people participate in their morning routines. She earned a reputation for being able to naturally come up with creative ways to help people be more independent without it appearing therapeutic.

An occupational therapist at the facility tracked Lauren down after patients were talking about the “CNA who was doing therapy with me.” Being a college student who was just learning the profession, Lauren thought she might be in trouble. Quite the opposite.

“She asked me to come shadow her for the day and that is when I fell in love with the profession,” Lauren said. The seed was planted, and her passion for helping people was beginning to grow.

After graduating college, Lauren continued her education earning her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University in 2014.  “My first job as an OT was working with individuals with brain and spinal cord injuries,” Lauren said. “I haven’t looked back since.”  Eight years later, she empowers Cheshire Home residents by helping them strengthen their bodies, which over time leads to independence.

Lauren uses creativity to help Cheshire residents solve problems, allowing them to increase their independence and live life to the fullest.  “My favorite part of the job is watching a resident participate in an activity they previously enjoyed but stopped doing due to their injury,” she said.  

When not at Cheshire Home, Lauren’s other full-time job is being a mom to four perfect children.  “When I am not at work you can find me outside playing with my kids. We love to be outdoors at parks, the zoo, the aquarium, and the beach. I also love to cook and bake and bring those skills to the resident kitchen at Cheshire Home,” Lauren said.

An occupational therapist is defined as a healthcare professional who helps you reach your utmost potential, one who facilitates independence allowing you to live a more meaningful and happier life, also known as a “miracle worker.” Cheshire Home is lucky to have Lauren, and our residents are grateful to be able to work with her as she continues to change their lives daily.

Meet Cheshire Home OT, Rachel Pantelis

Cheshire Home Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA), Rachel Pantelis, has eight years of experience in the field. She has worked in various subacute rehabilitation facilities helping individuals who had suffered an injury or an illness, regain their maximum levels of independence.

While in school, she quickly developed a passion for working with young adults with neurological impairments. It soon became a population she enjoyed working with above others. When Rachel learned that Cheshire Home’s population was comprised of young adults, and its mission is to empower them to reach their maximum level of independence, it was if the stars aligned. “I was so she happy to find out Cheshire Home needed a COTA,” Rachel said. Her positive energy and devotion to helping others makes her an asset to the Cheshire Home family.

Rachel said she “loves working here” and sees everyone at Cheshire Home as extended family. When not helping to change lives at Cheshire Home, Rachel is pursuing another passion as she completes her Master’s in Social Work. She loves dogs, especially shih tzus and enjoys taking long walks on the beach in the summertime.

A look inside our Physical & Occupational Therapy Center.

Cheshire Home’s Physical & Occupational Therapy Center is a hub of activity for our residents.  Our licensed therapists and aides supervise each resident during their therapy sessions. They are dedicated to assisting each resident perform specific exercises to help improve their strength and mobility, which sets them on the path to their goals of independence.

Physical and occupational therapy are key components of rehabilitation following spinal cord injury. As varying degrees of mobility loss permanently affect muscle function, a consistent regimen of therapy and exercise enhances the rehabilitation process.

Physical therapy helps individuals with paralysis improve blood circulation, regain a measure of stamina, increase strength and range of motion, and maintain muscle tone in paralyzed limbs while strengthening and toning less

affected or unaffected muscles. Potential improvement in balance, coordination and strength is maximized, and in some cases, mobility is restored.

In conjunction with physical therapy, occupational therapy assists our residents in improving arm and hand movement and coordination and boosting their capacity to perform personal tasks. The work done with Cheshire Home’s Occupational Therapist helps residents gain the mobility needed to dress, cook, eat without help, handle personal items and more.

In 2018, we expanded our on-site Physical and Occupational Therapy Center. The extended space offers more room for additional state-of-the-art equipment, which benefits resident results. Our center upgrade was partially funded by the F.M. Kirby Foundation.