The Occupational Therapy Department at St. Elizabeth provides services to patients of all ages in a variety of treatment settings including inpatient, outpatient, and home health/hospice. The skills of an Occupational Therapist are needed when health problems challenge a person’s ability to engage in daily life activities. Occupational Therapy helps people in developing the skills for the “job of living” necessary for independent and satisfying lives.
The outpatient Occupational Therapy department offers specialized care for pediatrics and upper extremity/hand injuries. Conditions and injuries to the upper extremity that would require the skills of an Occupational Therapist include - amputations, cumulative trauma, burns, tendon injuries, arthritis, crush injuries, trauma, sports injuries and upper extremity fractures. Occupational Therapists use various treatment tools to improve function including splinting, modalities (iontophoresis, fluidotherapy, electrical stimulation and ultrasound), and the BTE Work Simulator II. The BTE is used to simulate numerous work-related tasks to design a rehabilitation program specific to the patient’s needs.
Outpatient Occupational Therapy services may benefit a child who displays learning delays or deficits; delayed or uncoordinated fine motor skills affecting hand function with grasping, handwriting, cutting, eating or construction tasks; sensory processing difficulties such as difficulty attending to tasks or oversensitivity to touch, movement, sound and/or light; neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, etc.; delayed self-care skills such as shoe tying, dressing, bathing, etc. Occupational Therapists use therapeutic skills that promote age-appropriate development in the areas of play, self-care and learning.
We are proud to have two Certified Hand Therapists on staff. Certified Hand Therapists are Occupational Therapists who have obtained the highest level of professional competency in upper extremity rehabilitation. To achieve certification, these therapists must have completed five years of clinical experience with 4,000 hours in direct hand therapy work. They have taken additional coursework before taking a comprehensive exam on the advanced skills in upper extremity rehabilitation. To maintain certification, these therapists undergo recertification every five years in addition to completing yearly continuing education in the latest therapy and surgical techniques.
The Certified Hand Therapists at St. Elizabeth h provide a full range of hand therapy services that include custom splinting, range of motion and strengthening home programs, sensory evaluations, wound care, edema control, modalities, joint protection education, computer or ergonomic recommendations, and activities of daily living modifications.
Meet our Certified Hand Therapists
Julie Heitz (left) has been an Occupational Therapist for 20 years and has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 2003. Kathy Knutson (right) has been an Occupational Therapist for nearly 33 years and has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 1991.