Christine Marchessault began her work in occupational therapy out of love for having contact with people of all ages and helping them figure out how to help themselves to be their best. Since 2005, Marchessault has used her training and years of experience to work with IWK Health’s patients in hematology, oncology and nephrology, rehab, perinatal follow up and in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“I often get asked what could I possibly do with an infant in the NICU,” says Marchessault. “But I remind people that eating and sleeping are occupations too.”
As the NICU occupational therapist, Marchessault works with families and babies on development and skills related to feeding especially. From there, in her role with Perinatal Follow-up, she is involved in the developmental screening and assessment of babies who have been discharged from the NICU. Their development is monitored to make sure they have the supports they need to become the best version of themselves. This program is community based as well and IWK Health teams travel all over Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island so families don’t have to come so far.
“As occupational therapists, we assist people of all ages and need levels with doing the things that make up their day,” says Marchessault. “So often the reason someone has to stay in hospital is related to being unable to be independent at home or not having the necessary supports. We’re trained to look at the whole picture and to help people access the supports they need to get home.”
October is Occupational Therapy Month. IWK Health employs approximately 50 occupational therapists across teams and programs.