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Occupational Therapy

Regain independence and resume the activities of your daily life with help from occupational therapy

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.

Your 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’ll also be asked questions about your roles at work, and at home, and what everyday activities you perform. 

Together, you and your therapist will decide on goals and create a plan to achieve them. Recommendations may include home therapy, environmental evaluation, acute rehabilitation, adaptive equipment, hand therapy and patient education. 

Your Occupational Therapy Evaluation

Your occupational therapist will:

  • Review your current level of independence with activities of daily living
  • Provide suggestions and recommendations for how to resume a productive lifestyle with your current limitations and precautions
  • Educate you and your family members or caregivers on how to ensure your home environment is as safe as it can possibly be.
  • Make recommendations for the next appropriate level of care for you, whether that is home alone, home with  family or caregiver, acute rehab, subacute rehab or outpatient therapy

What to Expect with Occupational Therapy

Your 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’ll also be asked questions about your roles at work, and at home, and what everyday activities you perform. 

Together, you and your therapist will decide on goals and create a plan to achieve them. Recommendations may include home therapy, environmental evaluation, acute rehabilitation, adaptive equipment, hand therapy and patient education. 

Your Occupational Therapy Evaluation

Your occupational therapist will:

  • Review your current level of independence with activities of daily living
  • Provide suggestions and recommendations for how to resume a productive lifestyle with your current limitations and precautions
  • Educate you and your family members or caregivers on how to ensure your home environment is as safe as it can possibly be.
  • Make recommendations for the next appropriate level of care for you, whether that is home alone, home with  family or caregiver, acute rehab, subacute rehab or outpatient therapy

You’ll begin with an assessment of your current abilities and your needs. This assessment will 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 of your arms and hands
  • Vision
  • Sensation and fine motor activities

Your occupational therapy plan may include:

Therapy

You’ll work on regaining your independence to safely complete various self-care tasks with the goal to return to your prior level of function before injury, illness or disability.

Environmental evaluation

A therapist will work with you to identify safety or mobility improvements at your home or workplace.

Training

Learn how to use assistive devices and other products to help restore function.

Hand therapy

A specialized form of therapy to treat loss of hand or arm function from accident, illness, overuse injuries and/or degenerative changes. 

Home therapy

You’ll focus on work and recreation as well as daily tasks like bathing, dressing, cooking and driving.  

Education 

You’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot about how to regain and maintain your independence. Some educational topics may include energy conservation, activity modification, home safety, exercise programs and how to perform daily tasks with your current precautions and/or restrictions. 

Preparing For Occupational Therapy

You’ll begin with an assessment of your current abilities and your needs. This assessment will 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 of your arms and hands
  • Vision
  • Sensation and fine motor activities

Your occupational therapy plan may include:

Therapy

You’ll work on regaining your independence to safely complete various self-care tasks with the goal to return to your prior level of function before injury, illness or disability.

Environmental evaluation

A therapist will work with you to identify safety or mobility improvements at your home or workplace.

Training

Learn how to use assistive devices and other products to help restore function.

Hand therapy

A specialized form of therapy to treat loss of hand or arm function from accident, illness, overuse injuries and/or degenerative changes. 

Home therapy

You’ll focus on work and recreation as well as daily tasks like bathing, dressing, cooking and driving.  

Education 

You’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot about how to regain and maintain your independence. Some educational topics may include energy conservation, activity modification, home safety, exercise programs and how to perform daily tasks with your current precautions and/or restrictions. 

Your occupational therapist should be able to answer any questions you have, or refer you to a resource where you can find out more information. 

  • How will occupational therapy help me regain independence?
  • How long can I expect this process to take?
  • Are there any restrictions or precautions I need to be aware of while I’m recovering?
  • Are there any assistive devices that will help me? 
  • What can I do to improve my outcomes? 
  • Are there any exercises I can be performing to increase my strength, endurance and/or range of motion?

Questions to Ask Your Occupational Therapist

Your occupational therapist should be able to answer any questions you have, or refer you to a resource where you can find out more information. 

  • How will occupational therapy help me regain independence?
  • How long can I expect this process to take?
  • Are there any restrictions or precautions I need to be aware of while I’m recovering?
  • Are there any assistive devices that will help me? 
  • What can I do to improve my outcomes? 
  • Are there any exercises I can be performing to increase my strength, endurance and/or range of motion?

Medline Plus

This website explains how physical medicine and rehabilitation can help you recover after a medical condition or injury.

Resources

Medline Plus

This website explains how physical medicine and rehabilitation can help you recover after a medical condition or injury.

Patient Stories for Occupational Therapy