April is OT Month but what does that mean? Who are these people and how can they help?
Occupational therapy is a profession that problem solves to help you or a loved one accomplish daily tasks, also called occupations.
Occupations can be anything you do in a day, from going to the bathroom, to feeding the dog, to taking a shower. An Occupational Therapist can assist you finding ways to accomplish all these tasks. OT's want you to participate in activities that are needed and that you enjoy.
If you or a loved one is struggling to perform a task that used to be very simple an Occupational Therapist can help!
“We are problem solvers at heart and are always working to make everyday life inclusive no matter the level of ability.”
Sometimes a simple piece of adaptive equipment is all you need to be able to accomplish a task. OT's have excellent clinical assessment skills, so we figure out the real reason behind why you or a loved one can't complete a task like you used to. Then we devise a plan to use your abilities, your strengths, to complete the task in an easier, through potentially different way.
Let’s use an example to help illustrate this point. One great piece of equipment for a little discussed topic is the DFree® Bladder Training Device. It helps people who have trouble with bladder incontinence to discreetly know when their bladder is near full so that they can make it to the bathroom on time. Have you actually thought about how many fewer things you might do in your day if you couldn’t consistently make it to the bathroom on time?
Incontinence is a huge issue for many just as a part of the normal aging process, or after a back injury or even being born with that sensation impaired. Occupational therapists deal with sensitive issues like this, head on and D-Free is one of the unique ways we can now address this particular problem.
Remember how we said we are experts at assessing the real reason why you or a loved one can't complete a task like you used to? Well that reason is many times not permanent! So we help to heal and improve the trouble through treatment. For instance, we can help improve the strength of the affected arm and hand after a stroke so they can get their own shirt on again or we can train a 3rd grader on how to build up their finger coordination to better hold a pencil to write effectively. We can even teach a person alternative ways to control their bladder when incontinence is an issue.
OT's are a key part of public health as we help people solve life problems in all types of contexts including rehabilitation, returning to community activities, succeeding in school and advocating for accessibility for all with local policy makers just to name a few. We are problem solvers at heart and are always working to make everyday life inclusive no matter the level of ability.
If you think you or someone you love could benefit from seeing an occupational therapist, especially when there are sensitive subjects like incontinence issues involved, get started by letting your primary care physician know and they can prescribe the service so that insurance will cover treatment.