“It’s Okay to Ask for Help.” A Burn Occupational Therapist’s Story

Rebekah Allely has worked in the field of burn medicine for over 29 years. Although there’s a high level of support available for firefighter survivors in the hospital, Rebekah knows that once a burn survivor gets home, things can be different. 

Many firefighters believe everything will return to normal once they are past the initial period of rehabilitation and return home. But because of the prolonged and extensive care that burn injuries often require, they are suddenly faced with a reversal of their expectations and their self-image. Many firefighters’ personalities exhibit strength and involve being a rescuer, but during recovery many find it overwhelming that they are now the ones that need help and care.  

In Rebekah’s long-time role as a burn occupational therapist, she has seen not only the physical aspects of recovery, but the emotional and mental aspects of recovery as well. A firefighter's confidence may take a long time to return, and the emotional toll can almost be too much to handle. 

From experience, Rebekah knows the value of the Phoenix SOAR peer support program. She has seen peer supporters share their stories with many of her burn patients, and the emotional support that they provide makes a profound difference in the lives of survivors and families. Hearing from someone who has “been there” and learning how other burn survivors have dealt with their recovery offers encouragement and gives a level of hope that doctors alone simply can’t provide. 

Funding provided through DHS/FEMA’s Grant Program Directorate for Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program - Fire Prevention and Safety Grants 

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