A profession called Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) is a health care profession that helps people with health challenges participate in daily life to the fullest
A profession called Occupational Therapy
Representational Pic

Nahid Pandit

Although a less hear of word, occupational therapy has helped patients improve their functional ability including motor, social, personal, academic and vocational pursuits.

Occupational therapist (OT) is a professional trained in the biological, physical, and medical and behavior science. OTs help patients return to the lives that they love. We recognize that an injury or illness can be devastating, and we know that much of the healing process involves being able to participate in daily life in ways that matter the most to each specific patient.

Our role is to serve as a guide, by helping each patient establish health and life goals—and then working with them to find the interventions, technology, and equipment that work best to get them where they want to be.

Why is it called Occupational Therapy?

It’s natural to wonder what our name means. We do not help people get jobs, and we are not focused on employment. Instead, our title comes from an old-school idea of occupation, which simply refers to whatever “occupies” someone’s time. We work to understand what is meaningful for each specific patient—and then we do everything we can to help them return to those activities.

How can occupational Therapist help you?

Our goal is always to make a long-term and tangible difference in patients’ daily lives. We do this by helping each patient participate in the day-to-day activities that they find most meaningful.

For a child, this might mean playing with friends. For an adult, this might mean being able to prepare a meal for loved ones.

We OTs call these meaningful daily routines “activities of daily living” or “ADLs”. These basic building blocks of daily life can become difficult after an injury, disability, or illness, and occupational therapy professionals can help people develop the skills to participate in these activities with confidence.

Activities where an occupational therapist can help with?

Functional mobility 'Bathing and Showering | Toileting and Toilet Hygiene | Dressing | Eating and Swallowing | Feeding | | Personal Device Care | Personal Hygiene and Grooming | Sexual Activity | Care of Others | Care of Pets | Child Rearing | Communication Management | Driving and Community Mobility | Financial Management | Health Management and Maintenance | Home Establishment and Maintenance | Meal Preparation and Clean Up | Religious and Spiritual Activities and Expressions | Safety Procedures and Emergency Responses | Shopping | Rest and Sleep | Education | Work | Play | Leisure | Social Participation!

Why does a child need Occupational Therapy?

Many people are first introduced to occupational therapy through a referral for their child. Occupational therapists work with children of all ages in neonatal units, schools, and outpatient settings.

OTs help children participate in age-appropriate daily activities when doing so is made difficult by health conditions. We strive to understand each child’s unique strengths to help them navigate whatever challenges they face. We also closely follow the ever-evolving research on childhood conditions, so that we can provide the most up-to-date care possible.

Common diagnoses we see in childhood include:

· Autism

· Delayed milestones

· Cerebral Palsy

· Intellectual Disabilities

· Motor Disorders

· Rare Diseases

What does occupational therapy treatment entail?

An occupational therapist’s work varies across settings, but the treatment process tends to follow a certain flow.

It all starts with an evaluation, where the occupational therapist collects information on a patient’s health history, health status, and any activities that are currently limited.

Occupational therapists have access to an incredible number of standardized OT assessments, many of which are targeted at specific diagnoses.

The OT then uses this information to work with the patient (and/or families or caregivers) to create a plan of care (POC). A POC includes specific goals—both short-term and long-term—as well as the treatment techniques the OT will employ to help the patient achieve those goals.

Occupational therapy treatment

Subsequent treatments focus on some combination of providing physical, emotional, and/or cognitive interventions to help the patient achieve their goals. Therapists also consider whether modification of the environment (and/or certain activities) may help set someone up for success.

Here are some examples of how Medicare (the gold standard in reimbursement) codes different treatments, meaning this is the verbiage a patient might see on their Medicare bills.

Assistive Technology Assessments

Brief Emotional/Behavioral Assessments

Community/Work Reintegration Training

Debridement of Wounds

Development of Cognitive Skills

Development Screening

Manual Therapy Techniques

Neuromuscular Re-Education

Self-Care/Home Management Training

Sensory Integrative Techniques

Therapeutic Activities

Wheelchair Management

Discharge from occupational therapy

After a certain point, patients will be “discharged” from OT. When someone is discharged from occupational therapy services, it means that they no longer need the skilled oversight of a therapist to continue making progress.

However, it does not necessarily mean the road to recovery is over.

When it’s time for to discharge, OTs often provide additional education to help patients continue therapy on their own. This might involve issuing a home exercise program (HEP) or providing additional training and resources to family members and/or caregivers.

The author is an Occupational Therapist at GMC Srinagar

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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