April is National OT month – and by that we are not referring to overtime- but to Occupational Therapy! OT is an integral part of a patient’s rehabilitation program and a key reason they are admitted to a specialty physical reahbilitation hospital.
Occupational therapists and occupational therapy asistants help people from infants to senior citizens to live life to their fullest potential. They do this by encouraging healthy choices, promoting wellness and by showing people how to live optimally while managing illness, disability and injury.
When first being evaluated by your OT practitioner, he or she will ask about your past medical history and about the current issues that brought you to therapy. A full history is important so your OT can begin to get a holistic view of you and not just treat the “injury.” An evaluation will ensue including: both upper extremity range of motion, tone, motor control, strength, coordination, sensation, vision, hand function, cognition and activities of daily living, or ADL’s.
The focus of OT is to increase independence and the ability to fully participate in Basic Activities of Daily Living (BADLs), which include eating, grooming, bathing, transfers, upper body dressing and lower body dressing. OT also focuses on Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), which include but are not limited to managing finances, cooking, shopping, home maintenance, returning to work and driving.
OT is client centered, meaning the patient and therapist work together to develop appropriate goals that are functional and meaningful to the client. The treatment plan developed by the clinician and patient is rooted in evidence-based practice. This is practice based on science and research. The plan takes into account a person’s emotional, psychological, and physical well being, as well as their environment, to promote a better life.
After saying all that – it is really the patient who makes being an OT special. Many thanks to all our past, present and future patients at HHH! It’s been our honor to serve you.
Elizabeth Thompson, OTR/L
Several Helen Hayes Hospital clinicians were kind enough to share their thoughts on OT and OT month, which we are happy to include here.
“OT month at HHH is such a great opportunity to present the scope and variety of interventions our OT Department can provide. As each unit is represented we can really show everyone how OT can be involved from basic tasks like dressing and bathing all the way through driving and return to working. It is truly wonderful to have a role in health care that allows us the opportunity to work with so many different types of people in such a variety of settings while holding on to the common goal of helping them achieve their independence!” – Erica
“OT Month is a time for me to also celebrate with my colleagues the success of our discipline, how far it has come throughout the year, and to celebrate what makes us unique. To celebrate how we help people be independent, live life, and function in the world on a day to day basis.” – Cheryl
“Being an OT has been one of the most fulfilling professions I could have. Especially if you’re lucky enough to practice at Helen Hayes Hospital!” – Liz
“To me, OT means giving people back their independence and their ability to do all the things that make them who they are. For someone to be able to put their hair up by themselves, to comb their child’s hair, to drive after a spinal cord injury, means they are returning to the everyday tasks that mean the most to them. Every task someone can do by themselves brings them closer to their goal of independence. The smile and the confidence they have after they have conquered a new activity or are able to move a hand or arm they couldn’t move before, makes the job worthwhile.” – Lynn
“OT means: New beginnings; Thinking outside of the box in order to regain independence…..” – Kim