BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- To get a handle on this gripping tale, beneficiaries just need to know that Naval Hospital Bremerton's Occupational Therapy clinic provides a handy specialty service.
With April designated as Occupational Therapy Month, Navy occupational therapists are showcasing their holistic approach to rehabilitation and treatment of physical, psychological and emotional injuries with the focus on upper extremities - elbow, forearm, wrist, finger(s) and especially hands.
"Our Occupational Therapy clinic is primarily an outpatient hand therapy service. We use a team approach to the treatment of a wide variety of upper extremity problems by providing prompt evaluation and treatment for patients with hand and upper extremity disorders," said Lt. Angela Sadosky, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Chiropractic Services Department Head.
Talk about a hands-on experience to help overcome those handicapped with an injury and feeling handcuffed by limitations.
According to Sadosky, the Occupational Therapy clinic works closely with providers in other departments, including physicians, physical therapists and especially orthopedic physicians. They use the multidisciplinary team approach to heal, teach and rehabilitate those in need who have suffered an illness, injury or any other kind of impairment. Once a patient has received a consult from their provider, Sadosky and her team set up an appointment and get to work on behalf of - and with - the patient.
"What we do with every patient is very functional based. We want our patients to be able to do daily functions and normal activities. There's an initial complete evaluation including past medical history assessment, then a current diagnosis where the patient is asked what his/her goals are to accomplish. With their help, we want to restore and improve their range of motion, grip strength, and fix motor coordination," Sadosky said.
The common injuries seen by NHB's Occupational Therapy clinic are lacerated tendon(s) on a finger(s), tendinitis - inflammation - and fractures associated with the hand, wrist, and forearm. Another unique, yet common injury in the military is trigger-finger, which Sadosky describes as inflammation that pinches and restricts the nerve of the finger. Then there's carpal tunnel syndrome.
"Most think that carpal tunnel is a work-related injury. But there are various ways to get it. Getting carpal tunnel is not just limited to work. We can't always diagnose that it happened on the job. The nerves in a wrist can get pinched due to sleeping at night in an awkward position for the wrist, or can even be a genetic trait. The wrist bone and structure is complex," explained Sadosky.
Sadosky's team consists of Ms. Teri Nyblom, Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant, and American Red Cross Volunteer Mr. Charles Olson, Occupational Therapist, and Certified Hand Therapist. They rehabilitate patients for functional daily living skills by helping them handle such needs as bathing, dressing and eating with or without the use of adaptive devices. They assess patients who may require aiding devices and provide custom-made splints/garments for an ailment or condition, and also educate patients in ergonomics, especially in the work place.
"Think about it, our hand is such an important part of what we do every day and most of us take it for granted. We use it to explore, feel, manipulate, grasp, even gesture. Our hands are so important to our everyday life and our normal activities. If that ease of use is somehow limited, then it can impact everything that we do," stated Sadosky.
Along with patients who have been injured, the occupational therapists also work with patients who have suffered a stroke or had a debilitating disease.
"We want to make the patient as independent as possible with their everyday living. Even with a stroke or traumatic brain injury patient, we will work on their cognitive capability such as cooking at home and not only picking up a pot off the stove, but remembering to turn it off," Sadosky said.
Sadosky is one of 36 occupational therapists in the Navy and has been in the field for 11 years. She has worked in a burn unit, helped in a pediatric clinic setting and will soon be participating in the Pacific Partnership 2017 humanitarian mission. She is slated to head to Vietnam to evaluate, teach and share occupational therapy medical treatment and intervention techniques as part of the in-country subject matter expert exchange mission.
"I love being an occupational therapist. The need for occupational therapy in the Navy and in the military as a whole began in the Second World War. It has been personally and professionally rewarding to be able to help with our mission readiness," added Sadosky.
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Naval Hospital Bremerton, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhb/.