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  • Writer's pictureHannah Valliere

The Transformative Power of Occupational Therapy

Take a minute to think about the things you do every day. Maybe you garden or walk the dog, or perhaps you drive or go to school. Now imagine an accident, injury, illness or other condition suddenly made it difficult or impossible to do those things. Now what?


What is Occupational Therapy?


According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, occupational therapy enables people of all ages to participate in daily living. It uses everyday life activities, also known as occupations, to promote health, well-being and your ability to participate in the important activities in your life.


You might need occupational therapy after surgery or while you’re recovering from a trauma or orthopedic injury. You might also benefit from occupational therapy if you suffer from a chronic condition such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer or multiple sclerosis, or a developmental delay like autism spectrum disorder or down syndrome.  


“Tasks that are seemingly basic can be incredibly difficult for some,” says Andrea Keever, an occupational therapist at Tioga Medical Center. “For example, a patient who recently suffered a stroke might be unable to bathe or dress themself. That’s where I come in.”


Andrea works with patients of all ages and abilities through outpatient, inpatient and Long-Term Care services. She also provides home evaluations, wheelchair assessments and recommendations for adaptive equipment.


“Together, we identify your goals and develop an intervention plan that will help you stay as productive as possible, maintain or rebuild your independence, and participate in the everyday activities important to you.”


The intervention plan may include things like:


  • helping you learn or relearn how to perform daily tasks, such as getting dressed, eating and bathing

  • assessing your home, school or workplace to identify ways to make your daily tasks easier

  • teaching you how to use assistive devices, such as wheelchairs and walkers

  • helping you with tasks that require fine motor skills, such as writing or buttoning a shirt

  • training you on ways to safely get into and out of chairs, your bed or the bathtub

  • showing you exercises you can perform to help increase flexibility or reduce pain

  • assisting you with programs that help you return to work

  • teaching you strategies for managing stress

  • educating your loved ones and caregivers on how to effectively support you in your day-to-day life

 

Most insurances require a referral for occupational therapy. If you feel you could benefit from the service, talk to your primary care provider. For more information about occupational therapy at Tioga Medical Center, call 701-664-3305, option 4.


About Andrea


A Tioga native, Andrea graduated from the University of North Dakota with her Masters in Occupational Therapy in 2005. She’s been a member of Tioga Medical Center since 2008. “I never thought I’d move back to my hometown, but here I am,” says Andrea. “I feel fortunate that I get to develop relationships with my patients. It is so rewarding when they meet their goals or get back to where they were prior to their injury, whether that’s home or the basketball court.”


Andrea is certified in LSVT-BIG for the treatment of Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions, as well as the Otago Balance Program. Additionally, she provides services for Infant Development, a county service that provides early intervention for children ages birth to three years.


Andrea credits the leadership at Tioga Medical Center for allowing her to pursue education in areas of her passions. “In larger organizations, sometimes your practice is limited. Here, each day brings something different, so it’s always new and fun.”

Andrea is an active member of the community, serving as an EMT, basketball coach, prom committee president and substitute teacher. She and her husband have three children.

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