For a variety of reasons, people may find they are no longer able to carry out their daily tasks. Whether they’ve suffered serious injuries, are recovering from a debilitating disease or have developed problems with their joints, muscles and nerves, occupational therapy can help restore their motion and improve quality of life. April is Occupational Therapy Month, celebrating 100 years as a profession in 2017!
What is occupational therapy?
By definition, occupational therapy, or OT, is the combined use of assessment and treatment to develop, recover, or maintain the living and working skills of people with a physical, mental or cognitive disorder. In practice, an occupational therapist helps patients use the "occupations" of work, self-care, and leisure activities to become independent again after a life-altering injury, surgery, or special condition.
An occupational therapist helps a person improve his or her ability to carry out daily activities by focusing on life skills, environmental evaluations, adaptive tools, and training. An OT may work with a patient on everything from brushing teeth and getting out of bed to training them to use assistive devices and practicing hand-eye coordination activities. Often, an occupational therapist works in tandem with other members of a rehab team to provide a comprehensive program of care.
Who needs occupational therapy?
Occupational therapists work with people of all ages who may be facing a variety of physical or emotional challenges. Therapists can help individuals recover from heart attacks, strokes or surgeries, as well as help people with autism or other developmental disorders. They offer customized therapies to help patients lead satisfying and productive lives.
When recovering from a surgery, occupational therapists determine what daily activities are a part of your routine and work on strategies and solutions to allow you to return to those activities, in light of any precautions you may have. For example, a patient that has had a total hip replacement and has precautions that include not being able to bend past 90 degrees of hip flexion needs to be able to do simple things like get dressed or get pots and pans out of a low cupboard. Occupational therapy offers adaptive equipment such as a reacher that can help easily move and grasp items used regularly without bending. An OT may discuss safety precautions to reduce the risk of falls as you heal.
Learn more about Occupational Therapy services at Swedish.
At the Swedish Orthopedic Institute, we take a team approach to the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries, fractures, and pain. Our expert physicians, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and case managers provide a comprehensive, integrated program of excellent care, delivered with compassion. By combining extensive clinical expertise with the latest technology, our providers can help our patients return to normal function and daily activities as quickly and safely as possible.
More about the Swedish Orthopedic Institute
Quality results: Our patient outcomes are consistently top-ranked for improved mobility, reduced pain, and low occurrence of infection. Our nurses and therapists receive special training in orthopedic care and many have specialty certifications.
Respected specialists: Swedish Orthopedic Institute works closely with more than 80 orthopedic physicians and surgeons. Swedish specialists have provided orthopedic services for decades and many are recognized as national leaders in their field.
Procedures performed: Orthopedic services provided by Swedish specialists include joint replacement and revisions, foot and ankle injury care, hand surgery and upper-extremity injury care, fracture and trauma care, sports medicine, rehabilitation services, psychiatry services, and more.
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