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National Rehabilitation Week Celebrates with a new location for physical and occupational therapy at the NHCC

There are many new and exciting changes occurring at the Northome Healthcare Center. A remodel is currently being done on the physical and occupational therapy area by Encompass Interiors, an experienced, educated and certified company who specializes in healthcare design. As of Oct. 1, the physical therapy and occupational therapy offices will be relocating to two rooms on the main floor of the Northome Healthcare Center.

The therapy department consists of two very dedicated and knowledgeable women -- Carol Thurlby and Michelle Furuseth. Therapy is available five days per week, Monday through Friday, holidays and weekends when needed.

Thurlby, program director, leads the physical therapy program. Thurlby has been practicing since 1986. She works for RehabCare and is contracted through the NHCC. NHCC has had Thurlby as an employee within the therapy department since May 2003. Thurlby commented, "We both enjoy serving the community that we live in." She currently resides in Northome with her husband, Leroy Thurlby.

The occupational therapy program is led by Furuseth. She also offers cognitive and dysphagia therapy on an as needed basis. She is an employee of RehabCare and has been working with NHCC since August 2004. Furuseth and her husband, David, reside at their Island Lake home.

So, what's the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy? Many people are curious about the relationship between occupational therapy and physical therapy. There is often confusion around these two terms and many people think that the two vocations are one and the same. However, there are distinct differences between the two professions.

The physical therapy website states the following: "Occupational therapy primarily focuses on evaluating and improving a persons' functional ability. An occupational therapist does not directly treat a person's injury but helps a person optimize their independence and ability to accomplish their daily activities following an injury or in situations of physical impairment. Occupational therapy has to do with improving life skills and often involves adaptive tools at times customized by the therapist.

"Physical therapy is focused more on treating a person's injury itself and on helping to prevent injuries. The physical therapist will diagnose and treat the physical source of the problem; the injured tissues and structures. The extensive training in anatomy and the musculoskeletal system results in a physical therapist usually being more knowledgeable about musculoskeletal injuries and rehabilitation than a medical doctor."

Like many things in life, people take everyday commonplace things for granted. It's surprising at the lack of appreciation one has regarding their physical condition until it is in jeopardy. Thanks to Thurlby and Furuseth our small community is very lucky to have such excellent therapists.

According to U.S. News and World Report, physical therapy and occupational therapy have made it to the best jobs list for 2010. The employment for physical therapists is expected to rise by 30 percent between 2008 and 2018. Occupational therapist employment also sees a career rise of 26 percent within the same time period. The city of Northome and the surrounding communities have been set apart with an incredible therapy program.

It can be a long road back when recovering from a disabling injury or illness. But when people realize the potential of tomorrow, they are motivated to work harder towards their goals, whether they are to return to work, a favorite activity or just their daily routine. Young and old alike deserve to be given the best healthcare possible.

Northome Healthcare Center and Tealwood say, "Thank You" to the hard work, patience and time that is dedicated to the therapy department by Thurlby and Furuseth. NHCC looks forward to seeing you at our Open House to celebrate the new location of our therapy department.