By Jolie Koesters | Therapy Services

Elizabeth Labadie, OT

When you’re faced with barriers in life due to disability, injury or illness, an occupational therapist is the person who asks “What matters to you?” instead of “What’s the matter with you?”

In its simplest terms, occupational therapists (OTs) help people do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of occupations. [“Occupations” in this sense are the ordinary yet meaningful activities we perform everyday that add value to our lives and allow us to perform our daily routines and roles.]

What I love about occupational therapy

I love the flexibility and creativity that comes with being an OT. My profession has such a diverse scope of practice that it really gives the therapist the freedom and flexibility to incorporate so many unique and relevant options into our patients’ treatment plans.

I get to work closely with my patients to improve their overall function in their daily lives. It is satisfying to evaluate what people struggle with and find ways to adapt the environment or task to fit the person.

How occupational therapy improves lives

I worked with a patient who had previously suffered a distal radius fracture or broken wrist. Even though her injury had healed, she continued to struggle with mobility in her wrist and fingers. One of her joys was riding her motorcycle, but due to pain and decreased range of motion, she was unable to continue.

We developed a treatment plan to decrease her pain and improve her range of motion so she was able to resume her passion and ride her motorcycle again.

It is wonderful to see patients overcome the barriers preventing them from doing things that matter most to them. When people regain or improve a skill, their independence and satisfaction increase in other aspects of life.

A gratifying experience

One of my most recent favorite professional experiences was with a patient who was being seen by our clinic manager, Dr. Lili Wells, PT. The patient struggled to use her dominant hand to pick up objects such as her purse and plates. Lili asked if I could provide any exercises or tips to help our patient regain these functions. I created an exercise plan designed to improve strength and range of motion. I was hopeful that progress would follow.

At her very next visit, the patient told me that she was already able to pick up her purse with improved ease and no pain. That may seem like a small accomplishment. Yet for those who struggle with such basic yet necessary activities, it means so much in terms of increasing independence and feeling functional in their daily lives.

As therapy professionals, my peers and I share a passion for helping people of all ages maintain health and live better after injury, illness, or disability. We design our treatment plans and timelines to help our patients reach their goals. At RehabVisions Fairfield, our patients are an integral part of the therapy team.

If you’re struggling with pain, injury or disability, we can help you live life to its fullest. To schedule an appointment with Elizabeth Labadie, or any of our therapy professionals, call 641-469-3130.



April 21, 2021