Occupational Therapy (OT)
Your “occupations” are all the things you do in a day and an Occupational Therapist is skilled in identifying the physical, emotional, and psychological deficits that limit a person’s ability to perform his usual daily activities. Limitations can be caused by traumatic injuries including fractures, strokes, traumatic brain injuries, or accidents, also by repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, or DeQuervain’s tendonitis. Limitations can also arise as people age and develop arthritis, congestive heart failure, or decreased vision, or undergo procedures such as hip/knee replacements.
Occupational Therapy can also assist those clients who have sustained injuries at work. Work related injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and lateral epicondylitis, respond well to Occupational Therapy interventions and a therapist’s analysis of the work site can reduce the likelihood of re-injury.
Through a comprehensive evaluation an Occupational Therapist is able to identify limiting factors and develop a treatment plan that is focused on helping a client regain the ability to resume his previous activities. Treatment may focus on adapting a task, such as using a sock aide to assist a client who is unable to bend to reach his feet, or providing suggestions on home modifications for a client who is experiencing changes in his vision. Other Occupational Therapy approaches may include the development of a strengthening program, for example, to assist a client who is unable to retrieve clothing from his closet due to weakness following a rotator cuff injury. Occupational Therapy seeks to increase clients’ participation in their roles in the home, school, place of employment, or in the community. Occupational Therapy wants you to be “all that you can be”.
I was diagnosed with a severe C1-C2 spinal cord compression. I was unable to have control and/or use my arms, hand, fingers and legs. After my spinal cord compression surgery in November, 2012, I began my recovery with inpatient rehabilitation. Once that part of my therapy was completed; in January 2013, I began out-patient rehabilitation both physical and occupational.
My outpatient occupational therapist, Sharon Covey, has made my rehabilitation and recovery journey, although challenging, one that has been pleasant. She is very dedicated to her job and patients; she has worked with me, specifically assisting me to regain the strength and use of my arms, hands and fingers. As of July 2013, I have regained the use of my right and left arms; my right hand and fingers. Sharon is still working with me in helping me to gain better use of my left hand, especially my fingers on that hand. I am short thumb challenged, but she has patiently and diligently worked me through my therapy, using techniques that challenge me to come to a better place in using that hand. Besides the outpatient therapy, Sharon has also given me “homework” to do in order to keep my progress going forward. As I have said earlier, my therapy although challenging, has been pleasant, and it has also made me feel that I am coming more and more to the place of being myself again. My recovery and journey has taken time; but I have been very fortunate to have therapists that have been trained; compassionate and genuinely caring and interested in making me come full circle in this journey of becoming a whole person again. Thank you Sharon for using your skills, talent, and for being the dedicated, compassionate and caring person you are. I am so grateful to you, and how hard we worked to bring me to where I am today.”
Ralph F. Sickle