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Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy
 
Occupational therapists (OT) evaluate patients’ ability to perform daily tasks, determine hindrances to independence and develop programs that help restore function. An occupational therapist may initiate an exercise program, recommend adaptive equipment or make environmental modifications. They are problem solvers and educators.
 
“We focus on the activities of daily life such as; self-cares, home management and leisure activities” said Terri Jaye, HHU OT. “We help make those activities safer and easier.”
 
“We try to have an OT involved with all cases where there is a home health aide assisting with bathing to make sure the patient can bathe themselves after they are discharged,” said Mary Jean Eisenga, OT, rehab manager.
 
For a patient with a hip fracture, the occupational therapist will train the patient to use adaptive equipment so they adhere to bending restrictions. Some of the items may include; a reacher, sock aid or long shoe horn. These patients may also benefit from occupational therapist instruction in the kitchen. Most likely they are using a walker for the first time and need safety strategies when transporting food and reaching for items from high and low shelves.
 
Patients with arthritis in the hands have less grip strength and range of motion. They often have difficulties with dressing and grooming tasks. An occupational therapist will develop an exercise program, evaluate for splinting needs and provide instruction on pain control. They may also recommend a button hooker or long handled comb. Occupational therapists also help patients with low vision by modifying their environment to make it safer.
 
In the case of a patient with congestive heart failure, the occupational therapist might teach them techniques to conserve energy during their daily routines. Patient and family education is crucial to avoid activities that harm heart function. Equipment like a shower seat or reacher may reduce energy output.
 
A physician may refer a patient to occupational therapy at intake or other disciplines refer after the patient is admitted to home care. Sometimes family members request occupational therapy involvement in a case.
 
Home Health United has 13 occupational therapists and one occupational therapist assistant. These professionals are part of the clinical team for each patient care office.