Rachel Lower IU Health Occupational Therapist

National Occupational Therapy Month: What you can expect from your care

There are numerous reasons your daily life activities may become a challenge. Occupational therapists help you regain the everyday skills and abilities you need to increase your independence and safety.

The first step toward independence

Occupational therapists work with you on functional tasks; increase your upper extremity range of motion; address edema control, cognition and visual deficits and help you enhance your fine motor skills.

The goal of occupational therapy is to help you gain independence, so you can thrive in your daily life. During your first visit, your occupational therapist will evaluate what you can do and where you might have limitations. You will also be asked questions about your roles at work, at home and what everyday activities you perform.

Young boy in speech therapy office. Preschooler exercising correct pronunciation with speech therapist. Child Occupational Therapy Session.

Your occupational therapy evaluation

It’s crucial for your occupational therapist to establish a base line to track your progress throughout rehab. You will begin with an assessment of your current abilities and your needs. This individualized assessment may cover:

  • Self-care activities, such as feeding, grooming, bathing, dressing, etc.
  • Activities of independent living, like household and financial management, cooking, etc.
  • Mobility and cognitive ability
  • Strength and range of motion
  • Vision and sensation
  • Coordination and fine motor activities

Setting you up for success

After the initial assessment, your occupational therapist will provide suggestions and recommendations for how to resume a productive lifestyle with your current limitations and precautions as well as ways to work on improving limitations.

Your occupational therapy plan may include:

  • Therapy: You will work on regaining your independence to safely complete various self-care tasks with the goal to optimize function and/or return to your prior level of function before injury, illness or disability.
  • Training: Learn how to use assistive devices, equipment or adaptations to help restore function.
  • Education: You’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot about how to regain and maintain your independence.
  • Specialized therapy services may also be warranted such as hand therapy, lymphedema therapy, oncology rehabilitation or pediatric rehabilitation.

Don’t put off regaining your independence. To learn more or find an occupational therapist near you, visit iuhealth.org and search “occupational therapy.”

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