What Is Occupational Therapy?

Although we all know that occupational therapists, skilled ones, exist among us, we often wonder what their job is all about. Some of us are merely curious, while others who are seriously considering a good career in health care are actively looking into occupational therapy as a good alternative. A medical career is not only about nursing and being a medical doctor. The allied medical professions are as relevant as the others when it comes to a patient’s recuperation.

People would call for an occupational therapist after they’ve consulted their doctor and decided on a long-term recovery plan. Usually, these people are recovering from an injury, an accident or a debilitating illness. It follows physical therapy, in which the patient regains the function of his limbs. If and when a person physiologically recovers from his ordeal, his mind will have to deal with the new changes in his body. Even if he regains use of his hands, if he has lost confidence on how to use it, then it may be a long time before he truly recovers. That’s where an occupational therapist comes in.

The therapeutic use of work, caring for one’s self at home, and play activities to improve bodily function define occupational therapy. But these are just the tip of the iceberg. Occupational therapy is also about the prevention of disability and acceptance of a whole new way of functioning. An occupational therapist may also specialize in treatments involving the development of children with special needs. The profession has something to do with helping an individual cope with his current environment to improve the quality of life.

Every hospital has an occupational therapist, especially if the hospital specializes in orthopaedics. Facilities for occupational therapists may include a play area and a few items used for exercising. Sometimes, occupational therapy is all about seating down with the patient and his family, and talking about plans for going back home. A lot of occupational therapists are very compassionate, which is crucial in this job. They devise a plan that will help the patient recover from his debilitating illness or from an accident.

Most people who experience illness, injury or disability may be mentally unable to go through their normal routine. A therapist will thus need to do develop schemes that will keep the patient busy and that could encourage patients to go back to normal, or adopt a new level of normalcy.