As patients progressed through acute care and rehabilitation, Dr. Wilcox provided additional clinical innovations to promote continued recovery. She developed and implemented strategies, such as an ICU diary, that helped patients fill memory gaps and connect them to their social support systems, resulting in a lower risk of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. She also created a pathway for progressive return to everyday activities that integrated mindfulness, biofeedback, and functional goal setting. This approach promoted continued engagement and mitigated the risk of further isolation and functional decline that some patients experience due to fear of symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, and perceived loss of control.
As patients transitioned back to the community, they could experience financial stressors, reduced quality of life, and difficulties with return to work. Dr. Wilcox’s post-COVID clinical interventions addressed physical function, lifestyle-related supports and barriers, and cognitive rehabilitation. Dr. Wilcox has been conscientious about highlighting the distinct value of occupational therapy by focusing on the use of occupation as a means and an end to recovery, as well as reintegration into work and the community.
Throughout the pandemic, health care workers became the main source of motivation, support, and encouragement for patients as they struggled in isolation. When patients needed to turn to palliative care, Dr. Wilcox made sure they were positioned safely, had access to their family and friends through technology, and had the resources to meet their spiritual needs. As an OTR, and as a human, Dr. Wilcox cared for each patient and provided the right care at the right time in the right place, whether that was rehabilitation, recovery, or palliative care.