SMITH CENTER, Kan. – Smith County Memorial Hospital is once again expanding services. Alisa Pahls recently joined the staff as a full-time occupational therapist. She began work in the hospital’s rehab services department in early November.
“We’re thrilled to be adding to our staff and expanding our patient services,” said Allen Van Driel, CEO of the hospital. “We have offered occupational therapy in the past, but never had a full-time staff member dedicated to these services.”
Pahls has three years of experience in outpatient therapy, home health, skilled nursing and hospital settings. She is eager to work with all age groups in her role at SCMH.
“I am looking forward to helping patients at SCMH live life to the fullest,” Pahls said. “Whether it’s working with toddlers to develop skills through play or older adults who are experiencing physical and cognitive changes, I want to support their goals to improve their quality of life.”
Occupational therapy is needed when a person has trouble completing the “occupations” required to perform daily functions. Most people do not realize they need help until they can no longer perform these functions. There are “occupations” at every stage of life and people of every age group can benefit from occupational therapy.
Therapy can include treating specific impairments that hinder independence such as strength or balance, making environmental modifications to prevent injury from falls, treatment to increase cognitive function or address loss of vision and more.
“Today I saw a patient who was 99 years old and received a referral for a one-year-old,” Pahls said. “OT really spans all stages of life and can offer a wide range of support including developing fine motor skills, recovering from a stroke or slowing the progression of dementia.”
Pahls has big plans for the program at SCMH.
In addition to her current training and experience, Pahls is working to add certification for Parkinson’s treatment.
She is also beginning to put together a CarFit program for the spring. The program is nationally recognized by AARP and AAA as an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their car “fits” them.
Pahls will work with community members to make sure they can get in and out of their vehicle safely, make sure their mirrors are correctly positioned and generally help attendees feel more comfortable using their cars.
If you would like to receive occupational therapy services or learn more about SCMH services, contact your provider for a referral.