Have you ever experienced waking up and feeling weak? Have you been unable to do the things you love and end up getting frustrated lately?
Well, you are not alone.
I remember working with one of my patients, who was in her 50’s. She suffered from a mild stroke that made it hard for her to move one side of her body. She couldn’t reach her back or even put a dipper over her head. But with perseverance and consistent therapy, she became better. She didn’t even need assistance anymore.
This is a great story of what an Occupational Therapist can do to help in improving independence. As we age, we are faced with certain complications that can affect our total well being, such as physical health and our mental functioning. You start forgetting things or you find it hard to move around the house. Even opening a jar may become difficult.
And now you wonder, where do you get help?
The typical approach would be heading over to your doctor for a consultation. The physician would then assess and refer you to a more specialized practitioner in that field.
This is where the Occupational Therapist (OT) comes in.
Occupational therapy is a profession that aids people in being able to participate in activities of everyday life that they find meaningful and important. The healthcare workers, called Occupational Therapists, work with people to improve their ability to perform their occupations independently.
In other words, Occupational Therapists help people do their daily tasks easier, be it through health promotion and prevention despite their injury, illness, or disability.
These therapists work in different fields such as psychosocial and physical dysfunction for children, adults and the elderly. With some working with physical disabilities, they help you get through life through therapeutic interventions such as providing preparatory methods and tasks, performing occupation-based activities, offering education and training, or recommending of adaptive equipment and environmental modifications when needed.
As an OT, I give aid to children with disabilities so they can participate in school better, help people recover from injuries, and also support adults who are experiencing physical or mental problems. These are some of the benefits of working with an OT.
Now that you know what an Occupational Therapist is, let’s talk about the process one must go through when wanting to acquire such a therapeutic service. The following steps show how an OT can work for you:
1. A referral from the physician is provided and will be given to the therapist.
2. Screening of the client will be done to check if he/she is fit to avail the therapy service or if other services would suit the client better based on his/her condition.
3. Evaluation process will then take place, which will include identifying client’s primary concerns and problems as well as assessing the client’s current skills.
4. Client’s goals are then established. (eg. To restore the client’s upper extremity function to enable dressing.)
5. Evidenced-based therapeutic interventions are provided based on the client’s goals.
6. Reassessment of client’s skills is done periodically to check whether his/her goals are met.
7. Adjustment of the treatment plan is made when necessary. If not, continuity in implementing the same intervention plan is done until client’s goals are met and will then be discharged from therapy.
With a client-centred approach, we not only check one’s performance skills and his/her environment but also the interaction that takes place from the patient to the environment. This entails us to continue to listen and adapt strategies that could help the client reach the goal sooner and easier. It is a fluid process that complements the client’s health, condition, mindset and environment.
Hence, if you’re one of those people having a physical or mental condition (or you have a family member doing such) please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with an Occupational Therapist near you.
Never let an injury, illness, or disability limit you from doing what you love. We, Occupational Therapists, are here to help you get through it.