Do you have an elderly parent who has arthritis and struggles to complete daily tasks? Has a loved one had a stroke or traumatic brain injury and needs to regain skills to remain independent? Does your child have a disability and need to improve their fine motor and self-care skills? If any of these situations are familiar, you or your loved one could benefit from occupational therapy. Occupational therapy is used in many situations to help people regain independence and learn how to adapt to a changing situation that affects their daily living. TMH offers full-spectrum occupational therapy services on an inpatient and outpatient basis.
Helping Brains Function Better
Occupational therapy can help people regain abilities after neurological conditions that affect the brain. Examples include brain injuries and stroke. “As an occupational therapist, I have special training to help people retrain neurological pathways to enhance motor control and thinking skills, including executive functioning. When injury occurs, the brain may tell the arm to move, but it doesn’t. Helping the brain and body reestablish neurological connections can enhance a person’s independence,” says a TMH occupational therapist. Occupational therapy also helps with general aging issues including helping elderly individuals stay in their homes or cope with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and memory loss. Another is addressing changes that affect the daily lives for people with Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis by teaching adaptive strategies and self-management techniques. A part of the therapy also includes training family members on supporting the individual.
Recovering from Surgery, Upper Extremity and Overuse Injuries
Occupational therapists often see patients in the hospital after orthopedic surgery to provide training on how to adjust to the temporary loss of use or range of motion of an arm or leg. As an example, physical therapists may work on regaining strength in an arm after shoulder surgery, while an occupational therapist teaches individuals how to perform tasks with one hand while recovering. Overuse injuries, such as carpal tunnel, are also improved with occupational therapy, as is regaining abilities after cancer treatments. We use our hands constantly and for many different things—some vital to our basic living needs as with eating, others vital to our independence as with driving. A unique part of occupational therapy is ‘hand therapy.’ Hand therapists can help people with arthritis or other hand injuries regain strength and ability. Hand therapy has many applications. Due to progressive diagnoses, people start losing the ability to grip or hold objects making opening a jar, holding a glass, or preparing a meal difficult.