KVMH staff, guests work for ice cream sundae

WAIMEA — Jocelyn Barriga discovered that making ice cream sundae using just one arm and one hand was not that easy to accomplish despite using adaptive tools such as oversized and weighted utensils and a rocker knife.

The feat was part of the Ice Cream Social, Friday at the Occupational Therapy Department at the Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital in celebration of April being National Occupational Therapy Month.

Steve Kline, the director of Occupational Therapy, has been hosting the Ice Cream Social for about six years to give people an idea of the world people whose lives have been disrupted by physical injury, illness, developmental problems, aging and social and psychological difficulties face.

A Senate Certificate states the goal of occupational therapy is to help people function as independently as possible in daily life.

Occupational therapy practitioners assist individuals in achieving an independent, productive and satisfying life and are certified through accredited programs by the American Medical Association in collaboration with the American Occupational Therapy Association.

The practitioners help people regain, develop and build skills which are important for independent functioning, health, well being, security and happiness.

Leading to the sundae, guests to the KVMH Occupational Therapy Department were greeted with an ADL Board featuring common tasks such as opening a faucet, unlocking a padlock, fastening and unfastening a chain lock on a door, a suitcase hasp and more.

Guests were asked to perform these tasks using a non-dominant arm and hand, many breezing through the faucet, but slowed by trying to unlock the padlock.

The series of tasks completed, guests moved to a table containing a reacher stick, a dressing stick and sock donner where guests had to dress themselves using these pieces of adaptive equipment, again, with the use of a non-dominat arm and hand.

Occupational Therapy goals are to prevent deterioration, develop skills, or restore functions in self care performance, work performance, play or leisure, motor functions, sensory-integrative functions which includes body image, posture and body integration, visual-spatial relationships and sensory motor integration.

The difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy is in the treatment and in the focus of treatment. Both occupational therapy and physical therapy share concerns with the development, restoration and prevention.

Physical therapists utilize physical agents such as heat, water and others which are applied by physical means while an occupational therapist utilize selected activities with therapeutic values which are performed by the patient or with the therapist.

Generally, physical therapists concentrate on the lower extremities while occupational therapists concentrate on the upper extremities, states an occupational therapy fact sheet.

Kline said in addition to the Ice Cream Social, KVMH will be hosting staff wheelchair relay races on Monday, where wheelchair drives will use adaptive equipment such as the reacher stick to pick up items while one arm and one leg are tied to the chair.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. is expected to present a proclamation during the Community Awareness Night scheduled for Monday from 6 to 8 p.m., when Kline and his staff will be offering a splinting workshop and lead discussions on brain and cognitive training.

The public is invited to both events.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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