People recovering from long-term health issues such as strokes, fractures, or neuromuscular diseases may find it challenging to adapt to everyday activities, regain mental capacity and return to work.
More individuals are enlisting the help of occupational therapists to assist them in their recovery and reintegration into society. Through the years, occupational therapy has experienced a notable transformation.
Previously, it focused on aiding individuals to return to work after suffering injuries. It has become the most successful treatment for those wishing to regain their ability to do everyday activities.
How does occupational therapy work?
Occupational therapists (OTs) use intervention techniques, stretching, and exercises to help patients gain the strength, flexibility, and mobility to meet their goals. Therapists may use various tools to add or challenge movement, including balls, ropes, and other materials.
Someone with a physical limitation can use occupational therapy to improve the function of their hands or arms as an alternative treatment for depression and anxiety.
Occupational therapists are also trained in helping people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia to manage their symptoms. There are many approaches that occupational therapists take depending on the needs of the patients and their goals for rehabilitation.
If you want to learn more, American International College has occupational therapy doctorate programs that are the perfect choice for OTs who possess a master’s degree and wish to pursue a doctorate. They can pursue an advanced degree while remaining actively involved in their profession.
With this degree, you can leverage evidence-based practice and research to drive growth and progress in clinical, community, and academic settings.
Why is occupational therapy an important part of the healthcare industry?
Occupational therapy is essential because it considers more than just the immediate medical issues of patients. For patients, their abilities affect their entire lives every day.
You can devote more time to your patients and observe their progress in occupational therapy. You’ll need to get to know them in detail to comprehend their lifestyle and regular routines to assist them in achieving autonomy.
Many occupational therapists work with individuals who have suffered amputations or other injuries requiring rehabilitation, teaching them how to lead more active lifestyles.
Occupational therapists also work as educators in classrooms, teaching young children to develop independence skills, such as getting dressed and feeding themselves or performing activities such as playing instruments and sports safely.
How does occupational therapy contribute to overall patient wellbeing?
Here are some of the ways that occupational therapy contributes to overall patient wellbeing:
Teaching patients who cannot work alone to identify and use their independence helps patients feel that they have a sense of control or mastery over their environment, and it also helps them find purpose in life.
The occupational therapist will lead the patient through the steps they need to complete a task and give as much assistance as necessary to help them achieve the goal. It is helpful if an individual’s motivation is higher for him to work alone.
OTs will also assess whether this process will need to be repeated in additional sessions allowing the patient to complete the task without help from others.
Enhancing cognitive function
Cognitive function is the ability of people to function in daily life activities. It involves one’s mental capabilities, such as managing and organizing information, understanding complex issues, and meeting challenges.
Occupational therapists must have an adequate understanding of the factors that influence cognitive function. They must also be aware of the impact that physical conditions and social environment have on an individual.
There are a wide range of factors that lead to poor cognitive function. These factors are physiological and psychosocial. To optimize their patient’s cognitive function, occupational therapists must familiarize themselves with these factors to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
Improving motor skills
Occupational therapy can assist in coordination, and gross motor skills, such as walking and balancing. Occupational therapists evaluate the cause of a patient’s problems to develop a treatment plan.
The occupational therapist might teach the individual exercises, such as hand and arm stretching, or they may recommend tools, such as walking aids or an accessible chair.
Occupational therapy is crucial to rehabilitation because it helps patients relearn skills essential for everyday living. For any person with an injury that impacts their ability to do basic tasks like cooking, it helps them recover their skills so they can live independently and happily again.
Occupational therapists can teach safety techniques and recommend assistive devices to help patients avoid falls and other injuries. They can also teach wellness and pain management techniques to help patients reduce their risk of developing secondary conditions.
Occupational therapists assess, diagnose and treat patients with physical limitations caused by illness, injury, or disability. The goal of occupational therapy is to allow people to live as independently as possible for as long as possible in their own homes or other environment of choice.
Increasing social engagement
You can achieve increased social engagement through an occupational therapy intervention plan. The occupational therapist may create a plan with specific occupational therapy activities that aim to increase social engagement for the client.
The professional will evaluate the patient and their current environment to implement treatments. Sometimes, it may be best to help a person with a paralyzed family member develop a healthy social network.
Doing so makes these patients feel less isolated and more involved while still being included in family events. Society makes people feel less isolated when involved in other hobbies and recreational activities outside their daily routine.
Through interventions that help individuals reach their potential, overall wellbeing can be achieved through increased social engagement.
Occupational therapists frequently collaborate with their patients during evaluations in order to determine what a successful result will look like. Securing the proper therapist and facility to help patients attain their rehabilitation objectives is crucial to a successful rehabilitation experience.
The goal of working with an occupational therapist should be to make life more meaningful by focusing on the activities that are important and desired by the patient. Gaining the maximum benefit from each therapy session requires developing a solid relationship between the patient and therapist.