Working with a Certified Hand Therapist Benefits Patients and Physicians

People value the use of their hands; therefore any loss of function through injury or disease can devastate lives.


For Shannon Trapp of Woodruff, a dual diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and fibromyalgia hampered her ability to make her own jewelry, an activity she enjoyed.


Some of the symptoms Trapp noticed were tremors and chronic pain in her upper body that, in the end, had a significant impact on her hands, speech and thoughts. 


“It got to the point where I could not wrap the wires anymore, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not do it,” said Trapp. “It was not only my hands, but the process of thinking through how to design and develop was becoming increasingly more difficult.”


After years of traveling outside of the area for therapy services, Trapp and her husband who is also rehabilitating after a stroke turned to Occupational Therapist Patience Lamers, a certified hand and lymphedema therapist at Howard Young Medical Center, part of Ascension.


Lamers has been providing therapy services in the Northwood’s for more than fifteen years, the last 12 at Howard Young. She recently renewed her credentials as an expert in upper limb rehabilitation from the Hand Therapy Certification Commission, Inc., the recognized specialist organization in hand therapy certification worldwide. Lamers has held the certification since 2013 and is one of approximately 6,200 therapists worldwide that hold this marked designation.


“While many people assume a hand therapist focuses exclusively on the hands, it’s really much more than that as often people’s problems are the direct result of other issues in the neck and shoulders,” said Lamers. “The can be many factors to consider what may be causing pain or loss of function.”


Trapp says that she and her husband have found peace of mind knowing that access to services like a certified hand therapist are available close to home at Howard Young. “It’s more than just convenience, we value our relationship with Patience and are relieved to know she is close by to help us manage our conditions,” said Trapp.


Rehabilitation Department Renovations at Howard Young Medical Center

Lamers is not only dedicated to her patients, but is also excited for the future of therapy services at Howard Young.


Her most recent appointment with Trapp took place on the hospitals fourth floor in a temporary exam room while the long time rehabilitation services department location on the first floor is under construction as part of a $5 million dollar renovation project currently underway at Howard Young.


“We are so excited for the opportunity to provide our wide array of therapy services in our remodeled department,” said Lamers.


Renovations include fully updating all interior finishes and remodeling designated spaces to improve safety, patient experience and workflow. Key services in the rehabilitation area include cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, massage, physical, occupational and speech related therapies will benefit from this updated setting. Patients treated in the Wound Clinic will find significantly enhanced treatment rooms and pediatric therapy patients will have enhanced and dedicated areas for care.


Other overall improvements will be made to increase energy efficiency and create more accessible restrooms and open space for walking and exercise. Parking for therapy patients also will be addressed by moving it closer to the building and extending a canopy over the main entrance for more convenient access, especially during inclement weather. Traffic on the west side of the hospital will be re-routed away from the rehabilitation entrance to make access to the area safer for patients and their escorts. 


The project also includes renovation of Howard Young’s Emergency Department.


Completion is expected later this spring.


Rehabilitation referrals can be made by advanced practice nurses, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, physical therapists, physicians, physician assistants, podiatrists, psychologists, or other health care professionals.


More Information

For additional information on Rehabilitation Services provided by Ascension at Howard Young Medical Center, please call 715-356-8870.