Disabilities, injuries, or illness can sometimes present obstacles to participation in daily activities. Occupational therapists help their patients adapt and improve useful skills, so that they can succeed at living the life they want.
Typically, occupational therapists address problem areas using a three-pronged approach, to see where adaptations or therapy might be needed. First, they look at the task the patient is attempting. Second, they look at the patient's ability to perform that task. Finally, they look at the environment in which the task is being performed. Any one or all three of those areas may need adjusting to make the task more manageable.
Occupational therapists work with patients of all ages, from babies to senior citizens. They also address all kinds of illness, injury, and disability. Because the scope of their practice is so broad, the therapies they use are widely different for every patient. Some of the therapies they might use include:
Advising a company on how to make an office wheelchair-accessible
Setting goals for rehabilitation
Creating exercise or treatment plans to increase strength or range of motion
Contacting support services within the patient's community
Creating adaptations for the home, school, or workplace
Identifying coping strategies for pain or stress
Educating families about a diagnosis
Engaging in the routine activities of daily life, especially social activities, is extremely important for our well being. Not being able to do the things you want to do or interact with loved ones can even take a toll on your physical health. Occupational therapists are a significant part of the medical team. They help you not only to stay well, but also to lead a productive life full of the things that are important to you.