Hello and welcome to the next installment of the OT Certifications and Specialties Series! Today we will be learning about the Saebo Certification from Christopher Gaskins, OTR/L.
So what is Saebo? Saebo is actually a “medical device company primarily engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of affordable and novel clinical solutions designed to improve mobility and function in individuals suffering from neurological and orthopedic conditions.”
Saebo has a wide range of products that you can check out HERE!
The great thing about their certification course, is that it is absolutely free! (You will need to have access to neurological clients)
Total Cost: FREE
Total Time Committed: 8 hours
Christopher attended Howard University in Washington DC and graduated in December 2010. He has been practicing for just over 10 years and currently works in outpatient neurorehabilitation through his own concierge neurorehabilitation practice called Neurosuite. He works with clients in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia but currently lives in Washington, DC. Christopher loves cycling, listening to music, cooking, and spending time with his fiancé. He is also trying to learn how to code, though he says he is not really good at it. Practice makes perfect!
Why did you choose OT?
I chose OT because I like helping people and I really like listening to people and finding creative solutions for their problems.
Why and when did you choose to become Saebo certified?
I completed the Saebo Self-Study Certification course in 2015. As an OT, I found that clients with spasticity had a difficult time reaching for objects and opening their hand that was affected by their brain injury. Saebo has a product called the Saebo Reach, which is dynamic upper limb orthosis that helps individuals reach, grasp and release items. I wanted to learn how to prescribe and use the Saebo Reach so I could best help my clients.
Can you briefly explain what the Saebo certification is?
The certification requires 8 hours of self-paced learning. There is a pre-study that takes about 30 minutes to review course material and references. Next there is a 5-hour self-study that addresses research and evidence based approaches for upper limb neurorehabilitation, how to fit and adjust Saebo dynamic orthoses and how to create effective treatment plans using Saebo orthoses. Then there is a 2-hour lab section in which you fit and treat your clients with a Saebo Dynamic orthosis. As a requirement for the course, you must have access to neurological clients. Lastly, there is a post-test that takes about 30 minutes to complete.
What settings have you worked in? Do you have a favorite? Why?
I have worked in acute care, subacute rehabilitation, inpatient traumatic brain injury, outpatient neurorehabilitation, general outpatient, home health, group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities, academia, home modifications and occupational wellness.
My favorite setting is outpatient neurorehabilitation because neurological conditions are a leading cause of disability, but there is a shortage of neurorehabilitation specialists. I also enjoy using many different types of interventions and products to help my clients get better.
What does a typical day with clients look like for you?
My typical day involves sending early morning emails and faxes between 7am-8am to clients, doctors, and rehabilitation product companies to ensure my clients are getting the additional services and products they need. Since I work part-time as an OT and I am a full time Neuroscience PhD student, I typically see 2-3 clients a day, 4 days a week. Since I drive to client’s homes, I usually spend an hour or two on the road, sometimes more. I wear scrubs during the workdays because I need to be comfortable since I am often very active during my client sessions. I always have a neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) unit and electrodes in my bag since I often use NMES to teach my clients how to move their limbs effectively again. I also always have my computer in case I need to administer cognitive based assessments or treatments.
How do you stay client-centered and occupation-based in your practice?
I use the client’s home as the main source of “therapy equipment.” If I am working with my client on reaching and grasping, I prefer to have them reach in their cabinet or refrigerator for an item instead of cones or theraputty that are often used in the clinic. Since I see clients in their home, I can shape their goals around client-centered goals they want to achieve in their home to improve their day to day lives.
How often do you use the skills you learned from acquiring this certification in your practice?
I use the skills from this certification every day. Even when I am not using a Saebo product, I am still using the neurorehabilitation concepts I learned from the course.
What are the steps to acquiring the credentials? Is there a renewal process?
To take the course for free you need to register. You can do so HERE.
To my knowledge there is not a renewal process.
Do you get paid more for having this certification?
In my opinion you may not get paid more for simply being a Saebo Certified Clinician. However, if you effectively market your how your Saebo training can improve client outcomes, streamline the amount of therapy needed per client, reduce company costs ,and most importantly improve the client’s quality of life, you can make a strong case for negotiating a better compensation.
Can you name the various settings that a Saebo certified therapist can practice?
Saebo certified clinicians primarily practice in acute care, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, subacute rehabilitation, and home health settings.
Do you believe acquiring the credentials is worth it?
Yes, I believe becoming a Saebo certified clinician is fully worth it. While there are no credentials that you add to your name, the certification is free, extremely cost effective and beneficial to your clients. You learn a wealth of knowledge about neurorehabilitation concepts and you learn how to use various neurorehabilitation devices that may improve your client’s daily functioning.
Do you have any other OT interests that you would like to pursue, or do you have any other certifications?
I am interested in working more with technological-based companies to design assessments and products for neurological clients. I am also interested in getting a data analyst certification so I can help rehabilitation companies collect and analyze client data to improve treatment interventions.
I also have the certified stroke rehabilitation specialist (CSRS) and the Lee Silverman Voice Therapy BIG (LSVT BIG) certifications.
Do you have any words of advice for someone wanting to pursue the Saebo certification?
I would recommend first making sure you have access to neurological clients for the lab portion of the class. Next, I would recommend dedicating a part of the day to working through the self-study material so you can efficiently learn the material and put it to practice. Lastly, I would recommend getting familiar with the entire Saebo product line, understand what products are usually covered by insurance and understand the rationality and appropriateness of a device for any client prior to recommending.
If you have more questions or would like to get in contact with Christopher, you can find him at these places: