Physical therapy is often prescribed after an injury, surgery or illness as part of a course of treatment designed to help the patient regain mobility, strength and enhance their quality of life. For most people, physical therapy is a short-term care option and once desired results are achieved, treatment is stopped.
The issue is that for many patients, physical therapy only begins to address their needs. They may have regained a good deal of mobility and strength, but still have difficulty in completing common, daily tasks. There is frequently a gap between where physical therapy leaves off and total rehabilitation, especially for older individuals who may rebound a little slower. This is where occupational therapy comes into play, and it can be the perfect supplement to physical therapy.
What Is Occupational Therapy?
Where physical therapy is primarily focused on recovery from an injury or illness, occupational therapy moves beyond the initial stages of recovery and helps a person regain or strengthen their functional abilities. This includes daily activities such as self-care, eating, cooking, and participating in hobbies the patient enjoys. Occupational therapy optimizes a person’s ability to become and remain independent.
While occupational therapy may assist in further treating the injury or illness, the direct goal is to improve life skills and improve a person’s quality of life. While treatment will vary depending on the individual, occupational therapy often includes
- Activities that promote strength and coordination
- Practice in completing activities of daily living
- Exercises that increase joint mobility and flexibility
- Education in learning how to use medical devices or implements to increase independence and quality of life
- Teaching of techniques to work with or overcome physical limitations and disabilities
- Activities that improve memory and cognitive function
How Occupational Therapy Supplements Physical Therapy
When a person suffers an illness or injury, there is often substantial downtime in which they’re not participating in daily life activities. Even minor actions that many of us take for granted, like brushing our teeth or putting on a pair of socks, can become challenging for a person who is recovering from a period of physical limitations. Physical therapy doesn’t always address these types of activities, so continuing a course of care with occupational therapy can be incredibly advantageous for the patient.
Occupational therapy is also important to improving a person’s quality of life and self-esteem. It can be incredibly frustrating to put so much hard work into physical therapy and still rely on others for basic daily tasks. A complementary course of care that includes both physical and occupational therapy to improve the patient’s self esteem by enhancing their ability to maintain daily independence.
Learn More About the Benefits of Occupational Therapy Today
Whether your physician has prescribed occupational therapy, or you’re interested in continuing a path to greater healing after physical therapy has been completed, Princeton Health Care Center is here to help. Our health care center offers a range of therapeutic services, including both physical and occupational therapy. Contact Princeton Health Care Center and discover how we can help you or your loved one recover and regain independence.