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Health news and issues in the Ozarks.

Cox Cottage to Strengthen 'Habit Training' For Occupational Therapy Students

Cox College is celebrating its newest edition to assist its occupational therapy students with the opening of a new training facility.  

Cox Cottage, as it’s being called, is a roughly 900-square foot ADL (Activities of Daily Living) apartment unit inside Cox North that allow students to learn how to help patients with everyday skills such as cooking, vacuuming, eating, bathing and even sleeping.

Cox College
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
Cox College officials prepare to cut the ribbon and unveil "Cox Cottage" Tuesday in north Springfield.

Dr. Elizabeth Torcivia is a professor and chair of the college’s new Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy Program. In describing the apartment’s kitchen, she says a lot of devices are adaptive.

“There are adaptive cutting boards; again for a person with one hand. There are weighted utensils. There are one-handed what we call a rocker knife, so that you can cut your meat if you have only one hand,” Torcivia says. 

The kitchen also includes an angled mirror above the stove to allow someone in a seated position to more easily monitor their cooking.

There is a handicap-accessible bathroom and shower, traditional living room, dining room, bedroom and section for a washer and dryer.

Hospital officials and students celebrated a ribbon cutting for the new facility Tuesday.

Cox College
Scott Harvey

Dr. April Swanson is the program’s academic field work coordinator and assistant professor. She says with Cox Cottage, students will be able to more accurately practice their skills before interacting with patients.

“They may know their material. They have studied their neuroscience, their anatomy and physiology. They know kinesiology like the back of their hand. But then they might hesitate when they have a real patient in front of them, so this just gives them a practice scenario.”

Torvicia says the apartment applies to the old term of “habit training.”

“We want students to get in the habits of best practitioners... I want them to think not in medical terms but in the real terms that people live every day.”

Cox College’s occupational therapy program currently has 22 students, who are halfway through their second semester. Officials expect 75 enrollees once all the cohorts are filled.

Students are expected to begin training in Cox Cottage Wednesday.