WHEATLAND – Hand Therapy of Wyoming held its grand opening, open house and Platte County Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting Dec. 16. They have a goal of getting people on track to be fully occupational and “operational.”
Lyndsie Fuller is a Michigan transplant who was brought to Wyoming by her fiancé, Jeffery Drescher, who landed a job with the Laramie River Basin Electric Power Plant as a mobile equipment mechanic. The couple are planning a July 8 wedding. She brought along her talents as an occupational therapist and her new business, Hand Therapy of Wyoming, which is already booming. She began her career in Wheatland at North Platte Physical Therapy and was there for three years.
“I then got the opportunity to open another clinic here,” Fuller said. “And I took it. I think this community can sustain a few therapy clinics.”
Fuller has now lived in Wheatland for three and a half years and she is originally from Mendon, Michigan, where she graduated from Mendon High School before heading to Western Michigan University where she earned her undergrad and graduate degree in occupational therapy.
After a family crisis involving her grandfather who suffered a stroke while she was in high school, Fuller was hands-on helping with his care.
“I used to drive my grandma to the nursing home to see him,” Fuller said. “One day he was working with occupational therapists and I decided right then and there that I wanted to do that. So, I did it.”
According to Fuller, her business is a bit different from physical therapy.
“We have a little bit more of a holistic kind of scope,” she said. “We do work on your physical stuff, but also mental health. You think of an occupation as anything that occupies your time. That’s what we want to help you do or get back to after a surgery or an injury.”
Fuller is the only fulltime occupational therapist on staff and she also has two physical therapists working with her, Becca Valleroy and Joe Guthrie. Along with their office manager, it is a small staff for the amount of traffic that has been coming in through their doors. According to Fuller they are treating between 50-60 patients per week.
One of those patients is Daryl Tiltrum who had two knee replacements.
“I told them when I came in that I needed to rehab, but I didn’t want to go through any more pain,” Tiltrum said. “I also told them that if I started therapy, I didn’t want to have multiple therapists. I wanted one therapist who could remain on top of my situation and know my progress from week to week. Becca was wonderful and they treated me without any pain.”
Fuller specializes in upper extremities which she said is shoulder, elbow, hand. She also does women’s pelvic health.
The new business at 953 E. Walnut St. in Wheatland has actually had their doors open since April 20.
“I waited to do the open house until I had more staff,” Fuller said. “It was just me for three months and I had some other gals helping me from our other clinics remotely. Our gal in Casper was doing all the billing and office stuff remotely for me.”
Going forward in her booming business, Fuller says that one of the first things she wants to do is hire another certified occupational therapy assistant.
“I would love to hire an assistant for me,” Fuller said. “This will help grow the OT side of things. My goal is to have four fulltime therapists here and possibly a rehab tech to kind of help with the new day-to-day things like cleaning and laundry. I just want to make it a great place that people want to come in and want to hang out and want to come for therapy without dreading it.”
At this point the business has a treadmill, a recumbent bike, an upright bike among other pieces of equipment that the staff will assign patients to.
“We don’t need a lot of equipment to get good therapy,” Fuller said. “We also have a really good working relationship with the Banner therapists. All of us have known them for years. They were even here for our open house. So, we kind of work closely with them.”
Fuller says that the main thing is that she doesn’t want people to have a lot of fear going into therapy.
“I don’t want people to be afraid to come in,” she said. “Therapy doesn’t have to hurt. We can do a lot of stuff with getting you out of that pain cycle and therapy shouldn’t put you back in it. We are pulling you out of that pain and getting you back to a normal lifestyle. We do a lot of pain management, cupping, dry needling and manual therapy to name a few.”
Hand Therapy of Wyoming has six clinics statewide including locations in Gillette, Sheridan, Buffalo, Casper and Douglas.
For appointments, you can call to schedule at 307-298-5758.