Occupational therapy helps patients perform daily activities or "activities." These activities include cooking, bathing, shopping, eating, dressing, and caring for loved ones.
If you've had an injury, your therapist (OT) will help you get back into your daily routine as much as possible. If you have a disability, they will teach you the skills you need to live independently.
Occupational therapists can work with you in your home, workplace, facility, or community to help you perform your daily activities safely.
Conditions that require OT
Occupational therapy can help if it is difficult for you to do important things at home, work, or school. Some conditions that may require occupational therapy include:
You may also need occupational therapy for injuries. For example, if your hand was badly burned, an occupational therapist can help you learn to write and cook.
Occupational therapy helps patients who face problems in their daily activities. It can help patients with medical conditions, disabilities, and trauma to become more independent.
What do professional therapists do?
Occupational therapists can help you regain your ability to complete tasks on your own. They will work with you to develop a plan based on your condition, environment, and the activities you want to do.
I find out about you
Occupational therapy begins by listening to the needs of the patient. Your occupational therapist will ask you about your home environment, your family and friends, and important activities. They will look at your medical record, if available. They will tell you how your health affects your daily life.
Typically, the occupational therapist will interview you for a formal evaluation at the beginning of your first session. But your occupational therapist will listen to your needs and find ways to help you during your time together.
Helps in healing
Occupational therapists can help you with the healing process, whether it's an injury or surgery. As your health improves, it will be easier to return to your daily activities.
For example, if your hand is burned, the therapist may teach you strength and flexibility exercises. They can also make a splint to protect your hand while it heals.
Many occupational therapists will specialize in different areas of treatment, which may include:
Your therapist will discuss your goals with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatment may include mobility exercises or the use of protective devices such as splints.
If you have a disability or chronic medical condition, you may be looking for ways to get things done during the day. Your therapist can help you change tasks to make them easier.
A basic example of an activity modification would be using a wheelchair to help you move from one place to another. Another example might show you how to get in and out of a car safely.
Therapists may specialize in several areas of activity modification, including:
- Manufacture of individual tires
- Adaptive technology
- Adaptive driving
- Adaptive hardware
- Wheelchair modification
Looking at the environment
Your OT will observe how you perform actions in your environment, be it at home, work, office or school. They can suggest changes to help make it safer and easier. Examples include:
- Remove rugs that can cause tripping.
- The psychiatric hospital recommends a separate place where patients can feel safe.
- At school, suggesting changing the playground to help the student with a disability.
Occupational therapists can help you change your activities so that you can manage them yourself. They assess your environment and help make it safer and easier to navigate.
Where do the therapists work?
Occupational therapists work with people of all ages in all conditions.
For example, an occupational therapist might work in a hospital with premature babies who need help with feeding and retention.
You can find an occupational therapist working with a hospice patient in a nursing home. The therapist may ask him what activities are most important to him in the last few days.
The most common working conditions for occupational therapists are:
- Rehabilitation centers
- Home health agencies
Training and Certification
The initial degree in occupational therapy is the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Some occupational therapists may have a doctorate in occupational therapy or additional certifications. All states require occupational therapists to be licensed or registered, which means they have passed the national exam and meet continuing education requirements.
Occupational therapy can help people of all ages with illnesses, injuries, and disabilities. Occupational therapists who work in a variety of settings are trained to help you manage your condition. They also recommend strategies to make tasks easier and create a more secure environment.
Get the word of drug information
Talk to your doctor if you think occupational therapy can help you. As a patient, you will play an important role in your treatment plan. You and your OT will work with your healthcare team to achieve your daily goals.