According to The American Occupational Therapy Association, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
So it’s no wonder we have an entire month dedicated to educate and bring awareness to the profession. But if you ever speak to anyone unfamiliar with the profession, some are lost as to what an Occupational Therapist (OT) actually does. Well, according to the Bureau of Labor, some of their regular tasks include the following:
- Evaluate a patient’s condition and needs
- Develop a treatment plan for patients, identifying specific goals and the types of activities that will be used to help the patient work toward those goals
- Help people with various disabilities with different tasks, such as teaching a stroke victim how to get dressed
- Demonstrate exercises—for example, stretching the joints for arthritis relief—that can help relieve pain in people with chronic conditions
- Evaluate a patient’s home or workplace and, on the basis of the patient’s health needs, identify potential improvements, such as labeling kitchen cabinets for an older person with poor memory
- Educate a patient’s family and employer about how to accommodate and care for the patient
- Recommend special equipment, such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instruct patients on how to use that equipment
- Assess and record patients’ activities and progress for patient evaluations, for billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers
Think you need more info on occupational therapy? Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The American Occupational Therapy Association, Health Careers, or simply Wikipedia. You’ll also find endless information on how Occupational Therapy can benefit you or your loved ones along with Physical or Speech Therapy (but that’s for another time). Meanwhile, keep coming back as we celebrate Occupational Month with resources, facts, stats, and more!
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