Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
What is Occupational Therapy?
Reanna Dawson, Rehabilitation Therapy Manager
Porter Hills Health & Rehabilitation Center
April is Occupational Therapy Month!
Watch the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
Occupational therapists are health professionals that work with people of all ages to help them do what they want and need to do in all aspects of life.
It allows the patient to focus on useful things that will help them with the simple and complex pieces of their day-to-day life. Those can include caring for oneself, work, volunteering and activities involved in a hobby.
Part of our job is to help a patient adapt themselves and their environment to their ability level. We look at many different aspects of daily life, like bathing, getting dressed or picking things up from the ground. These aspects of life we commonly call Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
Often we will suggest modifications to a home to make things easier for the patient. These recommendations are made during home evaluations, which occur during a sub-acute rehab stay and help us see what a patient has to be able to do independently to return home. During these home assessments we don’t just look at equipment, we also look at how commonly used items are set up around the home.
- Kitchen: How are commonly used items set up?
- Bathroom: Are grab bars or a shower bench needed? Does the toilet seat need to be raised?
- Bedroom: Is the bed at an appropriate height? Are assist bars needed bedside?
- Chairs: Are they at an appropriate height?
- Hallways and rooms: Clear of clutter and any trip hazards like throw rugs?
Physically after surgery a patient may have precautions like not being able to bend, lift, or twist. We bend, lift, and twist every day to get dressed, bathe, pick thing up off the floor, and get in and out of bed. When you are not able to do these basic function’s OT comes in and applies a patient centered approach and recommends adaptive equipment such as:
- a reacher
- leg lifter
- dressing stick
- long handled sponge.
We teach patients how to use these tools and techniques to increase their independence in their own care. These tools give someone the hope and confidence they need to overcome post-surgical barriers.
All of this is to make it easy and safe for a patient to return home successfully. OT helps patients develop, recover, learn and improve the skills needed for daily living and work.