Patient thanks VMH therapy departments for rehabilitation

Chaseburg resident and Vernon Memorial Healthcare (VMH) patient Jeremy Harstad had a stroke on December 7, 2021. After spending weeks in the hospital, he was able to start outpatient therapies at VMH. He has been working with his Occupational Therapist, Allyson Daines, since January 26th, 2022. In honor of Occupational Therapy month, we are sharing Jeremy’s therapy journey at VMH.

Jeremy states, “I just want to say thank you! When I first started working with Allyson I couldn’t even put on my compression socks by myself. I knew I had a lot of work to do before I could get back to living on my own, driving, and ultimately returning to work. I am proof that sticking to your program and giving it 100% effort gives positive results.” He put in the hard work with his therapy team, and he is now back to living independently, has passed a driver safety assessment to get back on the road, and is almost ready to go back to his job.

When asked about treating her patients, Allyson said, “I develop a patient's treatment plan focusing on areas where the patient's function or independence in daily activities has been impacted, focusing on their goals and priorities, with hopes to return to a full and meaningful life. This looks different for each patient. In Jeremy's case, his goals focused on regaining independence to safely live in his home, reintegrate into the community, return to safe driving, and return to work following his recent stroke.”

The occupational therapy department has an average of 50-60 outpatient visits each week. You can see an occupational therapist both through a referral from your doctor and as a direct access patient if allowed by your insurance plan.


Caring, Highly Trained Therapists

Our occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants are highly trained in a variety of areas and provide one-on-one attention to assist our patients to improve strength, endurance, coordination and functional abilities as they recover.

Our team of therapists work in the outpatient clinic, in the hospital, and in local school districts.  Our rural healthcare setting provides a unique opportunity for patients to have consistency in care from their hospital stay to outpatient therapy visit. 

Occupational Therapists (OT) treat a wide range of conditions, including arm/hand injuries or fractures, chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease or strokes, lymphedema of extremities, memory impairment, home safety, and developmental conditions in children.  

OT specializes in function-based rehabilitation utilizing adaptive or compensatory strategies, to ensure that the patients can engage in meaningful daily activities despite their injury, illness or conditions they are experiencing. 

Occupational therapy services offer direct access (no physician referral required) for basic orthopedic and overuse injuries.  Medicare and Medicaid do require a physician’s referral for all OT services.  Our helpful scheduling and billing staff can assist you to determine if direct access is an option under your health plan. 

Please call 608-637-4385 to learn more about our Occupational Therapy Department.

Specialized Occupational Therapy Services

Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Training
This specific training helps patients regain the basic skills they need to perform daily living activities. This may include learning to dress, feed or bathe themselves again after a serious illness, injury or surgery using compensation techniques or special adaptive equipment.

Lymphedema Treatments
Chronic swelling usually occurs in an area of the body where the lymphatic system is compromised and is most often due to surgery, injury, radiation treatments or circulation problems. Ongoing treatments can help eliminate chronic swelling in the arms or legs through guided exercise, specialized massage, bandaging techniques, home programs, activity modification and education. Management of chronic/slow healing wounds of the legs is often done in conjunction with lymphedema treatment.

Modality Treatments
Therapists provide treatments to the arm or hand using heat or cold applications, electrical current or sound waves.

Home Assessments
Our therapy team evaluates a patient’s home environment and provides recommendations to improve safety and independence. This may mean adding grab bars, an elevated toilet seat or a shower bench to the home.

Pediatric/Developmental Therapy
Our therapists help children with a variety of special needs, setting goals to facilitate students’ optimum level of development and maximizing their success. Therapists work closely with school based providers to set outpatient goals to facilitate independence in home environment related to meeting sensory challenges, self care goals, and fine/gross motor play needs.

LSVT Big & Loud
Experiencing tremors, slow movements, impaired balance, and stiffness can create problems with walking and completing daily tasks. Declining vocal strength, muffled speech and difficulty swallowing can create problems with communication and eating. LSVT Big & Loud empowers individuals diagnosed with Parkinson Disease to move BIGGER and speak LOUDER.

Splint Fabrication
Our occupational therapists fabricate splints to improve hand position, hand function, or provide joint stability and protection. Splints are custom-made and created to meet the unique needs of each patient.

Aquatic Therapy
Warm-water therapeutic exercises and bodywork interventions are designed to complement a land-based program to better meet the needs of the patient's care plan.

Hand Therapy
Our team evaluates and treats hand-related injuries that may result in loss of motion or function, pain or swelling. Occupational therapy commonly treats hand, forearm, and elbow conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, wrist fractures or tendon damage due to trauma. Direct Access OT services are available for orthopedic related injuries such as strains/sprains or overuse without a physician’s referral.

Wheelchair Evaluations
We conduct assessments to determine the type of wheelchair and special features it needs for better patient outcomes.

Cognitive Therapy
Our therapeutic activities are designed to restore or compensate for a patient’s attention, memory and problem-solving skills. Clinic-based driving evaluations are available with physician referral. 

Dry Needling
Treatment using fine-gauge needles inserted into/near to myofascial trigger points is performed on chronic conditions for pain relief, along with other therapeutic interventions.

Meet Our Occupational Therapy Team

Cheryl Cade

Allyson Daines

Heather Engh

Amy Evenstad

Tracey Goltz

Sarah Gronemus

Beth Johnson

Jen Pedersen

Ilana Pestcoe
OTR, CLT, Certified LSVT BIG

Kim Simonson

Traci Waters

Heather Wuolle
COTA, CLT, Certified LSVT BIG, Aquatic Therapy Specialist

Andi Yttri

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