Occupational therapy is a special treatment for someone who has certain health problems in order to get positive expectations. For example, being able to do daily activities that he could not do before alone. Whether it is to do self-care (eating, bathing, and dressing), self-development (reading, counting, or socializing), physical exercise (practicing joint movements, muscle strength, and flexibility), using aids, and other activities.
Through this therapy, people can live their daily lives independently.
Why occupational therapy?
As explained earlier, occupational therapy is needed because people with certain conditions have difficulty in going through daily activities. In other words, occupational therapy is done in people with special needs so that they can move smoothly.
However, try to involve the advice of doctors and family members before deciding to do occupational therapy. The doctor will also first identify the extent to which the sufferer has difficulty in carrying out daily activities. Here are some conditions that require occupational therapy:
- Those who are recovering and returning to work after sustaining work-related injuries.
- People born with mental and physical disorders. In addition, those who suddenly experiences serious health conditions, such as stroke, heart attack, brain injury, and amputation.
- People with chronic diseases, such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- People with mental health or behavioral problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease, post trauma stress, eating disorders, and drug abuse.
- Those with learning disabilities or abnormal development.
In addition to the above conditions, children with certain conditions can also undergo occupational therapy. For example, those with Down syndrome, spina bifida, to learning disabilities.
Occupational therapy goals
Occupational therapy has many elements, because the goal is to help the patient as a whole for his health in the context of daily life activities. Therefore, patients who are undergoing this therapy will get briefings and exercises in various ways, including:
Patients undergoing occupational therapy will be trained to treat themselves, even in pain. Examples of self-care taught such as eating, bathing, and dressing.
To achieve a normal life as much as possible, patients are also trained to undergo daily activities in the house such as cleaning the house, cooking, and gardening.
To help patients have productive lives, occupational therapy also teaches to structure daily schedules like people in general.
If the patient plans to drive or use other modes of transportation, the program will teach them to do so safely. Therapists are responsible for developing skills that need to be possessed in driving such as the ability to judge, make decisions, and think.
As part of the program, physical exercise also has a great role in occupational therapy. Patients suffering from chronic diseases or in the injury recovery stage need to remain active. Patients will be trained to maintain joint movement, muscle strength, flexibility, and posture, in a safe way and not spend all their energy.
If patients need to use aids such as casts, braces, wheelchairs, computer-controlled equipment, and the like as part of their therapy, therapists are also responsible for finding alternative methods to undergo daily activities that the patient is able to implement; such as the use of electric toothbrushes, electric can openers, special keyboards, and so on.
With the development of technology, voice control equipment can also be used to help patients with movement disorders.
It is also the duty of the therapist to ensure the physical safety of the patient in his/her environment. If necessary, there can be increased security on simple things such as placing non-slippery doormats in the bathroom, handles or handrails on the stairs, and elevating the position of the toilet.
This therapeutic element is focused on helping patients to return to work or find work that matches their condition. Patient work can be either paid work or other pre-treatment such as volunteering or simply caring for a child.
The therapist’s job is to propose several career options, assess workplace safety, assess the role and responsibilities of the patient, assess the patient’s work and ability to carry it out, provide additional training if necessary, and educate the patient’s superiors and workmates to understand the patient’s health condition.
Education for families and caregivers
Another task of therapists is to educate families and caregivers how to care for and help patients if needed.
In addition to the above, therapists can also review activities that may be difficult for patients to carry out, and try to find ways to help patients carry them out, either in a simple way, or resolve them in new ways. Therapists usually divide one activity into many small movements and help the patient perform the movement until it can carry out the activity in its entirety.
In addition to providing care, assistance, and exercise, therapists also need to consider the cost of affordable therapies for patients. Therapists are also responsible for monitoring and evaluating patient progress in several aspects such as physical, emotional, and psychological effects on patients. If certain aspects do not provide benefits, a change of intervention plan is required.