What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapists work with patients who have suffered the loss of key functions from an accident, illness, or disability. Occupational therapy helps these patients regain the ability to do daily activities, such as dressing, bathing, and returning to work. This therapy helps people adapt and function in their environment by increasing independence and self-care skills.
Evaluating What the Patient Needs
Occupational therapy teams work with patients recovering from orthopedic injuries and surgeries and those recovering from a stroke. Therapists evaluate the patient's needs and develop a personalized treatment plan that considers the patient's goals for rehabilitation.
They may provide instruction in using assistive devices and recommend lifestyle changes or modifications to help a patient reach his or her goals.
Occupational therapy teams work closely with other healthcare professionals to effectively treat patients.
They address difficulties a patient might have in completing daily activities. For example, when needed, a patient who suffered a stroke would receive particular focus on hand therapy to improve fine motor skills and regain the use of their hands.
The occupational therapy team also educates patients and their families on using adaptive equipment and strategies to improve overall function.
Continuum of Care with Occupational Therapy
When an occupational therapy team is part of the same health system as the hospital where a patient was treated, they can quickly transfer the patient from the hospital to the outpatient occupational therapy team and continue to provide care.
For example, the occupational therapy team at the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute in Longview can work with recently discharged patients.
They will have access to the patient's records and can speak with health professionals who treated them while hospitalized.
Additionally, they can work with other healthcare providers, such as orthopedic surgeons and primary care physicians, to ensure that the patient's care remains coordinated and effective. This open line of communication and continuum of care allows a patient's recovery journey to proceed.
Overall, the occupational therapy team's involvement extends the continuum of care, providing patients with the support they need to continue their recovery journey beyond the hospital.
Occupational therapy can help individuals improve their quality of life by addressing various needs. It can help individuals with the following:
- Increase independence and self-care abilities
- Improve fine motor control for activities such as writing and typing
- Develop cognitive skills for problem-solving and decision-making
- Restore or improve mobility and strength.
What to Expect?
Depending on the individual’s needs and goals, occupational therapy treatment strategies will focus on activities such as:
- Improving daily living skills, such as dressing and grooming
- Increasing independence at home or in the community using adaptive equipment and assistive technologies
- Improving range of motion, strength, and endurance in an effort to improve functional abilities and overall quality of life
- Managing cognitive issues, such as problem-solving and memory
- Returning to work or starting a new career
Occupational therapy teams often specialize in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including:
- Upper extremity injuries, such as carpal tunnel nerve compression syndromes (such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), tendon injuries, and fractures
- Chronic conditions such as Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and pain syndromes
- Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and other neurological disorders
- Issues with everyday skills, such as writing
- Physical limitations caused by surgery, injury, or aging
- Injuries resulting from falls, accidents or playing sports
- Amputations and re-plantations
- Overuse Injuries of the upper extremity