What does a Occupational Therapist do?
An Occupational Therapist is a health professional with at least a 4-year college degree that specializes in evaluation and treatment of various diagnoses that limit functional independence.
Recovery after an injury to your hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder can be difficult. An Occupational Therapist can help you return to your work, sporting and home activities.
After receiving your doctor's order the Occupational Therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation of your:
- Range of motion
- Skin and/or wound condition
- Functional postures and body mechanics
Your Occupational Therapist will develop an unique, individual treatment program that may include:
- Range of motion exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Exercises, massage and or use of modalities to decrease pain and swelling
- Splinting to support your injury
- Wound and skin care
- Workstation assessment/ job site evaluations
- Functional ergonomics
Treatment will also include education about the cause and anatomy of your injury, and often includes continuation of a home program to continue your progress. Finally, your participation in your treatment will bring about the best result.
An Occupational Therapist may work in a variety of settings such as:
- A clinic treating orthopedic injuries of the upper extremity.
- A clinic that specializes in workplace injuries
- A hospital setting that treats patients who have had surgeries, illnesses, strokes or other ailments that limit function
- A school setting, working with children who have neurological or orthopedic disabilities
- A facility that helps people return home after illness or injury
- An inpatient rehabilitation facility that provides intensive therapy to individuals who need improved function before they return home after a serious illness or injury
- In a patient's home, working with many of the conditions listed above with people who cannot travel outside their homes