What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a branch of healthcare that specializes in the assessment, treatment, and prevention of injuries and disabilities relating to the occupation. People who are unable to perform the activities they enjoy because of illness or disability may greatly benefit from Occupational Therapy.
What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?
Occupational Therapists help:
- people perform tasks and daily living activities that they may have difficulty with due to an injury, illness, or disability.
- people who have physical or mental impairments or limitations to live as independently as possible by developing, teaching, and providing therapy that improves their functional abilities.
- patients regain their independence by improving their abilities to do what they enjoy.
Occupational Therapists also work with employers to provide accommodations so that people can work productively.
How Does Occupational Therapy Improve Your Everyday Living?
Occupational therapy includes many intervention techniques to help people achieve their personal goals. For example, occupational therapists often use stretching and therapeutic exercises to increase strength, flexibility, and mobility. They also assist with animal-assisted therapy and ‘art as medicine.
- Therapeutic activities: these exercises can help your patients to continue with strength, improve sensation and perception and even develop social skills.
- Daily activities: therapists guide patients through simulating a range of activities, including self-care, mobility, communication; the use of assisting devices
- Movement therapy: this type of therapy uses the motor skills available to the patient to help them reach their goals.
- Neurodevelopmental treatment: therapists are trained to help their patients learn to move naturally and use both sides of the body.
Adaptive equipment is one of the occupational therapists’ most excellent tools, and they can prescribe and help rehabilitate patients by using these devices. Examples of adaptive equipment may include reachers, specialized utensils, dressing aids, and splints. The therapist might also modify their environment to accommodate.
Physical and Occupational Therapy: How They Work Together
Occupational and physical therapy plays a key role in recovery. Some OT interventions overlap with physical therapy, such as increased strength and flexibility, but they are separate disciplines.
Let’s look at how physical and occupational therapies complement each other.
When a person has undergone hip replacement surgery, for example, she may consult a physical therapist as part of her recuperation.
The physical therapist will work with the patient to help improve her movement, mobility, and function by using a variety of post-operative and therapeutic exercises, stretches, or other physical activities that promote healing.
The PT will strengthen her hip and increase muscle flexibility which helps protect joints. This can help them move more easily with less pain and discomfort.
Occupational therapy, on the other hand, helps patients make their daily tasks easier to do by improving their fine and gross motor skills so they can carry out specific day-to-day activities.
Depending on a patient’s condition and specific needs, some patients may require PT (physical therapy) and OT (occupational therapy) interventions for a full recovery.
Early intervention is the key to successful physical and occupational therapies. If you or someone you care for has started to experience some challenges in performing everyday living activities, call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts. Our DPTs take their time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and then consult with you to determine the best treatment option for your health issues.