Longtime volunteer rehabs her way back to the community

Hazel McGuire, Sharon Hospital volunteer and occupational therapy patient.


Community volunteer celebrates Sharon Hospital’s occupational therapy team with a journey from wrist fracture to fitness.


If it weren’t for the familiar sight of Sharon Hospital, from her perspective, Hazel McGuire’s trip to the Emergency Department might have made for a stressful end to an already bad day. Fortunately, Hazel’s lifelong relationship with the hospital helped her enjoy a rejuvenating experience with occupational therapy.


A familiar sight for a rural emergency


After a fall in October of 2023, 79-year-old Hazel McGuire suffered a distal radial fracture and arrived at the Emergency Department at Sharon Hospital, not quite sure what to expect next.


“If it weren’t for Sharon Hospital, I’m not sure what I would have done or how I would have felt,” Hazel said.


Fortunately for her, and for many who live in and around the Sharon community, the hospital has been a sign of comfort for those in need of emergency services for over a century.


“I feel as though I’ve had a lifetime at Sharon Hospital,” said Hazel, who had her daughter and won two bouts with cancer at Sharon Hospital.

Still, after breaking her wrist, Hazel was unsure about how quickly she would be able to return to her normal routine.


An introduction to occupational therapy


Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Alexander Clark, who performed orthopedic surgery on Hazel’s wrist within just three days, her hopes were lifted. From Dr. Clark, Hazel went to Sarah Merwin, APRN who performed Hazel’s casting procedure.


“Despite the nature of my injury, the initial process, including the surgery, felt quite gentle,” Hazel said.


Learn more about orthopedic surgery at Sharon Hospital.


Hazel began her road to recovery through occupational therapy (OT), led by Carly Evelyn, an occupational therapist with experience in skilled nursing facilities.


“Though I value the knowledge I gained working in skilled nursing facilities, I prefer the patient-focused care at Sharon Hospital,” Carly said.


OT helps people of all ages continue participating in daily activities after a medical concern, whether an injury, illness or disability. Occupations encompass just about anything a person does or experiences that makes life meaningful, including eating, drinking, showering and getting dressed and driving.


Related content: What is occupational therapy for common health conditions?


A team effort towards rehabilitation

Initially, Hazel was unable to close her fist due to the swelling in her wrist and experienced bouts of aching pain. Together, Carly and Hazel worked on hand treatments that addressed both fine and gross motor skills to decrease the swelling.


“Carly was very gentle and attentive. She offered different kinds of therapy as well each time I went for a visit, so it never got boring,” Hazel said.


Carly encouraged Hazel to continue her therapy at home, including wrist and finger exercises that Hazel could perform in the comfort of her living room.


“Hazel followed through with exercise at home. That was one of the most important components of her recovery,” Carly said.


Find an occupational therapist near me.


After eight weeks of collaborative occupational therapy and rehabilitation, Hazel was once again able to enjoy full use of her wrist and hands. Now, as summer nears, Hazel is looking forward to returning to her other “occupations” including her fifth decade as a volunteer for the Falls Village Auxiliary.


“Every department felt like it took a special interest in my recovery. It truly has been a lifetime of care at Sharon Hospital,” Hazel said.


Disclaimer: Outcomes from orthopedic surgery and occupational therapy vary from person to person. No individual results should be seen as typical.