April is Occupational Therapy Awareness Month. If you or a loved one needs occupational therapy, several avenues exist to connect you with qualified, caring professionals. Today, we’ll examine who can benefit from occupational therapy (OT) and how an in-home setting can enhance it. We’ll discuss the benefits of becoming an occupational therapist for those considering the profession as well.
Who Needs Occupational Therapy?
There are several reasons someone might need OT and no two OT clients are exactly alike. Common reasons include:
- Physical injuries to limbs or other areas that prevent completion of self-care
- Physical or mental disabilities that impact self-care and other life skills
- Recovery from surgery or severe medical trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
Occupational therapy usually involves training or retraining the body and brain to complete certain life skills. These can include dressing, grooming, bathing, cooking, and laundry, among others. The type and duration of OT you need depends on your circumstances. For instance, a patient with a broken arm might need to learn ways to modify brushing his teeth or feeding himself until he regains use of the dominant arm. Someone born with cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, on the other hand, might need OT from toddlerhood into adulthood to learn management or modification of skills. That person may start out learning to tie shoes and progress to household management during the teen or adult years.
Benefits of a Homebound or In-Home Setting
Many OT patients are homebound or prefer to have therapy in their homes. In these cases, the therapist will come to the house with the necessary tools for that session. Clients may make standing appointments monthly, weekly, or more frequently depending on their needs. The benefits of an in-home setting are myriad and include:
- Greater rapport between therapist and client.
- More natural opportunities to practice skills. For example, a teen learning to cook can practice in a familiar kitchen.
- Less stress for clients and caregivers. In-home treatment keeps both parties from feeling that all travel revolves around therapy appointments. Caregivers can save on gas and other travel expenses.
- Gives caregivers a quick, convenient break.
Benefits of Being an OT
Becoming an OT requires years of schooling and clinical training, but most therapists find it well worth the effort. If you’d like to become an OT, consider these benefits:
- Variety; daily interaction with different clients of different needs
- The chance to build rapport and raise confidence while assisting with personal tasks
- Greater knowledge of modifications and assistive technology
To discuss more about OT, feel free to contact us at Preferred Home Health Care.