Role of occupational therapists in diseased conditions
October 27 is observed as the World Occupational Therapy Day. On this day, occupational therapists promote their profession throughout the world. The programme of the day varies from culture to culture. This year the central theme of Occupational Therapy Day is "Belong. Be you."
An occupational therapist (OT) has a significant role in preventing disability and in rehabilitating disabled people. People are now facing different types of disabilities. Various neurological conditions like stroke, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and others are increasing day by day. Pediatric neurological disorders like autism, cerebral palsy are also are on the surge every day.
In addition, people are facing different types of accidents. That is why patients with fracture and head injuries are also escalating, and people become dependent on their daily activities. Occupational Therapist plays a significant role to make the people independent into their daily task.
Occupational therapy is a profession that works for patients' functional independence as much as possible. In addition, it works for fine and gross motor, self-regulation and sensory skills.
OTs maintain the following treatment process: Receiving referral – Assessment – Problem identification – Treatment planning – Treatment implementation – Evaluation.
OTs work with individuals of all ages across a range of different service areas, including:
Neurological condition: Stroke, head injury, spinal cord injury, Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS),Parkinson's disease etc.
Paediatric conditions: OTs work with children of all ages from neonates to adolescents, e.g. Cerebral palsy, Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Behavioural problems, Down's Syndrome, developmental delay, learning disabilities, etc.
Musculoskeletal conditions: Fracture, burn, neck pain, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis etc.
Elderly care: OTs work with older people with disabilities and age-related changes, including balance, coordination, endurance, memory, vision, and hearing problems.
Psychiatric conditions: Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), drug addiction etc.
Hand related conditions: Conditions such as traumatic hand injuries (e.g., fractures, tendon injuries, De Quervain tenosynovitis, Dupuytren's contractures, soft tissue injury, degenerative diseases such as arthritis, frozen shoulder, nerve injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome).
Workplace and accessibility assessment: OTs assist individuals in returning to work and continuing to work safely and efficiently.
Special needs school: In school, therapists evaluate children's abilities, recommend and provide therapy, modify classroom equipment, and help children participate fully in school programs and activities. In addition, occupational therapists advocate for children with disabilities who attend inclusive schools and provide individual (e.g. hand therapy) and group-based therapy (e.g. social skills, ADL training, handwriting classes) for increasing their classroom performance.
Where does OTs work?
- Different government and private hospital
- Mental hospital
- Rehabilitation hospital
- Special needs school
- Universities and colleges
- Private practice
- Research centre
Every people, want to live their life independently. The OTs works for making them independent. Occupational therapy plays a significant role to rehabilitate disabled people. But, most people don't know about occupational therapy.
We need to increase the awareness through article writing, arrange different types of the workshops and so on. Only three occupational therapists work in one government hospital where disabled people need this rehabilitation treatment. So, the government need to ensure occupational therapy service in every government hospital.
The writer is an Occupational Therapist at the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in National Institute of Neurosciences & Hospital (NINS&H).
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