Thursday, April 5, 2012

Occupational Therapy: What is it? Who can it help?

Amber Kress, OT
Have you ever had an injury or a surgical procedure that made it difficult to accomplish your day-to-day activities? If so, you could have benefited from occupational therapy.

What is occupational therapy? Well, according to Amber Kress, an occupational therapist with Total Rehab Care, that can be a difficult question to answer.

“Occupational therapy is a very diverse field that encompasses many areas, which is why a general definition is so hard to come by. Our overall theory is to look at the individual, environment, and roles an individual deals with on a daily basis. We use a holistic approach to problem solve [and] to allow maximum independence in all areas of an individual’s life.”

Occupational therapists look at an injury and they see every area of your life that the injury affects. Kress gave the example of a fractured shoulder:

“We don’t focus only on a fractured shoulder and getting it moving again. We understand that a fractured shoulder affects everything you do throughout the day, such as driving, working, washing your hair, taking care of your children, and so many other things. We specialize in looking at each area and adapting the environment or task to allow independence until you get the shoulder motion back.”

At Meritus Health, our occupational therapists provide a wide variety of services, including the following:
Hand and upper extremity rehab. We are currently the only place that offers this specialty service in Washington County.
  • Pediatric rehab focusing on everything from learning disabilities to autism. We offer a comprehensive care plan for autistic children through a partnership with Brook Lane Health Services. 
  • Neurological rehab for individuals with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, strokes, multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders. 
  • Inpatient and acute care rehab to maximize patients’ independence so that they can return to their home environment safely. 
  • Mental health rehab, with a focus on coping skills, reintegration into the community, social skills, and management of cognitive disabilities. 
  • Total joint replacement rehab to regain independence with daily activities following a hip, knee, or shoulder replacement. 
Our occupational therapy staff is dedicated to providing holistic care throughout our community. If you or someone you know could benefit from occupational therapy, please call Total Rehab Care at 301.714.4025.

By Shawn McNally and Amber Kress, OT

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