How occupational therapists can help COVID-19 survivors | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 31, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 31, 2021

How occupational therapists can help COVID-19 survivors

This was the time last year that the world was getting familiar with the word 'Coronavirus'. In the previous year, we could not stop talking about it because it interrupted the daily life of people all over the world of all ages and races. The symptom of COVID-19 in Bangladesh ranges from mostly asymptomatic infections, with or without mild pneumonia to severe respiratory failure. However, emerging literature suggests a relationship between COVID-19 and neurologic illness. People who were mostly on the ventilator and needed specialised care needs more care than the other COVID-19 patients. The frontline health care professionals may have saved their lives but the coronavirus can leave a long-lasting impact on the affected individual. Therefore, it is equally important to work on increasing their quality of life.

Overall, the pandemic is causing different problems to people all over the world such as stress, anxiety, sleep disruption, overburdened household routine, excessive screen time for both children and adult group etc. Additionally, research suggests that the affected individual can face difficulties in the following aspects: musculoskeletal/ physical, cardiopulmonary, communication, neurological and psychological.

If the pandemic left you with a sense of frustration with a loss of normalcy in your daily routine after you have recovered from it, now is the perfect time to see an occupational therapist for post-COVID-19 rehabilitation treatment. The occupational therapists specifically deal with persons with physical, cognitive, psychosocial and developmental impairments. They can help you in the following ways:

• Promote mental health and self-care to decrease anxiety and depression symptoms and enhance coping skills

• Positioning for maximising respiratory function, bed mobility and early mobilisation

• Communication management to increase social participation

• Cognition training and reorientation, sensory stimulation and energy conservation

• Modifying home and work environment and ergonomics suggestion to work from home and office

• Facilitating children to cope with this collective catastrophe

Overall, an occupational therapist can play a vital role in helping individuals improve their self-management skills during these unpredictable times. Meet an occupational therapist and make the most of your post-COVID-19 occupational participation.

The Writer is a Lecturer at the Department of Occupational Therapy, Bangladesh Health Professions Institute (BHPI), Savar, Dhaka.



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