Occupational Therapy at Rehabilitation Specialists
Occupational Therapists work with clients to improve participation in everyday activities. Through the use of purposeful activity, occupational therapists help people to resume the roles that bring meaning to their lives. By using functional activities and targeted interventions, occupational therapists address both basic activities of daily living (ex: getting dressed, feeding themselves, using the restroom), and instrumental activities of daily living (ex: money management, returning to work, household tasks). Based on the results of their evaluations, occupational therapists develop individualized treatment plans while incorporating feedback from clients and their families to ensure treatment is provided in a unique manner with targeted goals and treatment interventions. These interventions are designed to foster the highest degree of independence and safety within the home and community.
- Improved cognitive functioning including orientation, memory, attention, problem solving, reasoning, and planning
- Improved visual perception and visual scanning
- Improved safety awareness
- Improved fine motor coordination
- Improved self-awareness
- Improved performance of basic and instrumental activities of daily living
- Improved ability to engage in important and familiar roles, vocations, and leisure activities
- Increased functional independence within the home and community
- Improved quality of life
An occupational therapist will assess a wide array of physical and cognitive skills during the evaluation process. Assessment may include evaluation of functional performance of daily tasks, strength and coordination, vision screening, cognitive functioning including basic and executive functions, community independence, and home safety. Other areas to be assessed may include safety awareness within the home and community, role performance, upper extremity function, and evaluation for the need for any adaptive or durable medical equipment.
Through individualized treatment plans, occupational therapists utilize interventions to help maximize independence and quality of life. Specific goals of treatment vary between each individual pending results of assessments. Treatment interventions may include therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular re-education, stretching and strengthening particularly of the upper extremities and core, visual activities to improve perceptual skills/scanning abilities, functional activities to improve performance in everyday tasks such as dressing, feeding, grooming, or more complex tasks including money management, meal preparation/planning, or work skills, as well as other cognitive interventions targeting memory, attention, initiation, planning, sequencing, and safety awareness. Compensatory strategies may also be taught to maximize independence and function. The occupational therapist collaborates with other disciplines including speech therapists, neuropsychologists, cognitive therapists, and physical therapists based on each individual client’s needs to ensure treatment stems from an interdisciplinary approach.
Education is a key component to successful occupational therapy treatment. The occupational therapist provides ongoing education to the client regarding progress, compensatory strategies for use in the home and community, and provides consistent feedback to help promote improved performance. Education is also provided to families as needed to help ensure consistent carryover of strategies and techniques being taught during therapy sessions, as well as in regards to any recommended adaptive equipment, use of upper extremity splints, and for safety strategies.