An occupation in this context is anything that occupies someone’s time. Occupational therapy is the therapeutic use of daily activities, or occupations, to enhance a person’s participation and independence in their desired activities.
Occupational therapists use a holistic approach that treats the whole person, not just a specific injury, condition, or disability. By addressing limitations caused by physical, emotional, and/or cognitive impairments in collaboration with other healthcare professionals, occupational therapists can dramatically improve a person’s quality of life.
For example, a person recovering from surgery or recovering from a head injury might not be able to immediately resume activities like getting dressed, bathing, performing work or school tasks, or participating in leisure activities. Occupational therapy can help them get back to normal, productive living with more success, less assistance, and fewer restrictions.
Occupational therapy can help a person improve their fine and basic motor skills, strength, balance, range of motion, and sensory processing so they can participate in common activities that are most important to engaging in a fulfilling life. This is an important distinction from physical therapy, which focuses on a person’s ability to perform certain body movements.
Essentially, the occupational therapist will assess the movements and cognitive abilities required to perform certain tasks, from bathing and preparing meals to operating a computer and driving a car.
The occupational therapist will then develop a treatment program focused on improving the person’s ability to perform those tasks independently and adapt to different situations and surroundings. This may also involve recommendations to modify the home or workplace and install equipment to assist the patient and reduce the risk of injury.
Occupational therapy can not only help people get back to enjoying life at home, work, and school, but it can also improve confidence and self-esteem.
There are a wide range of injuries, conditions, and impairments that can benefit from occupational therapy, including but not limited to:
Occupational therapy fits perfectly into our approach at Natural Healthcare Center because we treat the whole person, not the individual, and address all three components of the Triad of Health – the physical, nutritional, and psychological. Based on comprehensive examination and assessment, we’ll determine if occupational therapy should be part of a personalized treatment plan to help an individual continue or return to the activities they enjoy.
Occupational therapy dates back to the 18th century when people suffering from mental health disorders were provided a space to engage in meaningful activities. In many cases, those with mental illness had been considered threats to society and sent to prison.
Because occupational therapy was often lumped together with physical therapy and didn’t fit into the traditional healthcare model, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that it started to become more widely accepted. Eleanor Clark Slagle organized the first educational program for occupational therapy in 1915 and was named “the mother of occupational therapy.”
If you want to do the things you enjoy and regain or maintain both function and independence, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation at Natural Healthcare Center. We’ll discuss your health history, review your medical records and diagnostic testing, and make recommendations about what you can do to feel better, function better, and live longer.