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Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy “is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the use of daily activities … it enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest” (AOTA, 2021).

Occupational therapists (OTs) collaborate with patients to promote success in self-care, and support engagement in desired activities. Our OTs work to involve you in your own care, and to find recommendations that fit into your routines to improve overall self-competence, independence, and quality of daily life. The overall goal is support your return to the things you want and need to do, from basic activities of daily living, like getting dressed, meeting demands at work, as well as desired recreational and leisure activities like reading, writing, knitting, and fishing.

We provide assessment and treatment for the following:

Activities of daily living

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are comprised of activities we do every day to take care of ourselves. These activities typically include dressing, bathing, using the bathroom, grooming & hygiene, eating, and sleep.

What can contribute to difficulties with ADLs:

  • Acute injury (such as surgeries, trauma, accidents/falls).
  • Cardiopulmonary conditions (such as myocardial infarction, COPD, congestive heart failure, asthma, shortness of breath, etc.).
  • Neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, dementia, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuropathy, etc.).
  • Musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, repetitive motion injuries, etc.).
  • Conditions impacting the sensory system (such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, glaucoma, stroke, sensory processing deficits, etc.).
  • Any condition creating strain, stress, or difficulties with completing self-care.

How occupational therapy can help:

Occupational therapists make use of a comprehensive assessment of your goals as our client, supports in your environment, and the demands of the activity. Treatment may include strengthening and conditioning, training in specific equipment, or modifying an activity to ensure greatest success in completing your ADLs. If there is an activity you would like to improve upon or become more independent in, ask your OT how s/he can help.

Instrumental activities of daily living

Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are comprised of activities we do around the home and community to care for our home and those we may live with. These activities can include meal preparation and clean up, medication management, financial management, communication management, laundry, housekeeping, yard work and home maintenance, childcare, care for others, care for pets/animals, home safety, and religious/spiritual expression.

What can contribute to difficulties with IADLs:

  • Acute injury (such as surgeries, trauma, accidents/falls).
  • Cardiopulmonary conditions (such as myocardial infarction, COPD, congestive heart failure, asthma, shortness of breath, etc.).
  • Neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, dementia, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuropathy, etc.).
  • Musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, repetitive motion injuries, etc.).
  • Conditions impacting the sensory system (such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, glaucoma, stroke, sensory processing deficits, etc.).
  • Any condition creating strain, stress, or difficulties with completing home care or community activities.

How occupational therapy can help:

Occupational therapists make use of a comprehensive assessment of your goals as our client, supports in your environment, and the demands of the activity. Treatment may include overall strengthening and conditioning, training in specific equipment, or modifying an activity to ensure greatest success in completing your IADLs. If there is an activity you would like to improve upon or become more independent in, ask your OT how s/he can help.

Assistive technology and durable medical equipment use

Assistive technology (AT) can refer to products, equipment, and systems that can enhance daily living, work, or other desired activities. It often includes equipment, programs, or products, such as modified lighting, talk-to-text support, or modified keyboards for computer use.

Durable medical equipment (DME) includes equipment and supplies that help you complete your daily activities. It is typically equipment only to be used by you, for an extended amount of time. It includes items such as walkers, wheelchairs, bathroom seating, prosthetic devices, or orthotics.

What may contribute to use of AT or DME:

  • Cardiopulmonary conditions (such as myocardial infarction, COPD, congestive heart failure, asthma, shortness of breath, etc.).
  • Neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, dementia, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuropathy, etc.).
  • Musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, repetitive motion injuries, etc.).
  • Conditions impacting the sensory system (such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, glaucoma, stroke, sensory processing deficits, etc.).
  • Any condition creating strain, stress, or difficulties with completing self-care, home care or community activities.

How occupational therapy can help

Your occupational therapist works with you to determine areas where you may benefit from AT or DME. They are able to provide additional insight and recommendations on how AT or DME can fit your specific needs and home set up. Treatment may include trial, setup, or training in the use of specific AT or DME.

Upper extremity pain or decreased function

Upper extremity dysfunction may impact the hand, wrist, elbow, and/or shoulder girdle, resulting in coordination difficulties and fine motor deficits. Fine motor skills typically involve smaller movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists, in cooperation with the visual system. Pain or decrease in function of the hand or other part of the upper extremity can impact your ability to take care of yourself and home, disrupt sleep, lower engagement in leisure activities, or impede your performance at work. Deficits in this area may look like: difficulties with writing or typing, tying shoes/knots, managing buttons/zippers, or handling small objects such as pills, coins, or jewelry.

What can contribute to pain or decreased function of the upper extremity:

  • Total shoulder arthroplasty.
  • Fractures, strains, and sprains of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand.
  • Rotator cuff injury.
  • Tennis/golfer’s elbow.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Neurological disorders (such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, CVA, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease).
  • Brachial plexus birth palsy.
  • Injuries, surgeries, and/or diseases impacting the arm’s function or making it difficult to use your arm in daily tasks.

How occupational therapy can help

Our OTs work with you to create an individualized treatment, based on your goals, and recent and credible research on the best rehabilitation method. Your OT will support you in maximizing motion, strength, and coordination of your arm to return to maximal function. Treatment may include assessment for splint/brace, stretching and strengthening, modalities, pain reduction strategies, activity modifications, and training in one-handed techniques if needed.

Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a chronic medical condition impacting the lymphatic system, where excess fluid collects in tissues causing swelling that remains indented after pressure is applied. Swelling can occur in one of your arms or legs, trunk, head, or neck. This swelling can result in a feeling of tightness or heaviness of the area affected, decreased movement, aching or discomfort, hardening of the skin, and/or increased risk of infection(s).

What can contribute to lymphedema:

  • Trauma, such as crushing injuries, or burns.
  • Radiation treatment for cancer.
  • Prior surgery.
  • Cardiac or vascular impairments.
  • Any condition or procedure that damages the lymph nodes or vessels.

How occupational therapy can help:

Our certified lymphedema therapist provides intervention and training to reduce lymphedema and to teach the daily skills needed to best control lymphedema. Your OT works with you to incorporate a lymphedema self-management program into your daily routines.

Low vision

Changes in vision can have a large impact on someone’s life. These changes may occur suddenly or gradually over time. Impaired vision can affect your ability to do daily activities, like getting around the house or the community. Low vision difficulties may look like, difficulties finding items around the home, bumping into things, increasing need for particular lighting, larger font, or particular angle when reading.

What can contribute to low vision:

  • Macular degeneration.
  • Diabetic retinopathy.
  • Visual fatigue.
  • Head trauma (TBI, concussion) causing vision changes.
  • Any condition or procedure that may result in vision impairment and/or reduced visual acuity.

How occupational therapy can help

Your occupational therapist completes a comprehensive exam of your current goals, concerns, and environmental set up. Intervention makes use of a holistic approach and can include: changes to lighting for prevention of accidents/injury, using vision equipment, teaching new skills to learn to use your current visual abilities more effectively and efficiently, modifying the task or environment to be more supportive during desired activities, and training in use of adapted equipment and vision tools.

Work hardening and conditioning

Work hardening and conditioning is a structured treatment program to support return to work. This program is designed for individuals able to commit to extensive therapy, typically multiple times per week. The goal is to promote overall function and support safe return to work.

What can contribute to the need for work hardening and conditioning:

  • Acute injury/condition impacting your ability to complete job functions (following a surgery, fracture, strain, or sprain; acute pain).
  • Acute change in vision, sensation, or endurance.
  • Any unresolved injury from the past two years impeding return to work.

How occupational therapy can help

Your occupational therapist will conduct a comprehensive assessment including your current concerns, job duties, work space considerations, and other contributing factors. Your OT will assist you with promoting improved ergonomics in work. Treatment may include acute injury/illness management, work conditioning, work hardening, and environmental modifications.

Cardiopulmonary conditions

Your cardiopulmonary system is responsible for delivery oxygen to all organs and tissues of the body, as well as removing carbon dioxide and other waste products. Cardiopulmonary deficits can results in quick fatigue with activities, shortness of breath, and overall decrease in engagement in desired activities.

What can contribute to decreased cardiopulmonary function:

  • Congestive heart failure (CHF).
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD).
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • History of myocardial infarction (MI).
  • Any condition or procedure impacting the cardiac or pulmonary system.

How can your occupational therapist help?

Your occupational therapist will complete a thorough evaluation of your activities, environment, and overall function, including your own perceptions of how you are doing and confidence in your abilities. Your OT may recommend energy conservation techniques, modifications to activities, specific DME use, breathing exercises, or pacing techniques to assist you with gradual return to daily routines.

Neurological conditions

Your nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system. This system works to transmit messages from the brain to other parts of the body, generate movement, coordinate actions, receive information from our environments, and multiple other functions. Cognition is a function of the brain, used to describe thinking and all the steps involved. Deficits in cognition can be hard to identify and define. They may look like forgetting to take your medications, difficulties following directions of a recipe, being unable to sequence getting dressed, or forgetting to pay bills on time.

What can contribute to a neurological condition:

  • Injury to or condition of the brain (such as CVA, traumatic brain injury, concussion, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, etc.).
  • Injury to or condition of the spinal cord (such as SCI, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, etc.).
  • Injury to or condition of the peripheral nervous system (Guillain-Barre Syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Cognitive deficits (following a CVA, cancer treatment, TBI/concussion, hospitalization requiring ICU care, etc.).
  • Any condition or procedure impacting the neurological system.

How can your occupational therapist help?

Your occupational therapist will complete a comprehensive assessment including your current occupations, goals, concerns, supports and barriers in your environment, and overall function. Treatment may include trial and training in modified equipment, environmental set up, cognitive re-training, modalities and neuro re-education, condition management techniques, and set up of daily routines for maximal function. Your OT may also work with you to setup supports or training activities to improve your attention, memory, problem solving, sensory processing, and promote adaptive responses to environmental demands.

Management of chronic conditions

Chronic conditions are broadly defined as conditions that last one year or more, and require ongoing medical attention. Chronic conditions can impact your daily living, it can become harder and harder to complete leisure activities, home making activities, or even tasks to take care of yourself.

What are some chronic conditions you see an OT for:

  • Pain (from surgery, trauma, neurological conditions, falls, musculoskeletal conditions, neuropathy, stroke, sensory processing difficulties, etc.).
  • Cardiopulmonary conditions (such as myocardial infarction, COPD, congestive heart failure, asthma, shortness of breath, etc.).
  • Neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, dementia, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuropathy, etc.).
  • Musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, repetitive motion injuries, etc.).
  • Conditions impacting the sensory system (such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, glaucoma, stroke, sensory processing deficits, etc.).
  • Any condition creating strain, stress, or difficulties with completing home care or community activities.

How occupational therapy can help

Your occupational therapist works with you to complete a comprehensive assessment of your daily routines. Treatment typically includes intervention to support aging in place, decreasing re-hospitalization risk, increase safety, set up fall prevention measures, and promote overall quality of life.

Orthopedic pre-operative and post-operative care

Pre-operative care refers to intervention prior to a planned surgery in order to optimize outcomes of a surgery. Post-operative care refers to intervention following a surgery, to promote return to function and desired activities.

Who might benefit from pre-operative or post-operative OT:

  • Total knee arthroplasty.
  • Total hip arthroplasty.
  • Total shoulder arthroplasty, or any operation on the shoulder.
  • Any surgery on the wrist, hand, fingers.
  • Spinal surgery.
  • Any surgery where your activity may be impacted following surgery.

How occupational therapy can help

Prior to surgery, your occupational therapist works with you to determine how your activity may be impacted by a surgery, reviews any relevant post-op precautions to consider, suggests DME to set up, and reviews activities to practice ahead of time. After surgery, your occupational therapist will complete additional assessment to determine beneficial supports or treatment to assist with your return to prior function.

Providers

Avery Dumbeck

Occupational Therapist

Mallory Apel

Occupational Therapist

Devin Stewart

Occupational Therapist