Therapy gets patients back on their feet
KINGMAN - Golden Valley resident Lory Ann Reeves will wrap up an 8-day stay Saturday in the Acute Rehab Unit at Kingman Regional Medical Center.
Reeves underwent brain surgery for the removal of a tumor about two weeks ago at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas.
She checked into Acute Rehab at KRMC on March 23 and has been busy relearning activities other people take for granted in their everyday lives.
"I've learned to walk again, and I must play a lot of cards to get back my short-term memory," Reeves said Wednesday. "I've been taught to bath, dress, apply makeup and fix my hair.
"Without these wonderful people I don't know what I would do."
April is National Occupational Therapy Month. KRMC's Therapy Department has six occupational therapists, one of which is Jeanne Marie Fusco.
Fusco and certified occupational therapy assistants Mary Walker and Beverly Scott were working with Reeves on Wednesday.
"OT works with clients working to improve their self care skills and ability to go about their daily occupations," Fusco said. "It's not just a matter of being able to go to the bathroom, but dressing themselves, eating, bathing, driving and many other daily activities.
"Physical therapy (PT) works on basic ambulation of a client and includes their gait, balance, and strengthening of the lower and upper body."
Physicians prescribe OT.
The length of a plan depends on the setting in which it is given.
"For an in-patient, it can be as long as they're hospitalized, unless they meet its goals sooner and are discharged," Fusco said. "In acute rehab, the plan of care generally lasts 14-30 days, depending on the diagnosis and prognosis. In a skilled nursing facility, it can be for up to 100 days, depending on progress and insurance."
Self-care is central to OT treatment plans, so the client can dress and get in and out of a bathroom without assistance.
However, if the client relies on someone else to assist in dressing, that aspect is not pursued in the plan, Fusco said.
Breathing techniques are also addressed to better enable the client to walk short distances without becoming winded.
OT also is utilized in schools among developmentally delayed children to help them improve handwriting and fine motor skills, Fusco said.
KRMC offers OT in its Acute Rehab unit on the third floor, in the Del E. Webb Wellness and Rehabilitation Center, and in med/surgical rooms along with its Progressive Care Unit.
Fusco said people commonly needing OT include stroke victims, hip or knee replacements, and the elderly debilitated by a urinary tract infection or joint imbalance.
The therapist's goal in each case is to work with the client on regaining lost strength or balance, so when the individual is ready to go home, he or she will need less care there.
"The elderly are our primary population for OT due to falls and hip or ankle fractures," Fusco said. "In the hospital and home health, we get elderly with vision problems, and we work to make them feel safer at home."
Assorted OT displays will be posted each week in April in the hospital cafeteria, a news release states.
To learn more about occupational therapy, visit the Web site of the American Occupational Therapy Association at www.aota.org.