PMH HealthBeat

Occupational Therapy – not the same as Physical Therapy

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is very proud to offer full-time services in both Occupational and Physical Therapies. These two fields are often confused or lumped together, but they are vastly different.

Occupational Therapy has been available at PMH for many years, but only became a fulltime department of its own in the past couple of years. Rehabilitation services are available for both inpatients and outpatients in need of treatment in the recovery of a surgery, illness or other medical condition. Occupational therapy focuses on helping individuals who have had some kind of impairment or injury, re-learn how to perform daily activities that are meaningful to them. This could include dressing, bathing, self-feeding, meal prep and even hunting and fishing. This is especially useful after a stroke, fracture or surgery.

Occupational therapy practitioners ask, “What matters to you?” not, “What’s the matter with you?” And then they develop individual goals and work plans for each patient. For children, this can include sensory integration and handwriting, and assisting children with disabilities to be able to fully participate in school and social situations. For adults with injuries or changes in health, OT can help them regain skills to be able to return to work. For older adults, this can include bathing, dressing, eating, getting to the bathroom, meal preparation, and being able to access their home safely, decrease fall risk, and learn how to use and incorporate adaptive equipment during functional tasks.

The Occupational Therapy Department loves to use real patient examples of how they can help patients. Once a former critical care nurse and supervisor at a large hospital in North Carolina, Susan Walker was hospitalized at PMH in June for two weeks. During her stay at PMH, she noted that the staff was not only concerned for her immediate medical problem, but her ability to live a better life once out of the hospital. She says that occupational and physical therapies are making this happen. She has since been coming to the Rural Health Clinic because of the “excellent care and genuine concern” shown to her.

PMH’s department is headed up by Katy Pugh, Occupational Therapist and West Virginia University graduate, with a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She is assisted by Kristy Riffe, a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. Rounding out the team are PRN Occupational Therapists Alicia Hanshew and Abigail McNeel.

Katy’s goal is to provide each and every patient with “compassionate, quality occupational therapy services with an emphasis on ensuring a safe and independent transition to home.” Katy and Kristy have worked throughout the last year to bring more understanding and awareness to the community of the services and value of occupational therapy. They have appeared before numerous groups and spoken at the Senior Centers.

If you have any questions about the occupational therapy services at PMH or would like information on scheduling an appointment, please contact us at 304-799-1015.

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