Occupational Therapy has often been referred to as, “the coolest career you have never heard of.” The patients seen by Occupational Therapy have a variety of diagnoses including stroke, hip and knee replacements, vertigo/dizziness, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, epicondylitis, and hand and arm injuries. Many patients also come in after having various surgeries like carpal tunnel release, trigger finger release, tendon and nerve repairs.
The Occupational Therapy department opened in 1998 and helps patients of all ages to regain as much independence and physical function in their daily lives as possible. Patients are assessed after injury, surgery, illness or secondary to psychological or developmental impairments.
Occupational Therapy uses purposeful activity to prevent dysfunction or deformity, maintain health, and maximize independence. This therapy addresses a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, feeding, and household chores as well as work and leisure activities.
Occupational Therapy’s approach begins with a personalized evaluation assessing functional abilities with consideration for all aspects of an individual’s life—their current health condition, prior medical history, and the environment in which they live and work. A customized treatment plan is developed and short and long term goals are initiated to work towards the goal of achieving the most independence possible in the completion of daily activities as well as work and leisure activities.
Some people choose adaptive equipment to help them perform activities in a safe and effective manner. These items are available for purchase in the SMCH rehab department. Special orders can be made for more individualized adaptive equipment, as well. The SMCH Occupational Therapists also make custom orthoses or fit prefabricated splints to serve the needs of individuals with upper extremity conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, arthritis, fractures, tendon and nerve injuries, among others.
The Occupational Therapy staff is comprised of two staff therapists. Lisa Findley, MS, OTR/L, earned her Master’s degree from the University of South Dakota and is a full time Occupational Therapist who works with inpatients, outpatients, Shady Oaks residents, and Opportunity Living clients. Lisa also specializes in working with individuals suffering from vertigo or dizziness. Lisa has extensive training in serving individuals after joint replacements and those suffering from common hand conditions. Lisa has been a member of the SMCH rehab team for 19 years.
Amanda Kerber, OTD, OTR/L, earned her doctorate at Creighton University in May 2017 and has experience working with individuals with various upper extremity pathologies and individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, among other diagnoses. Amanda works with inpatients, outpatients, home health and hospice patients. She has certifications in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memories in the Making painting program and Dementia Capable Care training. Additionally, Amanda will be playing an active role in initiating SMCH’s Occupational Health program.