Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is concerned with the therapeutic use of self care, work and recreational activities to increase independent function, enhance development, prevent disability and provide evaluation and rehabilitation of those disabled by pain, disease or injury. The goal of occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants is to assist people in developing the "skills for the job of living" necessary for them to live independent and satisfying lives. In the inpatient setting, occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants treat patients who have orthopedic injuries, neurological injuries, arthritis, mental health problems, burns, vision or cognitive problems and acute or chronic illnesses.

Occupational therapists help patients recover by:

  • Evaluating a patient's ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL)
  • Identifying impairments such as strength, range of motion, fine motor (hand) control and cognition that are interfering with a patient's ability to perform ADL safely and independently
  • Designing a customized treatment program that addresses a patient's impairments to allow the regaining of independence and function for daily activities

Treatment may include:

  • Strengthening of upper extremities (arm and hand)
  • Neurological re-training
  • Functional mobility training such as getting on and off the toilet, or in and out of a bed, car, tub, shower or wheelchair
  • ADL re-training, including the use of adaptive equipment and new skills to increase independence with tasks such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation
  • Fabricating customized splints for arms and legs to achieve or maintain a functional position
  • Adaptive and assistive equipment recommendations and usage training
  • Cognitive and visual re-training
  • Family and caregiver education and training