Occupational therapy helps patients participate in the activities they want and need to do through the therapeutic practice of everyday activities, or occupations. The role of an occupational therapist is to help patients improve the quality of their lives at home, at work, and at school, through the development, maintenance, and improvement of skills over time.
How Can an In-Home Occupational Therapist Help?
Occupational therapists recommend strategies to manage daily activities while also mitigating the risk of injury or further decline. This process is fully customized, and ultimately determines a balance between the limitations of the illness or injury, the home environment, and the abilities of the patient. The primary goal of occupational therapy is maximize positive outcomes for the patient and improve efficiency.
Occupational therapists work with a range of patients and illnesses. Providing home health care for seniors is a large component of their work. When helping a senior with rheumatoid arthritis, for example, an occupational therapist may teach relaxation techniques to improve sleeping habits, which can subsequently help with managing fatigue, reducing stress and conserving energy. Home modifications such as grip handles in the bathroom or raised toilet seats are examples of adaptive equipment that can help an aging patient improve or maintain function.
An occupational therapist can help patients in a number of ways, by providing:
- A comprehensive evaluation to determine your specific goals
- The development of a tailored treatment plan to improve your ability to perform daily activities
- Guidance for caregivers and family members
- Recommendations for adaptive equipment and training
Periodic evaluations of outcomes to make sure goals are being achieved, or that adjustments are made to accommodate unexpected setbacks or progression.
Occupational therapists also help patients in social realm. They can identify individuals and community resources to help the patient get outside and enjoy life.
What Are the Benefits of Occupational Therapy?
Simply put, occupation therapy is intended to help patients live as independently as possible. Through a collaboration involving the occupational therapist, the patient, and the patient’s family and caregivers, occupational therapy offers several benefits, such as:
- Helping patients restore strength
- Enhancing communication
- Reducing stress
- Encouraging social interaction
- Helping to improve self-esteem
- Providing a home health care option that allows patients to heal and recover in an environment where they feel comfortable and safe
- Helping patients restore the abilities they previously possessed or adapt to changes in their abilities
What Conditions Can Occupational Therapy Address?
From the essential tasks of everyday life to fine motor skills that enable dialing a phone or holding a pencil, there are countless ways in which a medical condition can hinder someone’s ability to participate in common activities. Occupational therapy can help to improve the ability, confidence, and general wellbeing of people with conditions such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic illness
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Children with disabilities
These are just a few of the many examples of the conditions that an occupational therapist can help address with a patient.
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If you or someone you love struggles with activities of daily living, occupational therapy at home can help to improve your abilities and quality of life.