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TCU therapist describes how she helps people recover, regain important parts of their lives

TCU therapist describes how she helps people recover, regain important parts of their lives

woman putting pans in cupboard

Almost daily Traci Means witnesses firsthand the effects of aging and the challenges of overcoming injuries caused by accidents. As an occupational therapist at Campbell County Health's Transitional Care Unit, it's her job to help people recover and regain important parts of their lives.

"We work toward the patient becoming independent in their daily living activities, this includes dressing, cooking, making coffee, bathing, and much more," Traci said. "We can provide comprehensive rehabilitation."

While occupational therapists like Traci work with patients on everyday tasks, physical therapists at TCU work with patients on mobility. TCU's five occupational therapists and five physical therapists work closely with patients to rebuild their bodies and regain their strength. Other therapy services on site include speech therapy, wound care and nursing services among others.

An evaluation helps the therapists create an individual program for each patient. With patients, the therapists set goals and benchmarks to help patients work their way back to some sense of normal.

"Therapists collaborate with the client and his or her family regarding functional goals and plans for the future," Traci said. "Many people who work hard in therapy can return to their prior level of functioning."

Some therapy sessions include shopping trips to Walmart or Kmart, so patients can learn to better navigate the normal daily activity of going to the grocery store. Other sessions include going to restaurants to practice how to get in and out of a restaurant booth.

woman in shower

"We do all of these things so they can feel confident and safe in their environment when they go home," Traci said.

Before patients are released from TCU, the therapists also often complete a home assessment or home evaluation to determine if there are some simple modifications that can be made to better accommodate the patient's needs. Some quick fixes might include adding hand rails in the bathroom or removing thick carpeting or rugs.

"We offer ideas for home modification or adaptive equipment," Traci said.

For Traci, the work isn't just about giving people the tools they need to get through daily life, but it's also about building relationships with the patients and celebrating their successes together. Traci said she enjoys helping people reach their highest potential.

"We are blessed to work with many great people," Traci said. "You form a friendship and a bond."

Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer