Keiser University occupational therapy graduate helps COVID-19 patients get back to everyday life

August 13, 2020

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts

Kelli Lane / 954-235-0331 / [email protected]
Jeff LaLiberte / 954-821-3986 / [email protected]

Keiser University occupational therapy graduate helps COVID-19 patients get back to everyday life

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Among the front line caregivers working tirelessly to support COVID-19 patents throughout the United States, the work of occupational therapists often goes unnoticed. Silvia Lobaina, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist who works directly with COVID-19 patients every day.

“I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and what I love,” said Lobaina

The Keiser graduate is one type of COVID-19 front line worker that most people don’t readily think of. Yet every day, she suits up in personal protective equipment and works with COVID-19 positive patients in a skilled nursing facility. Her patients were initially treated and quarantined in a hospital and once stabilized, released to a skilled nursing facility because of weakened muscles and lack of mobility.

“These people need help. These patients need to be moved,” said Lobaina. “I try my best to get them as independent as possible.”

Many of her patients are left weak from the virus. Most of them lost the ability to brush their teeth or sit up in bed. That’s where Lobaina steps in. She carries therapeutic exercise equipment into patient rooms and works one-on-one for an hour each day. She usually sees five patients a day. She works with them on strengthening their muscles so they can return to performing basic, daily activities.

The work has been defined by the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Department of Homeland Security as essential. Understandably so, some occupational therapists are hesitant to work with COVID-19 patients and survivors. Lobaina gets emotional when she thinks about her patients who didn’t receive occupational therapy because they were quarantined. “This is someone’s dad! This is someone’s grandfather! I think about them as if they were my parents,” said Lobaina.

For Lobaina, it’s personal. She shares a connection with her patients. She spent a lot of time in a skilled nursing facility, as a child, accompanying her grandfather to therapy sessions after he suffered a stroke. One of her recent fulfilling moments with a COVID-19 patient occurred with a 64-year-old man who could not stand out of bed. After a week of working with him, he was able to walk enough to take a shower for the first time in months. “This is why I do what I do,” she said.

For more information about Keiser University’s academic programs in occupational therapy, visit:

About Keiser University:

Keiser University is a private, not-for-profit university, serving nearly 20,000 students and employing 3,800 faculty and staff members. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, the university currently offers more than 100 degrees at 21 Florida campuses, as well as online and at two international sites.

Keiser University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as a level VI institution to award certificates and degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral levels. For additional information regarding Keiser University, visit



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