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Celebrating Occupational Therapy Month

4/23/18 (Mon)

The American Occupational Therapy Association has declared the month of April to be known as Occupational Therapy Month. As occupational therapists help Northland PACE participants live life to its fullest, we wanted to shine a light on one of our fantastic occupational therapists - Kyla Guthmiller. 

Guthmiller has her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) from the University of Mary. After starting her career in Kansas where she worked in acute care, rehab, and was the team lead for orthopedic joint replacements, she wanted to get closer to home, so Guthmiller accepted a job in Dickinson, ND at St. Joseph’s Hospital and then at the Children’s Development Center in Bismarck, ND. From there, she worked at Sanford Health as a PRN therapist and then in inpatient psychiatry for five and a half years. After deciding to try something new, she joined Northland PACE in October 2014. 

According to Guthmiller, OT is a client-centered health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. In the home health setting, such as Northland PACE, she completes home assessments in order to make recommendations to keep individuals living safe in their home by developing, recovering, or helping maintain skills needed to do the everyday occupations of life. These are referred to activities of daily living, or ADLs; examples include self-care, getting dressed, cooking, eating, driving, leisure, recreations, and work skills. The main goal of an occupational therapist is to achieve independence and independent living. “I want to allow people to lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives,” says Guthmiller, who has been trained to provide client-centered interventions to adapt participants’ environment in order to increase independence, promote health, and prevent further decline or injury.

Guthmiller’s favorite thing about working at Northland PACE is the flexibility and strong emphasis for family. As a mom of three beautiful children, Brogan (6), Tayah (4), and Kleigha (2), she loves and being able to support her children, which PACE encourages, as well as being a therapist.

“I have learned a great amount from the individuals I treat. Their drive and motivation to heal is the most evident, along with their success following treatment. I love to see their smile that lets me know they feel accomplished and ready to tackle the world. Their appreciation is so rewarding when a transformation in their lives has been accomplished. As an acquaintance, I have learned strength, laughter, gratitude, perspective, and knowledge. I love hearing everyone’s stories and backgrounds.”