Carol Leslie, occupational therapist, helps patients through difficult times
Carol Leslie, University Heights resident and occupational therapist, helps trauma and transplant patients get through difficult times in their lives after surgery and recovery.
Leslie opened her business in Beachwood on March 1, in an office that she felt had a “calming and soothing aura.”
Leslie teaches skill building for recovery, which includes meditation, guided imagery for wellness and Reiki therapy. Everything is activity based, and she sets goals for every appointment.
“I really do have a passion for helping people after they leave the hospital,” Leslie said. “They have follow-up appointments with their surgeons and sometimes get home help a couple days a week to do specific things, such as going up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub. But nobody, other than a psychiatric nurse, is helping them cope.”
As an occupational therapist, Leslie looks at how to schedule her client’s day, and how patients can conserve their energy and simplify their tasks, especially patients with chronic pain. Sometimes, reconfiguring their days are all they need.
Leslie wants to work with people who feel isolated in their homes and to be part of their discharge plan so they can become functional as soon as possible. She wants to help them “use good judgment about pacing their activities for success.”
“I want to work with people who perhaps never have been diagnosed but who have new onset difficulties, such as anxiety or body-image issues after surgery, and are avoiding getting into their regular life," said Leslie. "They may perhaps be disfigured. It’s amazing how that may set a social barrier for some of them, so that they become avoidant.”
"It’s all about organizing one’s world, setting safe parameters and realistic expectations," said Leslie.
“I also see myself as a coach, but not clinical. I want to coach people about their lives—on how to be successful rather than focusing on remediating something that was broken—and just look at the whole person and maximize what still works,” Leslie said.
“I also help them figure out when they are successful, so they can also say ‘Wow, I was very successful today!’” Leslie said.
“The best thing about my business is creating a safe space for people to explore their lives without judgment,” she said. “I will usually keep the blinds closed to create a soft environment. I believe in metaphysics, harmony and aiming at peace. Clients walk away with some new techniques to try to get some hope. That’s what I really wanted to create, a spiritual feel where they can experience peace.”
Leslie’s business has largely been through word-of-mouth and previous clients who have referred family members and others to her. Referrals also come from physicians, as well as clinical nurse practitioners, who often manage a patient’s discharge, and who have keen insights into a patient’s needs once they go home.
When she isn’t meeting with a client, Leslie uses technology to reach people between their sessions, by texting, instant messaging and e-mailing for ongoing support.
Contact Carol Leslie at 216-763-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yelena Tischenko is a senior majoring in magazine journalism at Kent State University and a Heights Observer summer intern.