Everyone spends so much time talking about treating a disease or condition, yet glosses over what comes after. As much as we wish it weren’t true, your recovery journey does not end the minute your doctor gives you the “all clear.” You may be given permission to return to work and school or leave the hospital, but you may be a new version of yourself, and not necessarily back to your “before illness/injury” self.
For those unsure how to navigate these new challenges that you find yourself enduring following an illness or injury, an occupational therapist can help. The following are some of the ways occupational therapy can help you in post-rehabilitation as you integrate back into your life.
Assessments To Address Goals
An occupational therapist (OT) will often start with an assessment. This assessment is not like one given in school, but instead acts as a way for them to gauge where you are at now with regard to functioning and your daily activities. They will then work with you to determine what your goals are, and, your occupational therapist can then craft a care plan that addresses all areas needed to help you reach your goals.
For example, those who have had a concussion can complete an assessment with their OT who will observe and determine their current tolerances and the extent of the injury. This assessment also allows the OT to see what areas of their functioning were impacted by the concussion, such as cognitive abilities or headaches.
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Once your OT determines where you are following your injury and what areas need to be worked on, they can create and implement functional approaches to increase tolerances and capacities.
These approaches may include providing education to promote recovery and increase your understanding of what is happening or slowly increasing difficulty ofyour activities to work towards your end goal.
Your OT is also likely to create a gradual return to function that balances activity, rest, and symptom management, ensuring you continually push your limits to promote recovery, but not too far that causes harm.
These functional approaches are an essential aspect of helping you integrate back into your lifestyle.
Assisting in Daily Activities
Some injuries may make activities of daily living more difficult, but your occupational therapist can provide you with the tools you need to maintain independence. They may give you strategies (such as pacing), or recommend equipment. They may also offer training, such as mobility aid training.
Your OT may also complete an assessment to determine if you could benefit from certain services at home as you continue recovering.
Return to Work
Your occupational therapist can help you make attainable goals for returning to work while teaching you strategies to help manage symptoms while at work.
In some cases, your OT may visit a job site to determine if it requires modifications before you return or if specific equipment is needed to promote safe work practices.
They can also work with you and your employer to develop a gradual return to work plan over a set period of time to increase your hours and duties to help get you back safely and successfully.
Returning to full health can be a long and challenging process that requires patience and commitment. To help combat these challenges and regain your independence, an occupational therapist can help. You can be sure that your occupational therapist is on your side for each step of the recovery process, helping you regain independence and to your desired level of function.
If you are ready to regain control of your life and reach your goals, book an appointment with an occupational therapist at Infinity Health today.