Step-by-step guide to colonoscopies

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All too often, people fear the unknown. In the realm of healthcare, this is especially true. Part of receiving care at a hospital or clinic is getting quality consultation about procedures, medication and better living practices. Colonoscopies are no different. If a person is approaching 50 years of age, it’s time to start thinking about scheduling a colonoscopy. However, many people in this age range put it off. Using this guide is a step in the right direction.

Travis Swartz, DO, has spent a great deal of his career performing this procedure, helping hundreds stave off colon cancer. According to Dr. Swartz, the main reason people avoid a colonoscopy is embarrassment. They think being sedated and having an endoscope inserted into their rectum is an invasion of privacy with outcomes not worth the hassle. This belief is simply not true. Although it is not a fun activity, screening is a great tool to discover cancer.

A step-by-step guide

A great way of reducing anxiety is to break things down into pieces. Dr. Swartz has put together a guide to coloscopies at Tri-County Health Care. It covers everything from the initial consultation to discharge.

Travis Swartz, DO, wants you to take steps toward better colorectal health.

Travis Swartz, DO

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, a person should receive a colonoscopy around 50. Follow-up colonoscopies will depend on a patient’s risk for cancer.
  • Typically, a primary care provider discusses a colonoscopy during an appointment. If they don’t, ask about it. An active approach is the best way to prevent colon cancer.
  • The procedure usually takes place about a week after scheduling.
  • There is preparation to do before a colonoscopy. Cleansing the colon is the most difficult aspect of the process. A patient will need to consume around a gallon of liquid mixed with a medicine that will force bowel movements.
  • Avoid red or blue liquids because they create issues with the imaging equipment.
  • You will get a confirmation call before the appointment.
  • After check-in, you are brought to a private room and to meet with the surgeon. Shortly after, patients meet with the anesthetist.
  • The patient goes back to the colonoscopy suite. In the suite, a surgeon, a reporter and an assistant will complete the procedure.
  • The patient is sedated during a colonoscopy. The actual procedures takes around 30 minutes. The entire process takes around three to four hours.
  • After, the patient returns to the private room. The patient enjoys a meal and sent home.


Technology, colonoscopies have come a long way. The screening only takes a few hours. The patient goes home the same day with no special instruction for recovery. According to Dr. Swartz, patients are usually very tired from being up most of the night. Most go immediately home to enjoy a nice nap.

Tri-County Health Care offers multiple colon cancer screening options. Visit for more information about screenings. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule.

Occupational Therapy Month-Getting back to normal

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Occupational therapy is a hands-on science designed from the ground up to get you up and moving. After an injury or illness, some find it difficult to return to work or complete chores. It can be a tough moment for a person to realize they can’t make their bed anymore or go to the restroom without help. That’s where an occupational therapist can help. April is Occupational Therapy Month and the occupational therapists at Tri-County Health Care stepped up to share some of the finer points of their care mission.

Occupational therapists do more than help a patient get back to the 9-to-5 grind. They help people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. They have one mission, and that’s to get you back to normal.

Occupational Therapy Month Occupational therapists OT Tri-County Health Care

Caitlyn Wolter

“Occupational therapy is a profession that addresses the health and well-being of people through the entire lifespan,” said Caitlyn Wolter, an Occupational Therapist at Tri-County Health Care. “We focus on their ability to participate in everyday occupations such as dressing, working and household management.”

What to expect

During the initial meeting with Caitlyn, to figure out your functional limitations and establishes a plan of care to get you back to your baseline, or as close to it as possible. She wants to know exactly what’s holding you back from enjoying life to the fullest like you once did. Each person is unique, so her strategy of care is equally unique. Every step of the process is tailored to the patient’s activity level, profession and goals.

One challenge is that patients often have an expectation that they are able to regain function in just a couple of visits. Caitlyn explains to patients that the road to recovery is not always a quick process. She believes the key is to be truthful and have a direct conversation about the body’s healing process and the time it can require.

Occupational Therapy at Tri-County Health Care

So, how does occupational therapy differ at Tri-County Health Care versus other organizations? Caitlyn explains: “We can practice in a wide array of settings – all of which are different and unique in their own ways. This is especially true working at Tri-County as we get to dabble in a variety of patient populations every day.” These patients include those from orthopedics, neurology, inpatient, pediatrics and more!

Katie Boutiette

Occupational Therapy Month Occupational therapists OT Tri-County Health Care

“I chose occupational therapy because I wanted to join a profession that serves others. I also have a passion for helping kids with disabilities,” said Occupational Therapist Katie Boutiette.


Katie helps her pediatric patients to gain or regain skills needed for playtime, school, self-care, or emotional regulation. The process is gradual but little by little, they can increase independence in their everyday tasks. Working as an OT helps make those personal moments of freedom happen.

“Occupational therapy to me is people reaching their full potential. It’s meaningful occupations made up of self-care, leisure, play skills and emotional regulation,” said Katie.

The therapy doesn’t stop at the end of an appointment. The idea of continued growth needs to be a concern for all patients. Katie stated that one part of her job is teaching caregivers and parents to initiate strategies at home to maximize their child’s progress. Increasing patient’s function requires daily work but with guidance from Katie and a fighting spirit, patients can accomplish it.

Kids and care

Much of the work Katie does centers on kids. According to her, the most rewarding part of her job is watching parents’ reactions when their child does something for the first time. This can be a toddler who now stacks blocks, a child with emotional outbursts who can now self-regulate, or a school-aged kid who is now able to write their name.

Watch and listen

Treatment is guided based on whether a child has behavioral issues or a developmental delay, which Katie determines during her evaluation. The next step is looking at how the child performs at school and home. Is playtime difficult? Do they have emotional outbursts? After getting to know the child, Katie provides specific strategies for the child and family to initiate at home.

Celebrate and grow

To observe Occupational Therapy Month, reach out and thank your local OT. While you recognize their work, look to the people they helped. We all know someone whose life was changed by an occupational therapist. Take some time to recognize those who suffer in silence and the people that help them.

Tri-County Health Care is hosting a FREE developmental screening for all children – infancy through adolescence – on May 25 from 4-6 p.m. This screening will identify areas of concern that may need further evaluation. Call 218-631-7475 to reserve your screening appointment!

Click here to learn more about Occupational Therapy Month and all of the rehabilitation services at Tri-County Health Care!

April is Occupational Therapy Month. Occupational Therapy Month Occupational therapists OT Tri-County Health Care