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The Importance of OCCUPATION as Therapy – Part 2

Shaping clay is a therapeutic tool for hand strengthening and improving fine motor control for many life applications.

April is Occupational Therapy (OT) Month and it is my privilege and honor to educate people about the value and relevance of occupational therapy for healthy communities. During the late 19th Century, our profession became an established medical-rehab service and in 1917 it became an essential part of the mental hygiene movement of the early 20th century. We helped rehabilitate wounded soldiers physically and mentally in the aftermath of the Civil War, WW1, WW2 and beyond.

Prior to WW1, OTs were instrumental in the de-institutionalization of individuals with mental illness by therapeutic use of manual crafts during the Arts and Crafts Movement that gave the in-patients a purposeful and meaningful use of their time, interests, and abilities (“occupations”). Community mental health services branched out from this movement and we can all agree that mental asylums were not therapeutic, humane, or cost effective.

OTs are much more than behavioral/mental health therapists! We have been whole-person physical rehabilitation therapists from the start. We help people across the lifespan from birth to death and in every setting where people need to thrive, and occupations unique to each setting. We specialize in sensory, physical, and cognitive disorders. Our methods can be applied to patients of all age groups: low-tone infants, children in school settings, people in hospice, and elders in long-term care.

OTs use proprietary methods to help patients accomplish everyday tasks efficiently. We aim to mitigate pain that interferes with FUNCTIONAL mobility (how people move in bed, how they can safely rise from surfaces such as chairs and toilets). We support caregivers because the get injured or become ill from the demands of caring for chronically ill or disabled loved ones. OTs are distinctly trained and qualified to analyze the relationship between the person in their environment and the tasks they must successfully perform to meet their needs as independent and capable people.

Our assessments are client-centered and thorough to help patients reconstruct their lives after an illness or injury. We are the “big picture” therapists who also address the smallest of deficit components that interfere with independence by rehabilitating hands and fingers that no longer work normally after a stroke, brain injury or various types of arthritis. We capitalize on our patient’s strengths as the foundation of our treatment plans for successful outcomes. As you can see, OTs do not fit in a tidy box, we are outside of the box in our history, philosophy, treatment settings, patient demographics, and skill sets. We are natural problem-solvers and patient educators.

At Integrative Therapeutic Solutions, we are sometimes the last place people come to for help after failing to thrive elsewhere, therefore it is our mission to give our patients the time and effort they deserve, so as a team, we may find answers and relief. But the longer a person waits to get the proper care, the more difficult a condition is to solve. If you or someone you know is not living up to their potential in their home and community, don’t wait to reintegrate, Integrative Therapeutic Solutions is uniquely qualified to help!

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