What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is a therapeutic method of helping patients get back to participating in their daily life activities (occupations). When a person is injured or has an illness/disability, often they cannot perform the tasks that are important to them. It can be anything from not being able to get dressed, take a bath, write, prepare a meal or go back to school. An Occupational Therapist will work with that person to assist them back to productive living. Therapists are able to analyze activities and provide modifications to improve the ability for patients to perform their daily activities.

Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings with patients across their lifespan, including mental health facilities, schools, sub-acute rehab and outpatient centers. Their goal is to focus on the whole person and establish patient-centered treatment to help improve independence. The therapists work as a collaborative team with various disciplines, including physicians, speech therapists, physical therapists and social workers, to ensure a patient reaches their highest potential.

At the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center, the Occupational Therapists work with a diverse patient population, which includes but not limited to Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, wrist fractures, arthritis, strokes, hand injuries, tennis elbow, and tendon injuries. The team starts by evaluating the patient by testing range of motion, strength, fine motor coordination, sensation, swelling and pain. They will look at how the impairments affect that person’s ability to function.

Therapy is a collaboration between the therapist and patient so it’s important to know what goals the patient wants to achieve during their time in treatment. Patient education and a home exercise program are also a part of the therapy process – compliance from the patient is key.

Learn more about the Occupational Therapy program at the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center.