Kersten Mercurio '22, an Occupational Therapy major, is presenting her research at the 2022 Grimes Research Competition.
Her research title is: Life after the Intensive Care Unit: Understanding Patient Needs and Experiences
Please describe your research in non-technical language. How did you become interested in your research subject?
This research project focuses on the unique experience of patients following their discharge from the intensive care unit. It specifically looks at the physical, psychological and emotional challenges that these patients experience and how these challenges impact their daily activities and quality of life. When working with my advisor and an occupational therapist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, I began wondering how these challenges could be both better understood and what supports may be beneficial in these patients’ return to their usual activities, specifically the potential role of occupational therapy.
What are the most interesting findings from your research?
The most interesting part of this research study has been learning about the unique experiences of patients in the intensive care unit. Each patient's experience was so different, and there were some challenges that they experienced that I had not thought of. Something else that was interesting to see was just how much COVID impacted the hospital setting. One of the most impactful things was hearing about what supports were provided by the hospital when family members were not allowed to be present.