Demystifying Occupational Therapy: More Than What Meets the Eye

Everyone understands the value of a healthy life.  However, achieving it is another matter altogether.  Usually, we visit a doctor when we fall sick or hurt ourselves.  But what’s a more wholesome method of care?

While occupational therapy and traditional medical practices both serve a purpose in improving one’s well-being, they focus on varying care aspects.  With OT, individuals receive the help they drastically need to grow, redevelop, or maintain the necessary skills for meaningful daily living.  Occupational therapy is a wholesome approach to healthcare, benefitting all ages.  It considers the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing an individual’s ability to perform everyday routines.

Now, we all seek a good quality of life.  We strive to be independent.  Read on to learn how occupational therapy can promote wellness by taking a patient’s whole self into account during treatment.

Is Occupational Therapy a Novel Concept?

If you go down the rabbit hole and research the beginnings of occupational therapy, you’ll find its existence even as early as 100 BCE.  At this time, it focused on treating mental illness with therapeutic baths, massage, exercise, and music.

OT took a step back during medieval times.  In the 18th century, European doctors strived to reform hospital systems, replacing chains and restraints with work and leisure activities. The reform movement spread to America in the early 1900s as a result of heightened war injuries and industrial accidents.

In the present day, occupational therapy practitioners provide treatment and prevention services.  They focus on restoring an individual’s daily function and performance so one can accomplish valued activities and duties.

Who Are the Primary Beneficiaries of OT?

A question we often hear is, “How do I know if I need occupational therapy?”   Bearing in mind that OT is unique.  It’s a wholesome approach to patient care, available in various settings, from homes and schools to hospitals and long-term care facilities.  Here are some situations exemplifying the effectiveness of occupational therapy:

  • Challenges with fine motor skills (e.g. writing or tying shoe laces)
  • Balance and hand-eye coordination issues
  • Reduced range of motion or body/extremities strength
  • Cognitive impairments (e.g. memory or problem-solving)
  • Neurological conditions (e.g. stroke, MS, or Parkinson’s)
  • Dysfunctions related to sensory interpretation
  • Work-related injuries
  • Chronic illnesses (e.g. diabetes, stroke, or heart disease)
  • Developmental delays and disabilities

How Does Occupational Therapy Work?

OT helps patients with their daily activities, be they cooking, bathing, eating, or getting dressed.  If you’ve recently suffered an injury, an occupational therapist is instrumental in you regaining your skills to live independently.  They’ll work together with you to form a plan that considers your condition, environment, and usual routine.

The first thing an occupational therapist does is learn about you.  Every patient is different.  Your home environment and support network differ from other individuals.  As such, expect a formal evaluation to start, where an occupational therapist listens to your needs and finds ways to assist.

After that, you’ll receive the help you need to heal.  Perhaps you just went through surgery or experienced an injury.  As such, you may learn strength and flexibility exercises.   Note that occupational therapists s may specialise in various areas, from hand therapy and pelvic health to diet or speech management.

Environmental Modifications

As a patient, you must understand that there are certain things you won’t be able to do without home modifications.  An occupational therapist has the training and experience to help you find new ways to perform your daily tasks.  For example, with a leg injury, you’ll need to learn the proper methods to move around the house or get into a car.

As OT is a wholesome approach to care, the therapist will look at all aspects of your life.  Your environments, whether at home, work, or school, may require a few changes.  They may contain tripping hazards or narrow walkways that don’t help in terms of safety and mobility.

From Primary to Tertiary Care Settings

OT practitioners take a holistic approach when treating patients rather than consider symptoms separately.  As such, they are in the best position to create a tailored plan to restore independence and improve overall function.  Thus, an occupational therapist doesn’t just address current concerns but works to reduce future risks by establishing reasonable goals.

From primary to tertiary settings, occupational therapists perform careful assessments centred around the patient and their environment.  They work with interdisciplinary specialists with a focus on improving a patient’s quality of life.  As a result of tailored services, patients enjoy better psychological well-being, resilience, and autonomy.

Why Is Occupational Therapy’s Holistic Approach So Different from the Traditional Healthcare Model and Physiotherapy?

You may be familiar with standard medical practices which centre around responding to physical and medical traumas.  On the other hand, occupational therapy is unique in the sense that it focuses on creating plans and preventative methods to drive better health outcomes.  Whereas physiotherapy involves physical exercises and related equipment. While OT is more abstract, physiotherapy has a more visual and literal approach.

Occupational therapists recognise that how individuals interact with themselves, their surroundings, and the people around them matters.  So they use this insight to design and implement plans to overcome everyday challenges and prevent long-term medical complications.

Everyone Deserves the Holistic Wonders of Occupational Therapy

At Lifeweavers, we’re committed to bringing patients the gold standard of healthcare.  Our highly experienced rehabilitation clinicians work with doctors, counsellors, support groups, and more to help individuals recover and lead better lives. Our multi-disciplinary team includes:

  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Speech Therapists
  • Hand Therapists
  • Dieticians
  • Stretch Therapists
  • Specialised Massage Therapists

Have you or your loved one recently experienced a physical impairment?  Perhaps you want to combat the effects of ageing and continue living independently for many years to come.  If so, make the life-changing decision today to engage with Lifeweavers.  We’ll not only focus on physical treatment but create personal plans based on your environment.  And we’ll give you the tools you require so to reclaim and reassume your life roles.

So if you agree that life is about more than simply surviving, talk to us today.  Our team will gladly explain all you need to know about this groundbreaking health field.  Achieve more than just staying alive.  Experience meaningful moments in your home and society with the help of our team of allied health professionals.

We are open to direct referral to our therapy services and are happy to discuss your cases.