For Auto Accidents
In the aftermath of a car accident, you may feel pulled in many directions as there will most likely be financial, vehicular and health care decisions that you will have to make. One of those choices might be seeking occupational therapy to assist you in the rehabilitation process. But unless you or someone you know has gone through occupational therapy, you might be unclear as to exactly what it is and does. Here are some of the basics:
What is Occupational Therapy?
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Occupational Therapy helps people of all ages and abilities do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners take a holistic approach to helping their patients adapt to the environment in which they find themselves. That may mean promoting health as well as preventing—or learning to better live with—injury, illness, or disability.
While the AOTA notes that occupational therapy is commonly used to help individuals with disabilities participate fully in work, school and social situations as well as supporting older adults going through physical and/or cognitive changes, another large area of work is helping people regain physical skills after an injury.
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
Typically, AOTA notes that a practitioner (called an occupational therapist) will meet with a patient and conduct an individualized evaluation to determine what the patient’s goals are. The occupational therapist will then design a personal program that will help the patient better perform their daily activities and reach their goals. Ideally, that individual course of action is evaluated periodically to ensure that goals are being met and that the plan evolves to meet the patient’s changing needs.
How is OT Different than PT?
Occupational therapy and physical therapy are closely related, so it is not surprising that they are sometimes confused. The simplest way to describe the two is that physical therapy focuses on just that – the physical aspects of recovery or living with an illness or disability. Occupational therapy focuses on how to take those physical changes and adapt them to daily living.
What does it take to become an Occupational Therapist?
Occupational Therapists are highly skilled practitioners. All have a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, while many go on to receive a Doctoral Degree in the field. Practitioners must then complete at least 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork before they are permitted to take a national examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (required to practice in most states). There are continuing education requirements that must be met, and some go on to receive additional certifications in specialized areas of OT.
Occupational Therapy and Your Recovery
Since Occupational Therapy takes a holistic approach to challenges, an occupational therapist can help in many ways in the aftermath of an auto accident. They can:
Assess your current physical and cognitive condition.
Work with you to determine which tasks you need to accomplish in your daily life – in work, at school and at home.
Devise a comprehensive plan to get you where you need to be by taking a realistic look at your abilities and your needs.
Come into your home and make suggestions to improve your living areas and how you do things to maximize your capabilities.
Contact us to learn more about how Occupational Therapy can aid in your recovery from an auto accident and get you back on the road to self-sufficiency.