Open Accessibility Menu

A Holistic Approach to Healthcare: A Spotlight on Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:

A Holistic Approach to Healthcare: A Spotlight on Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

April is Occupational Therapy Awareness Month, but many people are unaware of what that field is, exactly, or mistakenly assume it is the same field as physical therapy. While there are similarities and both are forms of rehabilitation, occupational therapy is a distinct service that may help you if you need help after some event has left you with physical limitations that make everyday activities more difficult when they used to come naturally to you. Some examples of what occupational therapists can help a person do are everyday basic tasks like putting on shoes and socks, organizing a backpack, holding a pen, or opening a container.

Should I See an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational therapy may help you if you have physical limitations that make everyday activities more of a challenge than they used to be and you have less ability to take care of yourself than before. A skilled occupational therapist is a rehabilitation professional who assists patients with the “activities of daily living,” which include things such as dressing, bathing, eating, grooming, and toileting. The goal of occupational therapy is to help people relearn methods to improve their everyday life skills (occupations) so they can live more independently.

If you need one, the following are important qualities to seek out in any occupational therapist:

  • Good communication: Your occupational therapist should be a good listener when you explain your goals. They should also speak with your medical team and fully understand your treatment plan and communicate your progress on a regular basis.
  • Compassionate: Occupational therapists typically have a strong desire to help people improve their daily lives and they must be sensitive to their patients’ needs and concerns.
  • Patience: It takes time to learn new everyday life skills and deal with injuries, illnesses, and disabilities, and it can be frustrating, especially for the patient. This requires perseverance on the part of the occupational therapist and a good attitude.

How an Occupational Therapist Can Help You Live a More Independent Life

When you work with an occupational therapist, they will take a deep dive into your medical history, ask you questions about your physical limitations and capabilities, and observe you doing tasks that give you trouble. They will evaluate your condition and identify specific goals and needs to develop an individualized treatment plan with activities that can help propel you towards said goals. They can also recommend compensation strategies if you need extra help, such as evaluating your home or workplace and identifying potential improvements, for instance, such as labeling kitchen cabinets for an older person who has had a stroke and has poor memory of where items are located.

For someone with poor balance, they may recommend assistive equipment and show them how to use it so they can function more independently. An occupational therapist can even come to their patient’s home and identify potential fall hazards, like loose cords or area rugs, and recommend what should be altered or removed. They have many other duties and may also help those with mental illnesses thrive and may work in inpatient settings in addition to outpatient ones.

To learn more about Fox Valley Orthopedics, please call 630-584-1400 to book an appointment.