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Pain and immobility to progress


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TCMH’s Rehabilitation Services staff, front from left: Terri Hummel, MPT; Ellen Willis, MPT, CWS, CLT-LANA; Kaitlyn Ehlers, MOT, OTR/L. Back from left: Michelle Kempf, PTA; Kathi Hale, Sec.; Lance King, PTA; Dana Terrill, DPT.
By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

“No pain, no gain” is a phrase one hears frequently in sports. From personal experience, such is physical therapy. The exception was that I was already in pain from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. No one enjoys pain or being uncomfortable, but one may experience it due to unforeseen circumstances such as accidents, strokes or sports injuries. Many types of medical issues can warrant rehabilitative therapy to progress to a more livable resolution.
Texas County Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Services offer a local choice, including aquatic facilities, to area residents when Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy or Speech Therapy is the recommended treatment. Their treatment programs are based on the individual’s needs, from the beginning of treatment and throughout the course of treatment. Patients appreciate the consideration of not being forced beyond their tolerance level and their tolerance level is checked frequently throughout treatment.
Situations that oftentimes warrant one or multiple types of therapy can include stroke and stroke rehabilitation, injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, sports injuries with or without concussion, vertigo requiring BPPV treatment, work hardening (endurance treatment for returning to job related activities) and after orthopedic surgery. By no means is this list exhaustive, and it definitely warrants speaking to your physician if rehabilitative services could benefit you.
Physical Therapy is a branch of allied health that aims to ease pain and help return a patient to full function. It assists with gross motor skills that help you move and live better; this includes orthopedics, neurological, aquatics, wound care, lymphedema and pediatrics. (TCMH does minimal pediatric physical therapy, depending on the child and the diagnosis.)
Occupational Therapy helps people get back to daily activities after a health setback. This therapy focuses on helping children and adults with fine motor skills and function in daily life or school. This therapy includes neurological, orthopedics, autism and pediatrics.
Speech Therapy focuses on the treatment of communication problems such as speech disorders, swallowing dysfunction and cognitive therapy.
The rehabilitation staff also works in the medical surgical department, ICU, and occasionally helps in ER within the hospital. The physical therapists also provide home health therapy through Home Health of the Ozarks.
They are individually trained and experienced in many different types of treatment. Yet they all work together to help their patients progress and get better.
“I want to be able to help people, making people better and getting them back to their normal lives. Being able to get to know patients on a personal level and being able to help some patients that no other treatment has worked for, and then they do PT and it actually helps, is very satisfying,” says Terri Hummel, MPT, expressing why she chose therapy, as well as expressing the sentiment of her fellow employees.
This philosophy is conveyed to the patient with a positive attitude and with explanations that go a long way towards making the experience less painful. Privacy is respected with the patient/therapist interaction and with others in the department. The facilities are very clean and well maintained. The therapists are personable, persistent, patient and professional in their dealing with the patients and each other.
It is believed the first physical therapist at TCMH was Ken Schanda, who was hired in 1977. Terri Driesel proceeded him, followed by Ellen Willis, Physical Therapy Director. The therapy department was originally located in one small room at the end of the south wing, which is no longer a part of the hospital. Following the one room clinic, physical therapy shared a building on Hwy. 17 with the TCMH Fitness Center. The department quickly outgrew this location, and in November 2001 they moved to their current location within the hospital.
TCMH’s Rehabilitation Services are available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Kathi Hale, the department secretary, is friendly and efficient when scheduling appointments.
The TCMH Rehabilitation Services staff are: Ellen K. Willis, MPT, CWS, CLT-LANA; 19 years with TCMH (2001); BS in Biology from SBU, Master of Physical Therapy from SBU; Nationally Certified Lymphedema (lymph node removal or lymphatic system injuries) Therapist; Certified Wound Specialist; and LSVT BIG method for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.
Willis shares, “I am most satisfied by watching my patients improve and get better. I enjoy educating each one along the way. Helping someone with a long-term chronic wound reach full healing is also amazing. I enjoy meeting so many different people and interacting with them and their families.”
Dana Terrill, DPT; Five years with TCMH; BS in Biology at Pittsburg State University; Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Wichita State University; Inpatient, outpatient, home health and aquatic therapy. Says Terrill, “I find it satisfying, finding a problem and fixing it.
Terri Hummel, MPT; Masters of Physical Therapy at St. Louis University; Hummel will be BIG certified by the end of the year; two years with TCMH; The first three years of her career were with TCMH, she married and moved, then returning to be closer to home (Ill.); 15 years of experience in inpatient and outpatient settings with significant experience in manual therapy especially for back pain.
Lance King, PTA; Graduated from Ozark Technical College in Ozark, Mo., with Associate of Arts Allied Health Degree; Lance is also certified in LSVT BIG treatment for Parkinson’s disease patients; eight years with TCMH; Inpatient, outpatient and home health; “I received therapy while in high school for football injuries and saw the importance of the job and how it got me back to doing the things I love to do. Now I enjoy meeting lots of people and helping them rehabilitate from their injuries so they can enjoy their passions,” said King.
Michelle Kempf, PTA; BS in General Biology with a Psychology minor from NW Missouri State University, Assoc. of Art PTA from Kansas Community College, K.C.; 1-1/2-years with TCMH; Experience includes student rotations experience in Acute Rehab, mostly with patients after a stroke or spinal cord injury. Senior Behavioral Health Unit, skilled nursing facility, out patient, in-patient and aquatic therapy. Interested in wound care and becoming certified in LSVT BIG by the end of the year; “Watching my grandparents go through PT and having to go through PT myself got me interested in PT.  Now I’m helping people reach their goals and get back to activities they enjoy,” comments Kempf.
Kaitlyn Ehlers, MOT, OTR/L; Master’s of Occupational Therapy. Received bachelor and master’s degrees from University of Missouri; two years with TCMH; Ehlers was raised on a beef farm in Texas County and her parents are still here. Her experience includes 4-1/2-years in pediatrics, geriatric rehab at skilled nursing facilities and outpatient therapy. Ehlers shares, “I was drawn to occupational therapy because of how diverse our therapy is and how important each aspect of OT is. I love how I can work with each individual to target their personal goals to be independent in various ways that are important to them. While incorporating fun activities to facilitate that independence for each person I work with.”
Lynn Stringer, MS, CCC-SLP (Speech Language Pathologist).
Kathi Hale, TCMH Rehab Secretary; 17 years with TCMH; Hale was born and raised in Houston; “I enjoy watching our patients feel better and not having pain, and getting to know people in the community,” says Hale.

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