Occupational therapy helps people of all ages do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapists (OTs) enable their patients to live life to the fullest by taking a holistic perspective. They focus on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person. Their efforts promote health and can prevent injury or make living with injury, illness or disability better.
Challenges in the Field
Occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) require a lot of information about their patients in order to come up with an effective plan. They need to understand more than just their patients’ health. OTs and COTAs need to connect with their patients about their goals, environment, support system, and more. Occupational therapists have to learn to listen and communicate in ways that put the patient at ease and keep them motivated.
Occupational Therapy Approaches
There are multiple approaches to developing long term solutions for patients. Occupational therapists have to be creative. Taking a holistic approach, OTs develop creative solutions that allow their patient to accomplish everyday tasks. They really get to spend time thinking outside the box about unique solutions. Whether it’s to help a patient maintain dexterity or design a custom workstation, OTs are creative problem solvers.
The Importance of the Profession
These creative problem solvers provide freedom or normalcy for people living with injuries or disabilities. For example, OTs can help a child with disabilities participate in school and in social situations better. They also can assist a person recovering from injuries to regain skills or aid an older adult to stay independent longer. Occupational therapy offers specialized support and services to people of all ages and in all circumstances.
Celebrate Occupational Therapy Month
This April, it’s important to show support and appreciation to all healthcare professionals but especially occupational therapists. We’ve included a few easy ways to show your support from the comfort of your own home.
- We're sending our occupational therapists and assistants themed shirts to celebrate their work and tell us why they love occupational therapy. Follow us on social media @shccares and #shccares to see them in action!
- Share how occupational therapy helps people live life to its fullest or celebrate a specific OT or COTA in your life on your social media accounts.
- The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has shared 30 ideas for celebrating OT Month on social media during this time of social distancing.
- You can also check out OT Month products from AOTA featuring clothing, gifts and other items to gift to or share with clients, referrers, and colleagues.
Although there are other things going on this April, let's make sure to recognize the extraordinary work of OTs and COTAs this Occupational Therapy Month. They are making important contributions to patient care and healthcare in general.