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Karen Turner, MS OTR/L occupational therapist (OT), brings a wealth of expertise to the MGH Patient Navigator for Autism role as an OT experienced in working with adult and pediatric patients who have physical and cognitive disabilities. Karen has been instrumental in her use of sensory interventions to reduce agitation and the use of restraints in patients on the inpatient psychiatric service and has been a member and co-chair of several collaborative governance committees at Mass General Hospital.
Based in Boston, The MGH Patient Navigator for Autism is part of the Autism Care Collaborative (ACC). Launched by MGH in 2013, the ACC works to address the healthcare needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the lifespan. The ACC team includes MGH clinicians, educators, administrative staff, and community members. Initiatives have focused on improving processes for both inpatient and outpatient care and educating MGH employees about ASD.
As Patient Navigator, Karen is the point person when patients are coming to the Lurie Center. She works with providers to enhance their understanding of the patients’ unique communication, sensory and behavioral needs. In addition to coordinating care, the Navigator collects data on admissions, quality and system metrics and identifies opportunities to improve outreach efforts so that patients and staff are aware of the ASD tools and resources available at MGH.
The MGH Patient Navigator for Autism and the ACC is supported through philanthropic donations from the Ruderman Family Foundation and the WITH Foundation (Working for Inclusive and Transformative Healthcare).