Occupational therapy is a science-driven profession that helps people participate in the things they want and need to do after an injury, illness, surgery, or disease. This is partly achieved through the use of everyday activities or in other words, occupations. These occupations include:
- Getting dressed
- Taking a shower or bath
- Taking care of children and pets
- Working or going to school
- Participating in hobbies
At MMC the occupational therapists treat people of all ages from childhood through adulthood. Some examples of diagnoses or problems that are seen are:
- Developmental delays
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Elbow, wrist or hand fractures
- Wrist or hand tendon injuries and shoulder surgeries
- Shoulder tendonitis
- Fine motor difficulties such as handwriting, buttoning, zipping
- Post-offer work screenings and Functional Capacity evaluations
Occupational therapists use a variety of treatment activities and techniques to help a person be able to do functional activities again. Some of these include:
- Adaptive equipment to help a person do daily activities such as getting dressed by using a long-handled shoehorn, a device to button, etc.
- Learning different ways to do daily tasks such as getting in the shower after a hip replacement
- Wrist or hand splints to decrease pain, immobilize an injured area, etc.
- Exercises to improve shoulder, elbow, wrist, or hand flexibility and strength
- Exercises to improve fine and gross motor coordination
- Activities to decrease swelling in the arm
- Various modalities to decrease pain and inflammation or to increase flexibility in the arm such as cold, heat, paraffin baths, etc.
- LSVT Big for Parkinson’s Disease
- Activities to improve attention span, memory, problem-solving
A visit to the Occupational Therapy department at MMC would require a call or visit to your doctor to obtain a prescription to receive therapy. When you come to your first appointment the therapist will do an evaluation to see what areas of need there are and discuss with you a treatment plan. You will often be given activities or exercises to work on at home. You may be provided a splint or brace for your hand or wrist. You may be shown different ways how to do things that you are having trouble with or be shown equipment to help you with these.
We take an integrative approach to care, allowing you to receive multiple therapies and additional services all at one time. As a patient, you have a choice where you receive therapy. Please ask your physician for a referral.
Jill Garrington, OTR
Jill graduated from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN and has worked as an occupational therapist at Memorial Medical Center for 28 years. She is certified in LSVT-BIG which helps patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. She particularly enjoys helping patients with elbow, wrist, and hand conditions.
Ashley Verkinderen, OTR/L
Ashley is an occupational therapist with a master’s degree in occupational therapy and an undergraduate in Rehabilitative Sciences from Concordia University in Wisconsin. She has practiced as an occupational therapist since 2016, treating patients across the entire age span. Ashley has a special focus in pediatrics, pelvic therapy, and orthopedics. She has received additional training in biofeedback pelvic floor retraining, therapeutic listening, and astronaut training protocols for sensory processing dysfunction in the pediatric population.