June, 2007

SOMC’s Occupational Therapists Helping Patients Overcome Challenges

For many, therapy after an injury or illness has become a commonly known step in healing. The Occupational Therapy staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Services helps patients overcome this great challenge to lead more rewarding lives.

“When my therapy came to an end, it’s odd, but I was honestly sad to be finished,” recent patient David Malone says.“The team became like a family to me and I’m so thankful for all the encouragement and support they provided to get me where I am today.”

The SOMC Occupational Therapy program helps patients regain movement throughout their bodies and also helps return them to the normalcy of everyday life.

“Occupational therapy doesn’t mean helping you in ways that only affect your ability to work,” Mandy Meeker, occupational therapist at SOMC, said. “It really means helping you be able to do things that occupy your life, like getting dressed, writing a letter, socializing or even golfing.”

When Malone started experiencing severe discomfort in his left shoulder in early 2005, he thought it was nothing serious and that the pain would soon go away. “The pain definitely didn’t go away,” he says. “It got to the point where it hurt to even lift my arm, so I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong.”

After an examination, it was determined that Malone was suffering from a severe rotator cuff tear – an injury that often leaves patients unable to complete even the easiest of daily activities. Because of the severity of Malone’s injury, he underwent a total of four surgeries in both his arms over a period of two years.

To increase his ability to use his arms and shoulders after surgery, Malone was ordered to complete six-week sessions of occupational therapy. Malone’s sessions took place three times a week in increasing increments as his ability to use his arms improved.

“We had Dave use a variety of activities including stretching, medicine ball activities and various levels of strengthening exercises to assist him in returning to his prior functional status,” Meeker said. “It was a lot of work, but he stayed with it, and now he’s able to do all the things he loved to do before his surgery.”

The SOMC Rehabilitation Services staff provides assistance to a variety of inpatients and outpatients, including those suffering from back and shoulder problems, neck injuries, arthritis, sprains, stroke and work-related injuries.

“We see various types of orthopedic injuries such as rotator cuff injuries, upper body nerve impingements, fractures and repetitive movement syndromes,” Meeker said. “We also treat patients with lymphedema, urinary incontinence, neurological disorders and in pediatrics.”

SOMC has Rehabilitation offices located in Portsmouth, Lucasville and Wheelersburg. To learn more about the program’s services call 740-356-7554.

SOMC Receives Patriot Award

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently received the Patriotic Employer Award, issued by the National Committee for Employer support of the Guard and Reserves. SOMC received the award for supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force. Brian Bradley, husband of Kim Bradley, Health Care Center staff member, nominated SOMC for the prestigious award after Kim’s work hours were adjusted to allow her to care of her family while Brian was serving in the armed forces. Displaying the award are, from left, Mary Kate Skaggs, Director of Emergency Services; Kim Bradley, HCC; Kathy Lute, Nurse Manager, HCC; Randy Arnett, President and CEO of SOMC; Alberta Penn, HCC; Mary Lou Castle, HCC, and Dawn Wisner, Registration.

SOMC Rehab: Learn About Stroke Before It Strikes

The staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center encourages community members to learn about the risk of stroke before it strikes.

“The longer it takes to receive medical treatment during a stroke, the more brain damage a person tends to have,” Regina Keller, nurse manager of Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, said. “That’s why it’s so important to act immediately and call 911 if you think you may be dealing with any symptom associated with stroke.”

A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain, caused by blocked arteries or broken blood vessels. This causes brains cells to die, leading to brain damage and the loss of speech, movement and/or memory.

Warning symptoms include a numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; trouble speaking or confusion and lack of understanding; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination; and severe headache with no known cause.

“Fewer than one in five people can recognize the warning signs that suggest a stroke is about to occur,” Keller said. “Most of the patients we treat have no idea that what was happening to them was out of the ordinary until it was too late.”

Stroke can occur due to any number of factors including age, gender and a previous family history of the disease. High blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and diabetes also increase the likelihood of experiencing a stroke.

In the case of 58-year-old Glenda Powell, even months after her Jan. 10 battle with the disease, she’s still not aware of the symptoms she suffered prior to her attack.

“She was working at the VA Clinic in Chillicothe when it happened,” Amy Powell, Glenda’s daughter and Inpatient Rehab nurse at SOMC, said. “Some of the staff found her lying on the floor by the stairs and immediately called to get help.”

After rushing Glenda to the hospital, it was determined that she had suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain. This releases blood, damaging nearby tissue and causing a severe amount of damage.

Powell says she was told her mother may never wake up, let alone walk or talk again. But after months of inpatient rehab and strength training exercises at SOMC, Glenda has regained her ability to speak and move and will be going home at the end of this month.

“She can’t walk on her own, but she’s definitely capable of talking, eating and all the things they thought she’d never do again,” Powell said. “Things may never be as perfect as they were before the stroke, but we’re hopeful that with patience and practice, it’ll continue to get there.”

Belinda Diles, unit program director of Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, says the inpatient rehab staff also has set personal goals to continue the stroke education and training they have been receiving over the past year.

“We want to provide our patients with the resources they need after suffering a stroke,” Diles said. “In learning more about stroke awareness, we hope to further the quality care we provide to our patients, as well as our path to becoming the leading provider of stroke rehabilitation services in our area.” For more information on stroke awareness, visit www.americanheart.org.

Schoettle Receives Notre Dame Student’s Artwork For New Office

Pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Schoettle (left) recently accepted a donated piece of artwork from Notre Dame High School Junior Kyla Curnutte (right) and Notre Dame Art Instructor Anissa Harr, to help decorate her office. Dr. Schoettle relocated to Suite 201, Medical Office Building C on the SOMC Main Campus, and had to leave behind several wall murals in her former office that were created by other students in Harr’s earlier Notre Dame classes. Harr plans to have students work on additional artwork for Dr. Schoettle’s office in the coming school year.

Local Runners Support Steven’s Hope Fund

Ten of the local runners who participated in the Flying Pig Marathon May 6 in Cincinnati comprised a “Team Steven” group, raising funds for the Steven’s Hope Fund. The fund was established in honor of the late Steven Hunter, a Portsmouth native committed to community service, civic duty and a strong faith. The runners collectively raised more than $11,000 for the fund established by his parents, Mark and Virgie Hunter. The fund will be used to establish a perpetual fund for the benefit of students who attend Portsmouth High School and have financial needs. For more information including a donation form, visit www.stevenshopefund.org. Shown at the marathon are runners (from left) Tim Cyrus, Mark Hunter, Mike Gampp, Greg Malone, Rick Clark, Jon Clark, Samantha Austin and Mark Austin (not pictured, runners Rue Sanders and Jennifer Hatcher).

Coterie Officers Elected

The Coterie Guild has announced officers for the coming year. The voluntary group works to support the Pediatrics Department of Southern Ohio Medical Center through fund-raising activities. Shown are (back row, l-r): Bobbi Sammons, publicist; Lanita Warner, corresponding secretary; Brande Charles, treasurer; Jackie Weber-Johnson, recording secretary; Danielle Brooks, Coterie Cooks chair; Julie Sanders-Johnson, co-president; front (l-r): Kelly Carter, vice-president; Jaime Madden, second vice-president; Jill Preston, co-president.