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Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists provide hands-on care and teaching to improve a person's ability to participate in the activities of daily life. Occupational therapists adapt tasks and the environment to maximize independence and quality of life. Occupational therapists are part of a comprehensive health care team working towards maximum function and independence at home, work, or school.  


Providence Physical Therapy provides occupational therapy services for outpatients, skilled and acute inpatients at Providence Medical Center, and Providence Home Health patients within a 45-mile radius. Providence Therapy provides therapy services to the residents at Hillcrest Care Center of Laurel, and Wakefield Health Care Center. Providence also provides music therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy services to Laurel and Wayne public schools.

Mission Statement:
Providence Medical Center Therapy staff will respond to physician's orders in an expedient and professional manner, provide ethical outcome-based intervention, and interact with others with respect and a positive attitude.


Hours of Operation:
8 AM to 5 PM  Monday, 7:30 AM to 6 PM Tuesday through Friday

Special appointments may be scheduled on an individual basis

(877) 375-PTOT (7868)

Providence Medical Center 
1200 Providence Road
Wayne, NE 68787
Phone: (402) 375-7937
Toll Free: 877-375-PTOT (7868)
Fax: (402) 375-7956

Providence Therapy Outreach Clinic
699 Cedar Ave.
Laurel, NE 68745
Phone: (402) 256-9551
Fax: (402) 256-9564

Wakefield Health Care Center (located on the west end of the Care Center)
306 Ash St
Wakefield, NE 68784
Phone: (877) 375-PTOT (7868)


Meet our Staff:

Michelle Dietrich, MS, OTR/L. Michelle graduated from Wayne State College and received her Occupational Therapy Degree from the University of South Dakota at Vermillion in 1995. Michelle is an MLD/CDT Certified Lymphedema Therapist, and her other special interests include pediatrics and hand therapy. Michelle is involved in inpatient rehab and is on the discharge planning team. Michelle works at the Wayne and Laurel locations, provides pediatric occupational therapy to students at the Laurel-Concord Public Schools, and provides occupational therapy care to the residents at Hillcrest Care Center.

Pam Downing, OTR/L. Pam Downing is an Occupational Therapist who graduated in 1987 from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. She lives in S.D. and commutes on a part-time basis to Providence Medical Center. Pam enjoys all aspects of Occupational Therapy scopes of practice.

Britni Nordhues, MS OTR/L.  Britni is a life-long resident of Randolph, NE.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State College in 2007 and completed her Master's Degree of Occupational Therapy from the University of South Dakota in 2013.  Britni's interests include orthopedics, driving rehab, geriatrics, and pediatrics.  Britni provides inpatient/outpatient services at Providence Medical Center Therapy in Wayne, treats residents of Wakefield Heatlh Care Center, and provides occupational therapy to students in the Wayne Public Schools.


Therapy Services Offered:

Aquatic Therapy
Aquatic therapy is the fastest growing area of physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation. An aquatic therapy program through PMC offers our patients a chance to have early effective outcomes through active rather than passive treatments. Water supports and challenges, while promoting a return to full function. In summary, an aquatic physical and occupational therapy program gives PMC a chance to provide a service that meets the needs of the communities we serve.

Driving Risk Assessment
Driving provides individuals with independence and freedom; however, it is a complex daily living activity that requires multiple skills. PMC provides off-road (clinic based) driving assessments for patients of all ages to ensure safety of all motorist by making sure drivers are demonstrating safety and adhering to road laws. The occupational therapist gathers standardized and clinically useful information consisting of patient's performance in sensory, physical, cognitive-perceptual, visual, and behavioral assessments. These include but are not limited to the following; reaction time, visual acuity, decision making, judgment, and planning (e.g., needed for making left turns). All of these assessments are shown to have a predictive relationship to the patient's driving performance and safety on the road. Then the results and safety recommendations are given to the patient's doctor to be discussed with the patient. If further evaluation is deemed necessary, the patient will be referred to certified driver rehabilitation specialists (CSRSs) and/or DMV.

PMC therapists work with their patients and PMC employees in evaluating job-related or hobby-related ergonomic hazards. PMC therapists evaluate and redesign workstations to promote optimal posture and body position.

Fall Prevention
Providence Medical Center has a fall prevention program designed to identify and treat people at risk of falling. The goals of this program are to improve client safety. The therapists may also recommend that changes be made to the patient'€™s home in order to improve safety.

Lymphedema is a swelling of a body part, most often an extremity, caused by an abnormal accumulation of lymph (interstitial) fluid. Lymphedema may be caused by an anomaly present at birth, but is more commonly due to events which occur during the lifespan. The following is a list of common causes of lymphedema.

Surgery e.g.: breast cancer, malignant melanoma, prostate and bladder cancer, lymphoma, hysterectomy for cancer, radical groin dissection.


While treatment can vastly improve lymphedema, there is no permanent cure for this disease.

How Does One Prevent Lymphedema?

Avoid temperature extremes (no hot tubs, no sunburns)

Avoid infections and injury

General Consideration

Diet-excellent overall nutrition

Avoid alcohol and nicotine as much as possible

Avoid obesity

Meticulous cleanliness including skin and nail care

Sleep with limb elevated or wrapped

Exercise - walking or swimming

Use hypoallergenic products

Seek treatment for slight changes in lymphedema

Treat infections vigorously

Avoid high-heeled shoes

Travel with limb elevated or wrapped

How is Lymphedema Treated?
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a gentle manual treatment, which improves the activity of the lymph system. MLD reroutes lymph flow around blocked areas into more centrally located, healthy lymph vessels which drain into the venous system.

Compression Bandaging is the application to minimally elastic cotton bandages to increase the tissue pressure in the swollen extremity. Bandaging improves the efficiency of muscle and joint pumps. Bandaging prevents the reaccumulation of evacuated lymph fluid. Bandaging helps break up accumulated scar and connective tissue.

Remedial Exercises are preformed with bandages or the support garment in place. These exercises are designed to improve lymph circulation through the muscle joint pump.

Meticulous Skin and Nail Care eliminates bacterial and fungal growth and reduces the chance of infection.

Benefits of Lymphedema Treatment

Decrease risk/incidence of infection

Prevent progression of disease

Prevent connective and scar tissue formation in affected areas

Improve extremity function for increased ease with activities of daily living, work and leisure

Improve self-esteem

Neurological Services
Clients who have experienced neurological damage, such as stroke or head injury, or have a chronic neurological disease (multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease), may benefit from a complete assessment of his/her functional abilities. Specialized therapy techniques by trained therapists maximize a client's potential for independence and safety in the home and the community. A combination of occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy may be necessary to provide a comprehensive treatment program.

Orthopedics/Sports Medicine
Providence Medical Center therapists perform orthopedic evaluations on patients with acute athletic and work-related injuries, joint conditions and muscular dysfunctions. Providence Therapists have extensive experience in the rehabilitation of total joints on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Providence Medical Center will be offering on-site joint replacement surgery in the fall of 2011.

Providence therapists establish individual treatment programs based on diagnosis, assessment findings, and goals. The staff of therapists and assistants incorporates hands-on treatment techniques and utilizes equipment in each of the 3 spacious outpatient clinics. The therapy staff also has access to exercise equipment in the fully equipped Wellness Center located at Providence Medical Center.

Prosthetic Training
Our therapists, in conjunction with a Prosthetist or Orthotist, train patients in the use of prosthetic or orthotic devices.

Splinting and Braces
PMC therapists are trained in the measurement for and fabrication of appropriate prescribed devices for patients.

Women's Health
PMC Therapy Department offers specialized treatment for a variety of medical conditions affecting women throughout their lives. Following the initial evaluation by a physical therapist, an individual treatment plan is established by the therapist and sent to the woman’s physician for approval.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition with widespread musculoskeletal pain and tender points. Treatment focuses on reducing pain and promoting improved function through hands-on care, exercise, patient education and thermal modalities.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become thin and brittle and more prone to fractures. Therapy treatment focuses on exercise, patient education, and therapeutic modalities to decrease pain. The client may also benefit from a brace or external support. 

Wheelchair Positioning
Wheelchairs are evaluated and properly fitted to each individual, taking into consideration environment, ability, comfort and safety. Wheelchairs may be adapted or modified with equipment to maximize proper alignment of the head, trunk and extremities.


Patient types include:

Musculoskeletal Injuries

muscle strain
ligament sprain
joint inflammation

Post-Surgical Conditions

joint replacement
fracture stabilization
ligament and tendon repair or reconstruction
spinal surgery

Therapy Treatment

hands-on techniques (massage, myofascial release, soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization manual traction, passive and active assistive exercise)
exercise instruction and progression
aquatic therapy
supervised use of exercise equipment
modalities (biofeedback EMG, electrical muscle stimulation, infrared and laser light therapy, heat and/or cold, iontophoresis, mechanical traction, ultrasound and phonophoresis, whirlpool)
mechanical traction (cervical and lumbar)
gait/balance training
brace or splint application
fitting of compression garments for the leg
vestibular rehab/treatment of dizziness

Therapy Goals

restore joint motion
restore muscle strength
increase independence with mobility
decrease pain symptoms
return each patient to full rehabilitative potential



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