Many patients and families are confused by the term “occupational” therapy and may even respond, “Well, I’m retired.” In order to help the public really understand the scope of this treatment and its goals, we went straight to the
professionals. Keri Crutchfield, CEO, PT, of Balanced Therapy, helpfully shared this information:
Occupational therapy provides skilled treatments to help individuals achieve and maintain independence in all areas of their life.
OT can improve skills for the “job of living” whether it is for one’s occupation or for one’s self-care. OT assists people with their ADL’s (activities of daily living), which vary from person
to person. The OT will set up a care plan specific to the individual to help them achieve their goals. The care plan is approved by the patient’s physician. This may include dressing, grooming, bathing, cooking, shopping, writing, cleaning, toileting, feeding, ambulation, opening items like doors and jars, and using the telephone.
OT can recommend and instruct in the use of adaptive equipment to assist patients when needed as well as splints or braces to help maintain or improve mobility or support.
You can receive occupational therapy in a variety of settings: the hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health, outpatient, rehabilitation centers, schools, mental health facilities and occasionally hospice care. OT’s treat a multitude of different
Occupational therapists have a 5-6-year post-baccalaureate degree, and occupational therapy assistants have a 2-year associates degree. They both have to pass a national exam (NBCOT) and are licensed by the State. OT’s and OTA’s are
required to attend continuing education classes to maintain their licensure.
Therapists are drawn to the field of occupational therapy due to their compassion to help others. There are so many blessings an OT/OTA receives on a daily basis. It is so rewarding when a patient’s face lights up because they are now able to do something they weren’t able to do before.