Once upon a time, occupational therapy was something mostly associated with recovery after injury. Therapists would help people regain their skills needed for work and the story would end there.
Today, OT can be that, but also much more. For starters, the field now covers a whole variety of patients: from seniors who need assistance with the skills needed for everyday life or people with limited mobility, to people with an autism spectrum disorder, and stroke victims. It is now a complex and wide field of treatments aimed at helping people regain skills needed for everyday tasks.
In order to raise awareness about how beneficial occupational therapy can be, we are going to list the biggest upsides of OT.
Staying away from hospitals
Let’s face it, staying in a hospital is never a pleasant experience. Sometimes, when a person already spends a prolonged time due to some kind of serious injury or illness, chances are they are going to have trouble coming back to their usual daily routine.
Prolonged time in a hospital bed often results in atrophy and increases the risk of follow-up injuries once they dive headfirst into their usual mode of functioning. Further injury is not uncommon for patients who don’t dedicate themselves to physical and occupational therapy. With OT, you re-learn how to function daily and adapt to your new situation in the most painless way.
Develop job skills
Unfortunately, a lot of patients that come back home after a long time in the hospital tend to develop depressive disorders on some scale. This is more often than not connected to the fact that people feel overwhelmed by the restrictive conditions they find themselves in. Often, they don’t even try regaining employment—even though it is entirely possible and even recommended.
A therapist can help patients find their limits and adjust their strengths. Through this, they develop skills with which they can get employed in a meaningful and fulfilling way. All that without the risk of further injuries.
Become independent again
Regaining the ability to function independently is one of the primary concerns of patients who choose OT. Reasonably so, because occupational therapy is highly efficient in that field.
For example, a large majority of Better Rehabilitation assistive technology users found their quality of life greatly improved. All it took was some of the useful home modifications that help them get on with their daily lives without any help. There are a lot of ways in which you can make your home suitable for low-risk day-to-day living. Trained OT professionals are there to help with that process.
Prevent memory issues
One way in which occupational therapy also excels is creating aids and memory mechanisms through which people with impaired capacities (be it through injury, illness, old age, or bad nutrition) can cope and organize their brains.
This process is basically made up of many brain practices and memory aids and tricks through which patients become highly functional in their daily lives. For some, only a short time in therapy is enough to see improvement, while some might need OT for life. Be that as it may, it is a process that is incredibly helpful with injury-related and old age dementia.
Fight off chronic fatigue
People suffering from many different ailments suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. In fact, even patients that spent a long time in hospital or hospice beds tend to develop CFS. The nature of this condition is such that there is no real cure to it, and every case has to be evaluated individually, although there are a lot of options to handle it.
Doctors agree that exercise helps a lot, as does psychological therapy (CBT most of all), but occupational therapy is a great thing to consider as well. By creating routines and ways in which a patient can function on their own again, they can improve their sleeping cycle and finally get to overcome CFS in order to get back to their job or education.
As you can now see, occupational therapy is a field that can both improve and prevent some of the downsides of old age, limited mobility, injury, and illness recovery. If you or someone you know needs this kind of help, be sure to seek out further information and assistance from trained professionals in this field.
Image credit: Steven Depolo via flickr.com