Occupational therapy, in short, is a therapy that helps people who have become physically or mentally injured to fulfil their day to day to role. Often, it is the case that occupational therapy is focused on those who have had an accident within which they have lost some capabilities. In this article, we will look at some of the different methods used within occupational therapy jobs,
seeing how different techniques can work differently for different people. It’s important to remember that occupational therapy isn’t a case of one size fits all, but each type of therapy that is pursued should be tailored to the service users receiving it.
You can break different methods of occupational therapy into different categories. One of these is therapeutic activities. This will focus on exercising key affected parts of the body, maintaining strength and stamina, and improving things such as sense, cognition and perception. Each of these areas requires a lot of personalisation. Vocational potential is another therapeutic activity within which these treatments can be put to use in the world of work. Sometimes this will mean making adaptations to the patient’s current workplace. Or, it might be the case that a completely new career needs to be pursued.
Another category is activities of daily living. These are methods within which you are aiding a patient to an extent that they will be able to perform these tasks by themselves. For example, one area to focus on is self-maintenance. This gets a patient (through treatment and/or environment adaptation) to a point where they can dress, eat, wash, and go to the toilet unaided. After this, the next key area to examine is mobility. This might involve changes to private and public transport, changes to their bed, and adapting to wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Communication methods must also be addressed. Therapy therefore, might focus on areas such as reading and writing. As well as making ergonomic alterations to computers and telephones where necessary.
A slightly more specific method used is orthosis. Also known as splinting, this is when a device is added to a person’s body to correct deformities, assist weaken muscle, build restoration, etc. If it is a short term solution, you will help patients managing with a thermoplastic splint. Or if it is for long term use and/or permanent conditions, a metal splint will be used. In this scenario, you will devise a therapeutic programme built around a patient permanently getting used to this adaptation to their body.