How Occupational Therapy Can Help You Get Back to Work
Looking to get back to work after experiencing an injury or stroke? Occupational therapy is about to become your best ally. After you've experienced an injury and have taken time off from work in order to recover, you'll need to go through a transition period before you return to work.
Depending on the severity of the injury or issue, you might need help getting back to tasks that previously seemed simple to you, meaning that it will take you a good amount of time to get back to work. Happily, this is where your occupational therapist comes in - they are your ally, the person here to help you get back to where you want to be. But let's back up a bit.
Maybe you're wondering, just what is occupational therapy? In the simplest terms, occupational therapists help people across all age brackets participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.
For some, this may mean helping kids with disabilities to participate fully in school and in their social situations, or it might mean helping adults to recover from injury and regain the skills they once thought to be second nature. For others, it might mean supporting elderly folks experiencing physical and cognitive changes thanks to illness or age.
Visiting the occupational therapist for the first time? Here's what to expect: You will receive an individualized evaluation, during which time you and your family will work with the occupational therapist to put together a list of your specific goals. You'll talk through what it is you hope to achieve through your therapy, what skills you've lost that you'd like to regain.
From there, your occupational therapist will create a customized intervention to improve your ability to complete your goals, as well as to perform daily activities that may no longer be as easy for you to achieve. Keep in mind, though you may have difficulty completing activities that used to come easy to you now, your occupational therapist is here to help make them easy again.
Don't be discouraged if you can't complete a seemingly simple action right away - you will get there! Lastly, your occupational therapist will put together an 'outcomes evaluation' which will ensure that your goals are being met. This evaluation will also help the therapist to change the course of the plan if need be, if your goals aren't being met or certain things don't appear to be working.
Following your initial meeting with your occupational therapist, he or she may want to complete comprehensive evaluations of your home and other environments in which you typically spend time. This may include work or school.
Again, don't worry about this portion - it's simply important for your occupational therapist to visit the places in which you're often found, so that they can create your customized plan accordingly. Visiting your school or workplace enables the occupational therapist to recommend adaptive equipment and training if need be, as well as provide guidance for other family members and caregivers.
Occupational therapy, unlike physical therapy, prides itself on having a holistic perspective - the focus is placed on adapting the environment to fit the person, not the other way around.
Visits to the places in which you spend a lot of time are your occupational therapist's way to help you find the adaptation you need to live happily and comfortably.
Now that you understand a bit more about occupational therapy, you can understand that it's an important tool to help you get back to work. While occupational therapy often starts with the activities of daily living, such as dressing and feeding yourself, writing, shopping and banking, toileting or transferring to a bed, toilet or tub, it also goes further to help you get where you need to go.
Occupational therapy is an extremely effective tool in helping you learn how to do your job more simply and effectively, which can be extremely important following big life changes.
Your occupational therapist will help you with getting fitted for a wheelchair if need be, and can teach you the skills you need to drive using adaptive equipment. Regardless of your given profession, occupational therapy is here to help you learn how to get back into your day to day life.
Whether it's working with you to visualize muscle movement, or helping to customize your space in your home or office so that it works for you, your occupational therapist is an important ally along the road to getting back to work.
Ready to regain the skills you need to accomplish everyday tasks and get back into your life following an injury, illness or disability? It's time to consider occupational therapy and get back to the life you know.
The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. All medical information presented should be discussed with your healthcare professional.
Remember, the failure to seek timely medical advice can have serious ramifications.
We urge you to discuss any current health related problems you are experiencing with a healthcare professional immediately.
About the Author:
Sandner Brad is a freelance writer who writes about a variety of health topics including occupational therapy