It’s one of those services most people don’t think about until they need it. And it’s a service that can help a patient do something as simple as tie a shoe or button a shirt.
Martha Mann is an occupational therapist and provides services in the afternoon, Monday through Thursday, at St. Luke Hospital, Marion.
“Occupational therapy focuses on activities of daily living,” Mann said.
After a person recovers from an injury or illness, OT may be needed to help work and restore movement in the upper body.
Not to be confused with physical therapy, PT, which provides therapy to the lower extremities, OT provides information and strengthening exercises for mobility.
Hand therapy is offered to those who have carpal tunnel syndrome which is caused by repetition of certain motions or sports injuries, falls, or strokes.
An example of assisting a patient could be the following. A high school football player breaks his elbow.
“After the elbow heals, he’s ready for rehabilitation,” Mann said. “There are modalities to control pain, stretches to return range of motion, strengthening to regain function, and patient education for a home exercise program.”
Mann sees patients who are inpatients at St. Luke Hospital, outpatients, and those who receive home health care services.
A typical session lasts from 30 to 60 minutes.
Most insurance companies and Medicare cover treatments, or at least a portion of them, because they are a benefit.
“It gets people back to work and back home,” Mann said.
Mann has been an occupational therapist for 16 years, graduating from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in occupation therapy. She is required to receive at least 40 hours of continuing education each year to maintain her license.
Currently she works for Rehab Visions which also provides contracted PT services to St. Luke Hospital. She provides OT services at Moundridge four half days per week.
“I like coming to Marion. People are so kind,” Mann said. “These are the people who want to get back to their farms and gardens. They’re motivated to rehab because they’re eager to get home.”
She and husband Doug live in Wichita. They have two children, Madeline, 8, and Drake, 5.
“I really enjoy what I do because I can watch patients improve and get back to living.”