Via Christi's Occupational Therapy program is designed to maximize independence by teaching or re-teaching daily living skills such as bathing, dressing, home-care, work and recreational skills. Our occupational therapists work with people of all ages who, because of physical, developmental, social or emotional defects, need specialized assistance in learning skills to enable them to lead the most independent, productive lives. Outpatient occupational therapy services are available with an emphasis on a functional approach to rehabilitation.
Ergonomic workstation evaluations
Available to local area companies, an ergonomic evaluation includes a visit to your site to observe the employee at his/her workstation and a written report including recommendations of changes.
Repetitive motion syndrome, carpal tunnel and hand surgery are examples of conditions that may benefit from hand therapy. Therapists work with patients to help alleviate pain and to regain range of motion and strength in their hand, wrist and/or elbow. Physicians also refer patients for custom splinting.
Lymphedema — a persistent accumulation of fluid in the arm or leg — afflicts many people, especially those who have been treated for cancer in the breast or groin areas. Left untreated, this often incapacitating condition poses a continuous risk of developing infections or other complications.
Patients are usually referred by their physician and seen initially in a one-hour evaluation during which a history is obtained and physical examination performed. Subsequently, a program of personalized treatment is designed based on the severity of the lymphedema. This can vary from one to five days a week of ongoing treatment to a two-week intensive program. The method of treatment used (Complex Decongestive Therapy) consists of:
- Self-bandaging manual lymphatic massage
- Education, such as proper skin care and diet
- Spouse or partner participation
- Manual lymphatic drainage performed by specially trained therapists in daily one-hour sessions. The therapy focuses on gently massaging the connective tissue (rather than muscle tissue) with a pumping motion. This stimulates the weakened lymphatic system by pushing the stagnant fluid through the vessels, allowing the venous system to reabsorb the fluid while supporting the development of new collateral channels through which the lymph can begin to flow.
- Self-manual lymphatic drainage massage, a basic massage strokes are taught to patients and/or partners so that treatment can be performed at home.
- Bandaging and compression - Bandaging of the affected limb follows each Manual Lymphatic massage session. The bandages used are low stretch and compensate for the diminished tissue pressure caused by lymphedema. Along with increasing tissue pressure, this important component of the therapy prevents the affected limb from refilling with evacuated lymph tissue fluid. The bandages are worn overnight until the patient returns to the clinic for the next session. At the end of the course of treatment when the limb has improved and reached a plateau, the patient is measured for a custom compression garment (custom sleeves or stockings). It is recommended that the garment be worn during all waking hours.