Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy: Regain Your Independence

Occupational therapy is the branch of rehabilitation services focused on assisting patients of all ages to improve their level of independence.   Occupational therapists are specialists in upper extremity rehabilitation, home modification/universal design and durable medical equipment needs.  In addition, the occupational therapist will assess the client’s upper extremity strength and performance and how this affects the client’s ability to participate in daily activities.

For example, with a client suffering a specific injury to the upper extremity (ie. Joint replacement surgery) the occupational therapist will utilize specific manual techniques as well as splinting and an individualized exercise program to increase strength and movement while decreasing pain.  Another example may be if a client has suffered a stroke.  This stroke has most likely impaired performance and safety with daily tasks in many ways.  The occupational therapist will provide information on adaptive strategies and compensatory techniques along with home modification and safety training for the client and caregivers in order to achieve the highest level of independence.    In addition, the occupational therapist will focus on the return of movement and strength in the affected upper extremity in order to allow the client to once again participate in functional tasks and daily care.  Occupational therapists bring a holistic perspective to the treatment team and evaluate the client’s physical and emotional involvement as well as how the client’s environment affects his/her performance and independence.

Occupational Therapy Diagnoses and Services

Service areas and common diagnoses include:

  • Splinting and hand rehabilitation
  • Elbow/Shoulder rehabilitation
  • Neurological rehabilitation (ie. Stroke, brain injury)
  • Industrial rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics – for training in adaptive equipment and upper extremity strengthening
  • Geriatrics – for adaptive equipment, strengthening and ADL modification
  • Universal design and home modification evaluation
  • Lymphedema management

Occupational Therapy Techniques

Our occupational therapists utilize a variety of techniques to address the needs of these populations, including:

  • Therapeutic activities to address deficits in strength, range of motion, and coordination of the upper extremity
  • Splint fabrication (static and dynamic)
  • Energy conservation techniques instruction
  • Adaptive equipment recommendations (e.g., tub benches, safety frames, grab bars)
  • Activities of daily living instruction (e.g., dressing, bathing, kitchen mobility)
  • Recommendations for appropriate levels of independent living/care
  • Ergonomic assessment and recommendations, including functional capacity evaluations