Occupational Therapy 101: What Is OT? Cindi Kumpf–Intern AOTA Public Affairs Office What Is Occupation? • Occupations are the “ordinary and familiar things that people do every day” (AOTA, 1995, p. 1015) and consist of many dimensions, including: – – – – – – Performance Context Temporal Psychological Social and symbolic Spiritual • The main categories of occupation include work, self-care, play, and leisure. Occupational Therapy • Occupational therapy is skilled treatment that helps people become successful in their everyday occupations. Often independence is the goal and can be achieved through: – Skilled treatment in rehabilitating lost motor or cognitive function – Adaptive equipment – Home modifications – Client and caregiver guidance Occupational Therapists Work… • In these areas: - Physical Rehabilitation - Mental Health Services - Learning Disability - Pediatrics - Environmental Adaptation - Care Management - Equipment for Daily Living - Research • In these places: - Community centers - Education establishments - Hospitals - Home Health - Industrial and Commercial organizations - Residential and Nursing homes - Social Services - Schools - Charities and Voluntary agencies OT Within an Interdisciplinary Team • Collaborate with physical therapy, speech therapy, nursing, medicine, social work – Be a team player! • Work closely with team members and sometimes overlap Go TEAM! • Team approach offers patient best care – Assessments from a variety of perspectives – Each brings different insights • OT helps patients find meaning and purpose – Use abilities to participate in occupations • Maximize treatment and outcomes – Communication is key! • Advocate for the patient Occupational Therapy Process • To begin treatment… we need a physician referral! • In an initial evaluation, we look at a patient’s occupational performance and individual goals • We assess a person’s performance skills related to specific tasks, including one’s – Motor skills, – Process skills, and – Communication/interaction skills. • The culmination of these areas allows an individual to participate in daily life Services Offered • ADL and IADL Training – ADL stands for “Activities of Daily Living” – These can include bathing, dressing, grooming, and other activities that are basic to our daily lives – We assist individuals in improving function through participation in ADL. We may suggest adaptive equipment, provide verbal cues for sequencing, work on problem solving, and assess an individual’s ability to perform ADL safely Services Offered • IADL – Instrumental Activities of Daily Living • These are more complex activities that we routinely do to take care of ourselves and others and contribute to society – These may include money management, community mobility, child rearing, and meal preparation Cognition • One of the most important factors in an individual’s return home is his or her ability to be safe within the home environment • We address cognition as it relates to participation in occupation – Is an individual able to problem solve through meal preparation? • If not, what sort of external cues might he or she need to be successful? Neuromuscular Re-Education • Physical agent modalities, such as Functional Electrical Stimulation, may be used in addition to functional reaching exercises to regain muscle strength and use after a stroke. • Gross and fine motor coordination may be compromised after a neurological insult. OTs assist in regaining coordination for functional activities. Upper-Extremity Splinting • To increase an individual’s ability to participate in occupations, sometimes splinting intervention is indicated to stabilize the wrist and hand and assist in the healing process • We splint for such conditions as: – Carpal Tunnel – Radial Nerve Palsy – Tendinitis Home Safety Evaluation • Recommendations for Durable Medical Equipment (DME) – Some examples include: Wheelchair, walker, bedside commode, shower chair, and cane • Tips for preventing accidents and falls – Color-code knobs on stove or washer/dryer for people with low vision – Remove throw rugs to prevent falls • Recommendations for home modifications to improve safety, security, and independence – Ramp construction – Bathroom or kitchen modifications for accessibility Work and Community Integration • Ergonomic evaluations and recommendations for work and home modifications • Driving evaluations • Work capacity evaluation and work hardening Patient, Family, & Caregiver Education • Where is education provided? – In a variety of settings such as: Hospice, hospital, rehabilitation, inpatient and outpatient, skilled nursing facility, schools, and home health • What is included with patient, family, & caregiver education? – Self-treatment or caregiver techniques – ADL re-training • Eating, dressing, or personal hygiene – Precautions after surgeries (i.e., hip replacement) – Use of adaptive equipment for functional activity • Reacher, sock aid, sliding board for transfers – Prosthetic training – Pain management Assistive Technology • Assistive technology is provided for physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. Some examples include: – Wheelchairs: seating systems and communication boards – Low Vision: magnifiers, enhanced lighting, and color coding • Adaptive household equipment is also available for functional needs: – Bathing, dressing, grooming, driving, cooking, and other occupations Common Diagnoses • Neurological Disorders – – – – – – Stroke Traumatic Brain Injury Parkinson’s Disease Multiple Sclerosis Alzheimer’s Disease Spinal Cord Injury • Repetitive Strain Injuries – Back Pain – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Common Diagnoses (Cont.) • Mental Health – – – – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder Schizophrenia Major Depressive Disorder • Developmental Disabilities – – – – Cerebral Palsy Autism Spectrum Disorder Developmental Delays Learning Disabilities Common Diagnoses (Cont.) • Other Common Diagnoses – – – – – – – – – Amputations Hand Injuries Arthritis Low Vision Musculoskeletal Trauma Sensory Dysfunction Chronic Pain Lymphedema Burns Benefits to the Patient • Adaptation to environment or restoration of function • Ability to participate more fully in occupations • Faster recovery • Improved quality of life • Enhanced outcomes • Prevention – Unnecessary hospital stays – Work-related injuries Any questions? THANK YOU References American Occupational Therapy Association. (1995). Position Paper: Occupation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 49, 1015–1018.