The term occupational therapy can be a little confusing for some patients and caregivers. It doesn’t refer to vocational or job training but instead to retraining a patient in daily living skills after an injury or illness. This retraining can involve anything from eating to personal care to learning to use a walker. A high-quality rehab facility can be a terrific partner in providing occupational therapy for you or your loved one after injury, illness or surgery.
What Is Occupational Therapy?
Recovering from a stroke, major surgery or other health-related issues can be difficult—both physically and emotionally. Patients often need help readjusting to daily life both during and after recovery. Activities that were natural before can become challenging, leading to frustration and sometimes even depression.
Occupational therapy is a form of rehabilitation that helps patients deal with the psychological and emotional elements of recovery as well as physical issues by helping them make small (or large) advances in relearning daily activities and working toward functioning independently.
An occupational therapist is trained to work with everyone from a child struggling with fine motor skills to an adult recovering from a stroke who needs to relearn how to use a knife and fork or a surgery patient who needs to learn to use a walker and develop coping strategies during recovery.
Who Needs Occupational Therapy?
Many patients receiving rehabilitation services following an injury or illness are good candidates for occupational therapy, which can help with function, life skills, and self-esteem.
Candidates for occupational therapy include someone recovering from an injury who needs to relearn basic skills or a senior struggling to adapt to physical and cognitive changes associated with aging. In many cases, occupational therapy is also an essential part of rehabilitation following a stroke and after surgeries like a hip replacement.
Occupational Therapy After a Stroke
Occupational therapy is an integral part of recovering from a stroke. A stroke can affect many aspects of life such as the ability to balance, memory issues, vision impairment, and difficulties with speech. These can then lead to trouble with routine day to day activities like bathing, dressing, eating and beyond.
Trained occupational therapists can help patients address the physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges brought on by a stroke and help them regain the ability to take care of life’s basic necessities—big and small. Whether this means helping a stroke survivor learn to use a knife and fork or relearn bathing and dressing routines, occupational therapy is a key component of stroke recovery.
Occupational Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement surgery can give many patients a new lease on life. However, the weeks after hip replacement surgery can be more challenging than many patients and caregivers realize. Mobility is an issue post-surgery, and patients need to change temporarily the way they handle basic tasks. Occupational therapists can teach patients how to move safely and how to complete daily tasks in new ways. This can include learning to use a walker, changing the way they sit, learning to dress and complete daily activities without bending at the waist, and using tools to complete activities that were previously no big deal.
Occupational therapists have training and experience to help patients get through the recovery period as smoothly as possible with the help of tested strategies and equipment.
How Can A Rehabilitation Facility Help With Occupational Therapy?
A high-quality rehab facility with trained and experienced occupational therapists is an ideal place to help your loved one recover from injury, surgery or illness. Occupational therapists work with other medical professionals to provide an integrated care plan tailored to your loved one’s needs. Patients receive a personalized evaluation by an occupational therapist, in cooperation with other staff to determine their needs and—perhaps most importantly—to develop goals in conjunction with family and caregivers. This goal-setting process is so important to regaining function and avoiding frustration and depression. A trained occupational therapist is an ideal partner in helping your loved one return to a functional, productive life.