At Atrium Health, our occupational therapists believe that incorporating real-life activities into therapy – like cooking after a hand injury or doing a mock job interview after a stroke – can accelerate recovery.

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Occupational Therapy: Empowering Everyday Living

At Atrium Health, our occupational therapists believe that incorporating real-life activities into therapy – like cooking after a hand injury or doing a mock job interview after a stroke – can accelerate recovery. We tailor therapy to meet exact goals and needs, from getting back to work, to moving more comfortably.

Occupational therapy (OT) is a science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to participate in daily living or live better with injury, illness, or disability. This is accomplished through designing strategies for everyday living and customizing environments to develop and maximize potential.

At Atrium Health, we offer inpatient and outpatient occupational therapy (OT) services through Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute and Atrium Health Carolinas Rehabilitation. Our OT services are staffed by highly-trained occupational therapists and assistants that provide care for infants through the geriatric population, across multiple specialties. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are experts in helping people perform the work they need and want to do every day.

Take an inside look behind-the-scenes of these Atrium Health teammates through the eyes of Lindsey Diers, an occupational therapist with Carolinas Rehabilitation.

Lindsey Diers, OT, CHT, has been an occupational therapist for 14 years, specializing in hand therapy for 11 of those years and became a certified hand specialist (CHT) in 2014.  She works in the Carolinas Rehabilitation Gateway clinic alongside Lindsay Sposato, OT, CHT, with Smiresh Shah, M.D., and Joshua Colombo, MPAS (Master of Physician Assistant Studies) of Piedmont Orthopedic Specialists.

“I love hand therapy because of the detailed, anatomically based rehabilitation mindset and the level of return to function our patients achieve,” says Diers. “It’s great to see them recover and get back to work and independence. Helping a patient correct disorders of the limbs by use of braces and other devices to correct alignment or provide support is my favorite part of hand therapy because it is a creative process that is very detailed and fun. I enjoy being able to create custom thermoplastic orthotics to facilitate movement and help protect healing surgeries.”

Diers says that working with Dr. Shah is amazing because he’s so hands-on with his patients. He’ll stop by to check on them and collaborates on their treatment protocols based on how things went in surgery. The team has been able to progress patient care quicker than average and with better results because of this communication. Diers stresses how important it is to maintain close communication between the physician and therapist so there’s no risk of delaying the progress and causing rehab to be more conservative.

“Dr. Shah has let me observe surgery which was very educational and an awesome experience,” she says. “It’s great to be able to tell a patient that I’ve watched the surgery that they had, and that experience lets me speak more directly to what happened during surgery and how it drives their recovery.”

Diers notes that the communication with Dr. Shah provides a better patient care experience and inspires confidence in patients.

“As a surgeon, I believe it is invaluable to have hand therapy in the office where we see our patients,” adds Dr. Shah. “Many times, the team and I have needed to discuss a patient’s care and having the patient in front of us together has made the communication so clear.”

These collaborative relationships are one of the many reasons Carolinas Rehabilitation Gateway’s orthopedic hand outcomes rank in the 98th percentile according to FOTO, a leading management system focused on patient outcomes across 5,000 therapy clinics across the nation.

As one of the nation’s leading – and largest – rehabilitation providers, Atrium Health delivers comprehensive, state-of-the-art care and top outcomes. Named a Best Rehabilitation Hospital by U.S. News & World Report, we offer an unmatched level of expertise in the Southeast. Our board-certified doctors, nurses and therapists specialize in innovative, personalized therapy for common to complex conditions due to injury or illness. Learn more.