Occupational Therapists Help With More Than Just Jobs
As occupational therapists (OTs), we assist our patients with the therapeutic application of everyday activities and occupational components. We address people’s habits and routines in their homes, schools, workplaces, communities, and other settings.
Because of this, we often focus on life roles and interests, rather than on formal job roles. Such activities may include hobbies for adults or play for children. We can also help our patients improve their ability to get dressed, bathe, toilet, and eat.
Despite what their title may imply, we work in many different settings, with patients of all ages and diagnoses. We can fabricate splints and manually treat complex upper extremity conditions, and we may hold additional certifications in various specialties, including hand therapy, geriatrics, neuro-rehab, physical agent modalities, driving programs, and ergonomics.
Speech Therapists Work on Cognition and Social Cues
As speech-language pathologists or speech therapists, we perform more than swallow evaluations and speech exercises. We work with patients to improve safety awareness, social functioning, problem-solving, memory, and attention. For example, we can help our patients learn to manage their medications more safely and independently.
We can also assist with improving patients’ ability to pay bills and balance their checkbooks. We can even help our patients improve their visual comprehension and social skills, which facilitates their ability to interact with others in a meaningful manner.
Physical Therapy Before Surgery Can Improve Outcomes
If you’re considering surgery, listen up! Pre-operative rehabilitation, or “prehabilitation,” can help improve patient outcomes and decrease the length of stay in the hospital. Prehab involves improving our patients’ strength and overall fitness prior to surgery while educating them on what to expect during the recovery process.
While fitness enthusiasts have known for years that their active lifestyles have helped them bounce back from surgery quickly, research is finally supporting the benefits of prehab. In September 2014, a systematic literature review of prehabilitation studies revealed that total-body prehab helped improve postoperative pain and physical function. The benefits extend beyond orthopedic conditions, too.
Additional research has supported the efficacy of prehab in patients undergoing upper abdominal surgeries, as well as surgical interventions for various types of cancer. Getting started with prehab before surgery can be as simple as asking your doctor for a referral for physical therapy.
Inpatient Rehab Can Get You Home Faster
An inpatient rehab facility (IRF) is a rehabilitation facility with an acute level of medical care, and a minimum of three hours of rehab therapy each day. Other types of post-acute rehabilitation programs are not required to provide such intensive therapy. Because of their acute level of medical care and a strong emphasis on functional mobility, IRFs are associated with shorter stays and faster returns to the life you love! IRFs also tend to have better overall patient outcomes, with fewer post-rehab hospital readmissions and emergency room visits. If you, or a loved one, will require rehabilitation after a hospitalization or surgery, ask your doctor about the possibility of going to an inpatient rehab facility!
This blog, including text, graphics, images, and other posted materials, is provided for general informational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment or advice. You should consult a physician for any medical needs.
Center for Medicare Advocacy