By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian
As a girl, Cortney Corder was at a nursing home once where her mother worked and witnessed an occupational therapist treating a patient.
“I observed an OT making an adaptive utensil for a patient,” Corder said. “She had arthritic hands and she couldn’t use a regular fork, and she made one that she could use.
“That piqued my interest, and from then on, I became interested in OT.”
Now Corder, a native of Barbour County, works as an occupational therapist at the Fairmont Rehabilitation Center of Fairmont General Hospital, along with her boss, Luke Davis, the director of rehabilitation.
Both Corder and Davis work with outpatients at the Fairmont General HealthPlex site in South Fairmont, while a third OT, Meagan Seremetis, works with inpatients at Fairmont General.
April is Occupational Therapy Month, as designated by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Because of that, Davis wanted to spread awareness about what occupational therapists do and how they differ from physical therapists.
Like physical therapists, OTs can help a patient relieve pain, overcome injuries and work on flexibility. But they also work adapting tools to patients’ needs so they can perform tasks many people take for granted, such as tying shoes, buttoning buttons and opening jars.
“Adaptive equipment education and recommendation is a very important part of an occupational therapist’s job,” Davis said. “There is adaptive equipment for anything and everything that is difficult.”