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Occupational Therapy, and Why It’s Important Not To Rush Your Recovery

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the period 2018 – 2028 will see an 18% increase in the number of occupational therapists. This rate is much faster than average, and it illustrates how vital occupational therapy has become, and how much wellness providers like Princeton Health Care Center have come to value this unique service.


What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy helps patients develop the necessary skills for daily living. These skills can pertain to the workplace or home, or relate to leisure activities or self-care. A diverse range of people benefit from occupational therapy: people recovering from certain surgeries (especially those which impact various motor skills, i.e. a hip replacement or shoulder surgery), the elderly, veterans, people with autism and other developmental disorders, and stroke-recovery patients. Such diversity explains why you’re just as likely to find an occupational therapist (OT) working in a retirement center or a hospital as you would in a school or a person’s home.


It’s not uncommon for someone to mistake an occupational therapist for a physical therapist, and vice-versa. But whereas a PT focuses on a person’s body strength and movement ability, an OT addresses the body and the mind, with primary concern for overall human functioning. For example, a person recovering from hip surgery would rely on a PT to help him regain muscle strength and range of motion, while an OT would address virtually everything else: teaching the patient how to navigate his home/office environment on crutches or with a walker, instructing them on the easiest way to get dressed, and in/out of bed, and helping to optimize the patient’s home, i.e. maximizing ease-of-access and minimizing tripping hazards.


Why It’s Important Not To Rush Your Recovery

There are a wide variety of situations in which occupational therapy is vital to a person’s full recovery – and in every instance, it’s important that the patient not rush his recovery and compromise all of the hard work he and the OT have put in together. For example, an occupational therapist working with a hospital patient is tasked with helping the patient with everyday activities like bathing, brushing their teeth, and dressing. In order for the patient to be discharged with the confidence to function independently, it’s critical that the OT’s program be followed from start to finish so that the patient leaves the hospital knowing he can be self-sufficient without any risks.


Another example is a patient who relies on an occupational therapist to assist with recovery from a stroke or traumatic brain injury. The OT creates a comprehensive program, with a clear-cut timeline, designed to help the patient recover his cognitive abilities and re-learn how to use his limbs. Perhaps the program also involves reintroducing the patient to daily activities like shopping and being around crowds. In this scenario, it’s easy to see how skipping certain steps or terminating one’s treatment prematurely could have a significantly negative impact on the patient’s recovery.


If a patient is recovering from a broken bone, muscle tear, or other physical ailment, the repercussions of “recovery-rushing” are obvious: re-injury or exacerbation of the injury. In this case and all the others discussed here, it definitely pays to be patient.


Talk With Us Today About Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy offers a number of exceptional benefits to people of all ages and lifestyles. From better quality of life and greater independence to improved physical aptitude and enhanced mental well-being, Princeton Health Care Center offers a top-notch occupational therapy program to help you achieve your goals.

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