Occupational therapy practitioners help individuals participate in the common activities they want and need to complete through the therapeutic use of everyday occupations.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational Therapy, often abbreviated as "OT', is a health and rehabilitation program. The occupational therapists at UT Medical Center work with adults who need specialized assistance to lead independent, productive and satisfying lives due to physical, developmental, social or emotional programs. To achieve these goals, occupational therapists may evaluate the patients' home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), and create recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapy is not the same as physical therapy. Physical therapists help adults with problems related to mobility (strength, flexibility, balance etc.) and posture.
Common occupational therapy interventions at UT Medical Center include:
- Helping people recover from injury to regain skills or prevent the loss of function.
- Providing support for adults experiencing physical, cognitive, and visual changes.
- Facilitating developmental milestones in children.
Occupational Therapy Services
The unique perspective of occupational therapy is based on a holistic view, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the patient, and the patient is an integral part of the therapy team. Occupational therapy services include comprehensive evaluations with the family. The OT practitioner can give recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use. Key components include guidance and education for all family members/caregivers and discharge planning involving community reintegration.
Occupational therapy practitioners work throughout UT Medical Center. The interventions are geared toward maximizing the patients level of functioning in preparation for the next level of therapeutic care. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Evaluate the need for splints and positioning devices to preserve joint integrity and protect skin breakdown due to prolonged pressure.
- Provide training in self-care activities ( e.g., bathing, dressing, eating) with adaptive or durable medical equipment and/or compensatory strategies.
- Use neuromuscular re-education, trunk stabilization, and balance activities to improve patients' ability to move in and out of bed and maintain an upright posture necessary to perform self-care and home management activities.
- Re-mediate upper-extremity weakness and/or abnormal muscle tone through exercise and relevant simulated activities to preserve muscle balance and range of motion.
- Train patients in post-surgical orthopedic protocols, including appropriate weight bearing and/or precautions during activities of daily living.
- Develop home programs and instruct patients, family members, and caregivers in how to use the programs to continue rehabilitation after discharge.
Occupational therapy practitioners collaborate closely with other healthcare team members. OT practitioners assist the patients' successful transition to the home, community, or next level of care.