April 9, 2002

Contact:    Jennifer Kurczek
                Community Relations Director

                (920)361-5481 or jkurczek@partnershealth.org


For immediate release


CHN’s Proformance team celebrates National Occupational Therapy Month


April 2002 has been designated as National Occupational Therapy Month by the American Occupational Therapy Association, and Community Health Network’s Proformance team is celebrating by helping to raise awareness about the diversity of that healthcare field.


Occupational Therapy is a health and rehabilitation profession designed to help people regain or build skills that are important for their health, security, well-being and independence. Occupational Therapy practitioners work with people of all ages who, because of physical, developmental, or emotional deficits, may need specialized assistance in gaining skills that enable them to lead independent, productive and satisfying lives.


Beyond the Workplace

People who are unfamiliar with the field of Occupational Therapy may think it only entails getting people who are injured or displaced back into the workforce because the definition of “occupation” is a “trade, business or profession.”


Sandi Noffke, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant for Proformance agrees the field goes beyond the workplace.  “Another meaning of the term occupation is ‘that which chiefly engages ones time.’ This can be interpreted in many different ways including, activities performed daily in your home, such as bathing and dressing, meal or homemaking tasks, as well as hobbies or leisure time activities.  Our lives need to be balanced between work, home and leisure activities in order to be healthy and happy,” she said.


Additionally, Occupational Therapy can also prevent injury or the worsening of existing conditions or disabilities. It promotes independent functioning in individuals who may otherwise require long term care and help many people return safely to their homes.


Aside from dealing with physical well-being, OT practitioners address psychological, social and environmental factors that may impede independent functioning in all aspects of life.  This unique perspective makes OT a critical part of an effective health care program, Noffke said.


In fact, OT practitioners work with a wide variety of clients such as those:

·         With work related or repetitive motion injuries.

·         Who have had strokes or heart attacks.

·         With arthritis, multiple sclerosis or other serious illnesses.

·         Children with birth injuries, learning difficulties, or developmental disabilities.

·         With mental health problems.

·         With burns, spinal cord injuries or amputations.

·         With broken bones or other injuries as a result of a fall, sporting activity, or accident.

·         Who opt for elective surgery.

·         Geriatric residents in long term care facilities to maximize independence with activities of daily living.


Services provided by OT practitioners include activities of daily living training, adaptive equipment evaluation and recommendations, home safety assessments, functional capacity evaluations, ergonomic/body mechanics training and safety programs in the workplace, cross bow evaluations, work hardening programs, upper extremity strengthening and conditioning, and hand therapy.


Accessing Occupational Therapy

In order to begin an Occupational Therapy program, patients must first obtain a referral from their primary care physicians. Then, they choose the rehabilitation facility most convenient that is covered under their insurance plan. It is not necessary to utilize the facility a referring physician is located at; Occupational Therapy practitioners are required to correspond periodically with patients’ physicians regarding the plan of care and progress made in treatment.


Closer to Home: The Proformance OT Team

Proformance’s team of Occupational Therapy practitioners serve patients at Berlin Memorial Hospital, Juliette Manor, CHN Home Care, Ripon Proformance & Rehab, Wautoma Medical Complex, and Wild Rose Community Hospital.  The team includes:

·        Bill Bergthold, OTR, who has been on staff at CHN for more than six 6-1/2 years, and has extensive experience with upper extremity/hand injuries, work hardening, and evaluations of all types, including cross bow and functional capacity evaluations.

·        Denice Braaksma, OTR, affiliated with CHN for six months with six years prior experience. Braaksma’s focus includes inpatients, outpatients, and geriatrics, and performing all types of evaluations including home health and home safety assessments.

·        Jeanette Braun, OTR, has been part of the CHN team for two years, and provides inpatient and geriatric services, as well as outpatient consultations at Wild Rose Hospital and the Wautoma Medical Complex.

·        Sandi Noffke, COTA, has been with the CHN for five years and has experience serving outpatients at the Berlin, Wautoma, and Wild Rose locations, as well as Home Care, hospital inpatients and the geriatric population.

·        Meg Roggow, COTA, affiliated with CHN for 5 years, brings extensive geriatric experience to residents of Juliette Manor.

·        Sue Stumpner, COTA/PTA, has been on staff at CHN in various capacities for 22 years, and specializes in care to Home Care clients.


More information regarding Proformance’s Occupational Therapy services can be obtained by calling Proformance at (920)361-5534 or 1-800-236-1283 ext 5534.


A member of Community Health Network, Proformance Fitness & Rehab offers a full scale of fitness, sports medicine, and rehab programs including physical therapy, speech therapy, cardiac therapy and occupational therapy at locations in Berlin, Ripon, Wautoma, and Montello.