Occupational therapy is generally defined as being therapy to help people engage in their occupation. While this can mean their job, there are a lot of things people do that can be considered their occupation besides their specific work activities. Occupational therapy can cover skills having to do with any part of daily activities — at work, at school, at home, and at play.
At Indus Healthcare, with offices in Pomona, West Covina, and Montclair, California, Dr. Amit Reenu Paliwal and his experienced team provide occupational medicine services to assist patients in performing normal, everyday tasks. Here are three things they’d like you to know about occupational therapy.
1. Physical therapy and occupational therapy aren’t the same thing
While there’s overlap between occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT), they aren’t the same thing.
PT focuses on improving movement, mobility, and function, typically through the practice of various exercises, stretches, or other physical activities. Many people get physical therapy after an accident, injury, or surgery. The physical therapist tailors treatment to strengthen the affected muscle, bone, ligament, or tendons, and restore range of motion.
OT focuses on improving fine and gross motor skills and adapting processes and environments to make daily tasks easier. Many people get OT due to a condition that causes a temporary or ongoing disability. The occupational therapist customizes the treatment to help the patient achieve as much independence as possible.
2. Occupational therapists can be found in many different medical settings
Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings, depending on who and where their patients are.
OT in this setting is typically used post-surgery to help a patient learn how to function again in a home or work setting. Usually, the OT sessions will be scheduled 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks before the patient is reevaluated.
OT in an acute hospital setting is used to help a patient reach a certain level of independent function so they can leave the hospital and return home, either to live with help or independently. If this isn’t possible, the patient may go to a short- or long-term facility for more treatment once they reach a certain level of function.
A patient in an inpatient rehab or skilled nursing facility setting continues with OT started in an acute setting to achieve a level of independence in activities of daily living. Patients relearn how to do basic tasks required to care for themselves, including bathing, dressing, cleaning, and cooking.
3. One out of six occupational therapists works with school children
Nearly 16% of occupational therapists work in schools, often on staff so children have access to services as needed without a primary care doctor referral or coinsurance payments. Since a child’s occupation is generally considered to be growing, learning, and playing, OT for kids is structured around these activities.
OT can be particularly helpful for children with a physical, sensory, or cognitive challenge. They might need help with handwriting, putting on shoes and socks, handling the noise and distractions of a classroom, or other simple tasks that prove difficult because of a disability.
Do you or your child need OT services? Call our location nearest you to book an appointment, or send us a message online.