Occupational Therapy Treatment in Rhode Island
What Is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy consists of treatment that helps people with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities adapt to recover or maintain their everyday activities. Rather than a job or career, “occupational” in this instance means your day-to-day activities and how you move throughout your life.
Occupational therapists (OTs) provide a broad range of services, including:
- Teaching adaptations for daily activities like showering, dressing, and preparing meals.
- Correcting dysfunction of the hand, arm, and shoulder.
- Fitting splints or orthotics for appropriate positioning, healing, and functional use of a limb.
OTs work with patients across the age spectrum in a variety of settings, including acute care, inpatient rehab, outpatient clinics, and skilled nursing facilities.
Who Needs Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is designed to help people who are having trouble with things like:
- Performing their job or schoolwork
- Caring for themselves
- Completing household chores
- Moving around in their daily lives
- Taking part in the activities they enjoy
People with a wide range of conditions can benefit from occupational therapy. OTs work with patients with neurological or cognitive dysfunction, including stroke patients or people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. They work with patients who have had a limb amputated, helping them adapt to new ways of carrying out tasks of everyday life, such as eating using a non-dominant hand, negotiating stairs, and reaching into cupboards for dishes.
OTs can also assess an employee’s capacity to return to work after an injury on the job.
How to Prepare for Your Occupational Therapy?
Before your initial appointment with an occupational therapist, think about which activities and movements you’d like to improve upon.
Consider asking your occupational therapist questions like:
- Do you have specialized training for my condition?
- How will occupational therapy help improve my functioning?
- How long do you estimate the treatment will take?
- Have you achieved positive results for people with my condition in the past?
Writing down your questions ahead of time will help you make sure you get the information you need. You should also be prepared to share your medical history, including your medical records.
What to Expect During Your Occupational Therapy?
During the first appointment, your occupational therapist will talk with you about your goals and will likely perform a series of tests and exercises to assess your strengths and weaknesses. From there, they will design a treatment plan that will help improve your daily movement and functioning.
Depending on your specific situation, your occupational therapist may recommend interventions like:
- Range-of-motion exercises – Often helpful for people suffering from arthritis or other kinds of joint pain.
- Fine motor activates – Fine motor skills are the delicate motions of the hands, wrists, and fingers that enable precise movement. These activities can improve tasks like eating, writing, and getting dressed.
- Sensory re-education – Techniques that are designed to retrain your sensory pathways or stimulate unused ones.
- Pain management – Therapeutic approaches to overcome or mitigate pain and its effects on daily living.
How Does Occupational Therapy Differ from Physical Therapy?
Many people are not familiar with the distinction between physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy. OT aims to improve a patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living, whether they are recovering from injuries or have developmental or cognitive challenges. OTs work with their patients to promote productivity and independence.
The goal of PT is to improve a patient’s ability to move their body with optimum ease and functionality, through exercises, massage, using ultrasound or electrical stimulation, and other techniques.
Occupational Therapy Services Near Me
Lifespan has numerous locations throughout Rhode Island that provide convenient rehabilitation services near where you live and work. Some offer Saturday appointments.