Gordon Memorial Health Services would like to announce the addition of Renee Fortin to the Physical Therapy department as a registered and licensed Occupational Therapist. Fortin is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine and earned her Bachelor degree in Psychology, a certificate in Gerontology and a Master’s in Occupational Therapy.
As an occupational therapist Fortin works with the whole person in mental, physical and behavioral health. She helps people improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living environments. Fortin works with individuals who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling. Fortin also helps them to develop, recover, or maintain daily living skills. Occupational therapists assist clients in performing daily activities such as dressing, cooking, eating, driving, bathing, and getting things done on time and in a preferred standard. An OT’s goal is to help clients have independent, productive, and satisfying lives. “With occupational therapy we get to look at your daily life and make adjustments so you can do what you need to do but also what you want to do. We often get to use tasks that are meaningful to you to accomplish this,” stated Fortin.
“In the past I’ve had patients who had balance difficulties and decreased weakness and we’ve practiced fly fishing in the yard to address these deficits. Not only did we get to work on the things that they needed on a daily basis, increasing their dynamic balance and increasing their upper body strength, but they got to work on perfecting their cast again!” said Fortin. “Bringing Renee’s services and expertise to our area will be a huge asset to our community. She is able to treat a wide variety of conditions to improve patients function and quality of life,” Stated Physical Therapy Manager Haley Bidroski, “This service is something patients would have to normally travel long distances to receive”.
Occupational therapy services can be utilized for you or a family member after being diagnosed with a new health condition, an aging parent that wants to remain at home, or if someone you know is experiencing depression and having trouble doing everyday activities. An occupational therapist will keep the focus on the things you need, your goals, your activities and your independence.
“Our professions’ focus is to ensure that our patients’ mind, bodies, and environment allow for engagement in activities. For example, tasks such personal hygiene, health management and rest to leisure tasks and feeding their livestock are things to consider addressing through occupational therapy,” continued Fortin, “ I typically start each evaluation with an assessment of your daily routine and go from there, with a primary focus on increasing your satisfaction in the way you perform your tasks.”
Occupational Therapy can help with any of the following:
Self-cares (eating, feeding, functional mobility, personal device care, personal hygiene); Adaptive equipment or positioning devices; Anger Management techniques associated with engagement in activities; COPD; Cognitive and memory changes; Community Accessibly ; Fatigue; Low Endurance; Compensatory Techniques; Movement Disorders; Fall Risk Assessments; Contractures or decreased Range of Motion; Developmental Delay; Socialization Issues; Energy Conservation/Work Fatigue with actual job or self-cares; Generalized Weakness; Difficulty with mobility of any kind; Vision Impairment; Wheelchair Assessment; Self-feeding, weight loss from difficulty with eating; Rest and sleep difficulties; Home management, safety, inaccessibility; Car fitness tests for appropriate ergonomics (non-driving assessments); Behavioral Difficulties; Hearing Impairment; Incoordination; Medical Diagnoses:; Arthritis; Amputations; Hand pain, arthritis, weakness; Spinal cord injuries, TBI; CVA; ADHD, ADD; Neurobehavioral Dysfunction; Any neurological Disease; Dementia; COPD, CHF.
“Many times, patients will be seen by both Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy following an injury, medical event, CVA or decline in function,” stated Bidroski, “PT and OT compliment each other while working on different areas to meet the patient’s goals. For instance, a stroke patient may focus on arm rehabilitation to be able to write in OT and in PT focus on walking and mobility with one overall goal of returning back to work.”
Fortin’s primary focus right now is Gordon Memorial Health Services’ outpatient clinics, and Gordon Countryside Care Residents. “I whole-heartedly enjoy working here in Gordon. It’s energizing when my patients enjoy participating in occupational therapy. When we break down a task that they haven’t been able to engage in for months or even years...and then we figure out a way to overcome those barriers and watch their quality of life increase drastically are the moments that I strive for,” stated Fortin.
In her spare time Fortin enjoys spending time with her dog Edison, camping, traveling, reading and doing bodywork on her IH Scout 800 with her fiancé.
Fortin is at Gordon Memorial Health Services every Tuesday and Thursday. To schedule an appointment please contact your Medical Provider today.