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Health Education Blog

Understanding the Benefits of Occupational Therapy

Posted by Staff on April 14, 2023

Occupational Therapy MonthApril is Occupational Therapy Month, and it's the perfect time to shine a spotlight on this important aspect of healthcare. Occupational therapy (OT) is a type of therapy that helps people of all ages to perform daily activities, both physical and mental, more effectively and efficiently.

Oftentimes, people may not know what occupational therapy is unless they’ve personally come into contact with it. If you're unfamiliar with occupational therapy, or you're curious about how it can benefit your health, we’ll give you all the information you need.

What is Occupational Therapy?

The American Occupational Therapy Association is dedicated to promoting their profession of occupational therapy and how it’s not just a job, it’s a passion. The definition on their website reads:

Occupational therapy is a science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to participate in daily living or live better with injury, illness, or disability. This is accomplished through designing strategies for everyday living and customizing environments to develop and maximize potential.

By taking the full picture into account—a person's psychological, physical, emotional, and social make-up—occupational therapy assists people in:

  • Achieving their goals
  • Functioning at the highest possible level
  • Concentrating on what matters most to them
  • Maintaining or rebuilding their independence
  • Participating in the everyday activities that they need to do or that simply make life worth living.

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are experts in helping people perform the occupations they need and want to do every day.

OT helps people to perform daily activities that are important to them, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and working. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages, from children to older adults. They help people with a variety of conditions, including physical disabilities, cognitive impairments, and mental health disorders.

During occupational therapy sessions, patients work with their therapist to develop goals and a treatment plan that is tailored to their individual needs. Therapists may use a variety of techniques, such as exercise, stretching, and manual therapy, to help patients achieve their goals. Additionally, occupational therapists may help patients to develop coping strategies, such as mindfulness or relaxation techniques, to help them manage stress and anxiety.

What Occupational Therapists Do

Occupational therapy is unique in that it impacts almost all areas of a person’s life. In order to live functioning and engaged lives, we need to do simple things like dressing, bathing, and feeding ourselves. Occupational therapists help others find ways they can operate though life by either solving an issue or helping their clients find ways to adapt with adaptive devices and adjusting environments or coping mechanisms.

Physical Therapy and Injury Rehabilitation:

Occupational therapy combines the healing of the physical body and can include adapted tools. Occupational therapists help patients recover from injuries or surgeries and can also help patients with physical disabilities to improve their mobility and strength, for example patients with low-sight or cerebral palsy.

Therapists may use exercise, stretching, and manual therapy techniques to help patients regain function and reduce pain. If a patient experienced a car accident, fall, or another event that caused injury, an OT can incorporate assistive devices into the treatment plan to help a patient regain function and independence.

Chronic Pain Management:

Occupational therapy can be an effective way to manage chronic pain, such as that caused by arthritis or fibromyalgia. Therapists may use techniques such as relaxation and mindfulness training, as well as physical therapy, to help patients reduce pain and improve function.

Mental Health:

Occupational therapy can be beneficial for mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therapists may help patients to develop coping strategies and relaxation techniques to manage symptoms.

OT can also help patients with cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Therapists may work with patients to develop strategies for managing daily tasks, as well as assistive devices to help them maintain independence.

Quality of Life:

Ultimately, occupational therapy is about helping patients to improve their quality of life. Whether that means helping a patient to regain the ability to perform a favorite hobby or helping a patient to develop strategies to manage daily tasks, occupational therapy can make a significant difference in a patient's life.

Making the Most of Occupational Therapy Sessions

You may be wondering what occupational therapy looks like. How an occupational therapist works with a patient and what makes a successful treatment. Here are some components to what makes effective treatment for a patient and occupational therapist.

  1. Goal Setting: Before the first session, think about what you hope to achieve through occupational therapy. Whether it's improving mobility, managing chronic pain, or developing coping strategies for anxiety, setting clear goals can help you and the therapist to stay focused.
  2. Be Open and Honest: It's important to be open and honest with an occupational therapist about your symptoms, concerns, and limitations. This will help the therapist to develop a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to the patient’s needs.
  3. Practice Between Sessions: In many cases, occupational therapy requires patients to practice exercises or techniques between sessions. Be sure to follow the therapist's instructions and practice regularly to see the best results.
  4. Ask Questions: Don't be afraid to ask an occupational therapist questions about your treatment plan, your progress, or any concerns you may have. The therapist is there to help you, and they want you to feel comfortable and confident in your treatment.

Finding an Occupational Therapist

Orchard Hospital offers Occupational Treatment services! Through the use of adaptive equipment and customized treatment programs we replace loss of function and help individuals with activities of daily living. We treat many injuries, conditions, and even offer speech and language therapy services. Our OTs and COTAs are available for Home Safety Evaluations.

Get more information by contacting or scheduling an appointment with our Medical Specialty Center. We also offer walk-in care 7 days a week!

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Topics: Programs, Services, Healthcare Clinic

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This blog is the place to find general healthcare information, news and updates, as well as ways Orchard Hospital can help!


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