At UnityPoint Health – Meriter, the health and safety of our patients, communities and team members is at the center of everything we do. Whether you are feeling sick or need routine care like a wellness visit or vaccine, our clinics are ready to provide the best care for you and your family.
Maintaining functional use of our hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders is essential to daily activities. Our expert team of hand therapists, including certified hand therapists, will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to help your reach your full potential.
Our hand team specializes in treating hand and upper extremity conditions including:
- Carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel and other nerve compression syndromes
- Complex traumatic injuries
- Fractures and dislocations
- Joint instability and hypermobility
- Ligament injuries and repairs
- Pain conditions including persistent pain, fibromyalgia, and CRPS
- Repetitive use injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Surgical repairs and reconstructions
- Tendon injuries, repairs and tendon transfers
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Work related injuries and work comp cases
Our expert hand therapists will perform a comprehensive evaluation to assess all aspects of your injury or condition. Evaluation may include assessment of range-of-motion, coordination, strength, edema (swelling), skin or wounds, and sensation. We look at the patient as a whole, including how your injury or condition may affect your ability to function in daily living, work, self-care and leisure activities.
Treatment is tailored to meet your personal needs. It may include exercises to gain motion, stability and strength, as well as management of pain and swelling. Therapeutic treatments (such as heat, iontophoresis, and ultrasound), custom fabrication of orthoses (splinting and custom braces), and adaptive techniques or devices are often utilized in treatment as well.
Active involvement in treatment will play an important role in your recovery. You will be provided with a home program tailored to your specific needs, as well as goals to guide treatment and measure progress.
What Sets Us Apart?
Our hand therapy staff offers a high level of expertise, with team members consisting of certified hand therapists (CHT), lymphedema, ASTYM, and return to work specialists. A certified hand therapist has extensive knowledge in treating hand and upper extremity disorders, injuries, and conditions. To become a CHT, you must work a minimum of 4,000 hours treating hand and upper extremity conditions and pass a rigorous certification examination to demonstrate competency in the practice of hand therapy. We work closely with orthopedics, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, as well as primary care and other specialties including rheumatology. The hand team and UnityPoint Health-Meriter strives to offer exceptional care to every patient we see.
Most health insurance policies include coverage for occupational therapy. If you have questions about your coverage, contact your insurance carrier. Please bring your insurance card with you to your first visit.
How can Return to Work benefit me?Return to Work (RTW) is a specialty group within Meriter's Therapy department. RTW is comprised of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapist assistants, who can help you through the continuum of care required after a work-related injury. We specialize in getting to know you and your job, so we can tailor your rehab and return you to work as quickly as possible. We have work simulation equipment that measures what you can safely do to return to work with restrictions while we continue to rehab you until you can get back to work with full function.
Our therapists are specialized in various orthopedic injuries such as hand injuries, fractures, sprains, and strains. As well as neurological injuries such as concussions. Whether you are an office worker who slipped in the parking lot and sprained your ankle, or you are a firefighter who injured your back pulling a fire hose, we have the techniques, equipment, and expertise to get you back to work.
How are work-related injuries different from non-work related injures?
If you are injured on the job you are covered by workers compensation. (1) Workers compensation provides a few unique rehabilitation options to get you back to work, faster.
- Work Hardening/Work Conditioning - This is a specialty service that is billable to workers compensation. Work Hardening/Conditioning comes toward the end of your rehab when you are almost ready to return to work. Typically, during the course or recovering from your injury, the rest of your body can become deconditioned. Work Hardening/Conditioning can help get your whole body ready to return to work to reduce the chance of re-injury or new injury.
- Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) - In the event that you are not able to fully return to work, a Functional Capacity Evaluation can provide you with comprehensive and long-term work restrictions to provide you with a safe context to return to work. FCEs are billable to workers compensation, and occasionally to law firms, liability insurance, and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
I am scheduled for an FCE. What can I expect?An FCE is a comprehensive functional examination of your abilities. The goal is to be able to determine what you can safely and sustainably do should you return to work. The therapist will take a detailed and thorough history of your injury from onset until present. The therapist will examine your strength, flexibility, endurance, functional abilities, and tolerance to various activity. The exam can last up to four hours in length and we recommend you come prepared in exercise clothing.
I was not injured on the job, but my injury is preventing me from working. Can RTW help me?Yes! It is common for an injury that occurs outside of work to affect your ability to perform your job. For example, you injure your back while shoveling snow and now you are unable to stand all day at your job as a line-cook. While you are not covered by workers compensation in this case, we are still able to provide a Work Restriction Evaluation. A Work Restriction Evaluation is a billable service to your private insurance that comprises of a typical physical or occupational therapy evaluation in addition to work simulation testing. This information will be able to provide your physician with information to determine appropriate short-term work restrictions. This also serves as the beginning of a course of physical or occupational therapy should therapy be deemed appropriate.
Our physical, occupational and speech therapists work together to address neurological impairments. Diagnoses treated include:
- Balance Disorders
- Brain Injuries
- Acute concussion and post-concussion syndrome
- CVAs (stroke)
- Gait Disturbance
- Lower/Upper Extremity Amputations
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson's Disease
- Peripheral Nerve Injuries
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Vestibular Disorders
In addition, specialty services are available such as:
Wheelchair Fitting / Mobility Training
This service is for patients who use wheelchairs as their primary means of mobility and who require specialized seating. Patients receive assistance in acquiring new wheelchairs (power and manual) and seating systems tailored to their specific needs. In addition, wheelchair users with seating problems are assisted in finding solutions.
Visual erception Assessment
Our therapists use standardized tests and functional performance assessments to evaluate patients with visual disturbances including:
- Field cuts
- Double vision
- Depth perception deficits
- Patients receive information on how to modify their environment to accommodate vision deficits.
UPH- Meriter neurologic physical therapists have advanced training in working with patients who have difficulty with walking due to a neurologic problem. Therapists complete a thorough assessment of your walking pattern, and then evaluate your strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and motor control to determine the underlying issues that contribute to the challenges you are having with walking.
Therapists use a variety of tools to work on walking, including hands on training, customized exercises, and the use of specialized equipment and technologies.
Examples of this include:
- EksoNR™ Robotic Exoskeleton
- Body Weight Supported Gait Training with Lite Gait
Driver's Readiness Program
After a serious illness or injury, there can be questions about safely returning to the road. Our Driver's Readiness Program is a unique evaluation process that helps determine an individual's ability to drive safely. Occupational therapists and rehabilitation psychologists work with each patient to test his or her skills and decide how to safely modify the vehicle.
Radiology & X-Ray
We are committed to putting patient and staffs' safety first. Radiologists and x-ray technologists are trained and are dedicated to using the minimum amount of radiation necessary to obtain the needed results.
Patients requiring imaging procedures need a referral and order from their physician. Routine studies are scheduled in advance. Emergency procedures are performed as requested. Appointments for outpatient work are necessary and can be made by calling (608) 417-6288.
Our Radiology department is located within UnityPoint Health – Meriter hospital. We also offer medical imaging and x-ray services at the following clinics:
Additional Patient Resources
The HEALTH Program offers these services at locations throughout our community, adhering to the street medicine model that has remained the core of the program. HEALTH provides care to patients where they are, including but not limited to shelters, clinics, and in our community.
HEALTH's focus is on medical care and will work with our community's homeless services agencies to ensure patients are getting the full array of services available to them.
- The Community Resource Specialists and Social Work team works closely with the clinic providers, who send referrals based on psychosocial needs of their patients. This team provides resource linkage, complex care coordination, and connection to community supports as needed based on the patient.
- They operate out of the primary care clinics, the therapies departments, NICU-follow-up and work closely with the Behavioral Health Consultant team.
- This team also helps facilitate Advanced Care Planning and helping patients completed Health Care Power of Attorney documentation.