Occupational Therapy - The Definition
Occupational therapy is associated with the rehabilitation of patients who have suffered from a physical or mental illness, teaching them how to perform the activities necessary for everyday life. They use therapy to help people of all ages perform things they want to do and need to do on a daily basis.
Examples of What an Occupational Therapist Does
Since occupational therapy is beneficial for both young and old, the activities and therapy always depends on the patient and their specific situation. For example, occupational therapists can:
- Assist kids with disabilities to properly socialize and engage in school
- Help injury victims to regain the physical and mental skills necessary for everyday living
- Help elderly patients to go about normal activities despite physical or cognitive limitations
Depending on the patient's situation, an occupational therapist must evaluate and study the patient's circumstances before beginning therapy. The process includes:
- Doing an individualized evaluation, focusing on what the patient/family wants help with or wants to achieve
- Customizing a detailed therapeutic format to help the patient achieve their life skills and goals
- Re-evaluate the patient at the end of the intervention to determine if the goals have been reached or if there is a need for re-formatting the therapy
Occupational therapists will even at times do evaluations of the patient's family home or in-public environment. They also may recommend training equipment that is different from what is already available, or guidance and teaching for the caregivers.
A common motto or question associated with occupational therapists is "What matters to you?" not "What is the matter with you?" With that in mind, it allows the patient and family to determine the needs they seek, and the occupational therapist to help them achieve their goals. They also have the mindset of getting the environment to adapt to the patient, rather than the patient adapting their environments.