Occupational Therapists Help With More Than Just Jobs
As occupational therapists (OTs), we assist our patients with the therapeutic
application of everyday activities and occupational components. We address
people’s habits and routines in their homes, schools, workplaces,
communities and other settings.
Because of this, we often focus on life roles and interests, rather than
on formal job roles. Such activities may include hobbies for adults or
play for children. We can also help our patients improve their ability
to get dressed, bathe, toilet and eat.
Despite what their title may imply, we work in many different settings,
with patients of all ages and diagnoses. We can fabricate splints and
manually treat complex upper extremity conditions, and we may hold additional
certifications in various specialties, including hand therapy, geriatrics,
neuro-rehab, physical agent modalities, driving programs and ergonomics.
Speech Therapists Work on Cognition and Social Cues
As speech language pathologists, or speech therapists, we perform more
than swallow evaluations and speech exercises. We work with patients to
improve safety awareness, social functioning, problem solving, memory
and attention. For example, we can help our patients learn to manage their
medications more safely and independently.
We can also assist with improving patients’ability to pay bills and
balance their checkbooks. We can even help our patients improve their
visual comprehension and social skills, which facilitates their ability
to interact with others in a meaningful manner.
Physical Therapy Before Surgery Can Improve Outcomes
If you’re considering surgery, listen up! Pre-operative rehabilitation,
or “prehabilitation,” can help improve patient outcomes and
decrease length of stay in the hospital. Prehab involves improving our
patients’ strength and overall fitness prior to surgery, while educating
them on what to expect during the recovery process.
While fitness enthusiasts have known for years that their active lifestyles
have helped them bounce back from surgery quickly, research is finally
supporting the benefits of prehab. In September 2014, a systematic literature
review of prehabilitation studies revealed that total-body prehab helped
improve postoperative pain and physical function. The benefits extend
beyond orthopedic conditions, too.
Additional research has supported the efficacy of prehab in patients undergoing
upper abdominal surgeries, as well as surgical interventions for various
types of cancer. Getting started with prehab before surgery can be as
simple as asking your doctor for a referral for physical therapy.
Inpatient Rehab Can Get You Home Faster
An inpatient rehab facility (IRF) is a rehabilitation facility with an
acute level of medical care, and a minimum of three hours of rehab therapy
each day. Other types of post-acute rehabilitation programs are not required
to provide such intensive therapy. Because of their acute level of medical
care and strong emphasis on functional mobility, IRFs are associated with
shorter stays and faster returns to the life you love! IRFs also tend
to have better overall patient outcomes, with fewer post-rehab hospital
readmissions and emergency room visits. If you, or a loved one, will require
rehabilitation after a hospitalization or surgery, ask your doctor about
the possibility of going to an inpatient rehab facility!
This blog, including text, graphics, images and other posted materials,
is provided for general informational purposes only. This information
is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment or advice. You should
consult a physician for any medical needs.
Center for Medicare Advocacy