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news News Wednesday, November 28, 2018 Sunday, November 12, 2017 11:15 AM - Sunday, November 12, 2017 11:15 AM

Occupational therapy kitchen renovations officially complete

Renovated kitchen gives patients an engaging therapeutic space

Occupational therapy kitchen renovations officially complete

We are so excited to share details about the renovations on our occupational therapy (OT) kitchen! Though the planning and fundraising began three years ago, most of the major work was completed last summer and the finishing touches were installed this month, officially completing the project.

“It was a big project, but it has a big impact on our patients and families,” said occupational therapist Justine LaPierre, MS, OTR/L. 

The kitchen, part of our occupational therapy gym, plays a big role in patients’ rehabilitation. Whether they are learning to use household items with our occupational therapists or baking brownies with our child life specialists, the kitchen is an important space for patients and staff. The kitchen features accessible elements, such as high-low shelving in cabinets, an adjustable stovetop and kitchen table, an oven with French doors, and a four-door “flex” fridge and freezer. 

“All these adjustments are accessible for the wide breadth of kids we treat, as well as for any child. Everything is wheelchair accessible and high-low height – no step stools required,” said LaPierre. “We wanted it to benefit as many users as possible with a broad range of sizes and abilities.”

While our renovations are certainly state of the art, all of the elements are sold commercially, and available for families to purchase and install in their own homes. “Most kitchens in hospitals are meant to model real-life kitchens that most homes have, with the idea that patients will adjust to those pre-existing kitchens,” said LaPierre. “Our OT kitchen is not only meant for occupational therapy, but also to showcase the accessibility features that families can bring into their own homes.”

Families are always very curious to know where these items came from and how much they cost, and LaPierre is happy to discuss options with them. “If they don’t see it here with me, when are they going to see it?” said LaPierre.

As a larger part of our rehabilitation program, the kitchen plays a crucial role in ensuring that patients are as prepared as possible for life outside the hospital. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia staff hopes that the experiences patients have inside our kitchen give them confidence for the road ahead and help inspire them to live a life without limitations.