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Occupational therapist helps patients get back to daily life
From left, Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Lary Davis with Adventist Paulson Rehab occupational therapist Julie Sheely during the Adventist Midwest Health employee of the year awards banquet. Sheely was recognized as the 2012 employee of the year with Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.

La Grange – Congratulate occupational therapist Julie Sheely on her employee of the year award, and she’ll humbly praise others instead.

“Anybody here could be employee of the year,” said Sheely, who works at Adventist Paulson Rehab in Willowbrook. “The power of all of us together makes us who we are – so many beautiful things happen here.”

Sheely’s team-oriented attitude led to her being named the Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital employee of the year for 2012. Sheely was honored along with other employees of the year at an Adventist Midwest Health banquet on Feb. 13, where she received a plaque and a $1,000 award.

“I was very impressed with Julie’s nomination. She is truly a team player, and we’re so thankful for her efforts,” said Lary Davis, chief executive officer at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.

Sheely said her role as Paulson’s sole occupational therapist is to first make sure her patients are independent with their self-care, and then that they regain function to get back to daily tasks.

“We want to know – what’s your return to life goal?” she said. “Some patients’ greatest desire is to go to Bunco on Friday night. We’re all different, and we don’t want to get better unless it’s meaningful to us.”

Sheely, a resident of Orland Park, started with Adventist Paulson Rehab in Willowbrook in 1995. She’s a graduate of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she explored a range of therapies but ultimately fell in love with occupational therapy.

“It felt more intimate – you get to know the patient and what motivates them so you can help them to work hard and regain what they’ve lost,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to see somebody improve and resolve what brought them in the door, which is usually a negative experience.”

When she’s not treating patients, Sheely decorates the work areas of Paulson’s 30 other physical, speech and massage therapists for their birthdays. She also visits doctors’ offices to teach them more about the therapies her facility offers.

Increasing the visibility of Adventist Paulson Rehab Willowbrook in the community made her employee of the year nomination most worthwhile, Sheely said.

“When I found out, I was tickled,” she said. “I didn’t want my picture up, but I wanted to get the word out about us. I want the community to know we’ll be here for them when they need us.” 


Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit

Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.

Media contact: Katie Klinger, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-856-2356