What is Occupational Therapy?

T Letzelter 12-2011

Today’s post was written by Concordia Occupational Therapist Terry Letzelter, who has worked in the field for 30 years. Thanks to clinicians like Terry and others at Concordia, we have the expertise and resources to help get our patients back to life.

Occupational Therapy has been a profession in the United States since 1917, but there are still many misunderstandings about what it is that an OT actually does.  Some people ask, “Are these the people who help me find a job?” while others believe it is simply physical therapy from the waist up. Unfortunately, neither is true.

Occupational Therapy is a holistic approach to patient treatment. It addresses a number of areas:

  • Physical
  • Psychosocial
  • Work
  • Leisure
  • Cognitive
  • Adaptation
  • Prevention
  • Staff, family and patient education

Occupational Therapy helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities called OCCUPATIONS.  The goal of OT is to allow patients to resume roles, habits, and routines in home, school, work, community and other settings (if possible) with maximum independence and safety.

Patients may receive OT treatment in a variety of settings:

  • Home Health
  • Hospitals
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Rehab Centers
  • Mental Health
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Academia
  • Pediatric and Early Intervention
  • Community and Nontraditional Settings

Occupational Therapy treatments can include a variety of tasks and skill building activities.  These treatments are designed per an individual’s needs and abilities to help then strength and complete activities at their maximum potential.

OT treatments may include:

  • Evaluation
  • Assessment of need for adaptive and medical equipment with training on use of equipment
  • Family and caregiver training
  • Compensatory strategies
  • General strengthening programs
  • Energy conservation/work simplification
  • Activities of Daily Living program
  • Homemaking activities
  • Safety and home safety evaluations
  • Functional mobility training (i.e.  wheelchair mobility)
  • Positioning programs to increase comfort in and out of bed, prevent skin breakdown and increase sitting tolerance

At Concordia, Occupational Therapists can be seen working in the outpatient setting working with hand patients or training patients on safety with wheelchair mobility and positioning.  OT also treats patients in our Skilled Nursing Facility for a large variety of diagnoses, to help maximize their independence and safety.  OTs also work in the home care setting to increase functional independence and safety in the home environment.

For more information on Occupational Therapy, to arrange a personal tour or to schedule an appointment with Concordia Outpatient Physical Therapy, please call 724-352-4535. You can also message us through the contact form on our website.

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