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Occupational therapy helps people stay active, independent

Occupational therapy, which is being highlighted and celebrated this month, plays a vital role in providing services to residents in assisted-living facilities and nursing homes and is fast becoming a sought-after valuable service for those individuals choosing to age in place and maintain their independence. But occupational therapists work with people of all ages in a variety of settings including home, school and work.

Occupational therapists often ask patients, “what matters to you?” as opposed to “what’s the matter with you?” This approach signifies their holistic commitment to helping patients develop, recover and improve skills to manage their daily living and working tasks, safely and effectively.

These trained therapists help patients learn new ways of doing things, regain skills and adapt to their environment. The need for therapy may be the result of disease, disability or a limitation brought about by stroke, injury, surgery or other situation. Occupational therapy helps improve one’s skills needed for daily living, working and their ability to function in leisure and social activities, transportation and more.

According to the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario, occupational therapists work with people of all ages from infants to seniors in a variety of settings. In classrooms they can help children develop skills such as handwriting or computer use. They work with patients admitted to the hospital following a stroke or brain injury as well as clients with mental illness in outpatient programs.

They can assist with identifying equipment such as wheelchairs or bathroom safety devices, to ensure clients can safely return to or remain at home when their physical abilities have changed.

Additionally, occupational therapists work with those after a workplace or motor vehicle injury and in work places, helping their clients adapt to how they do their job, what type of job they do or making changes to the workplace environment.

Applying the most up-to-date research and service delivery, occupational therapy is an evidence-based, science-driven profession focusing on the total well-being of the client and improving client outcomes.

To Your Health is provided by the staff of Boulder City Hospital. For more information, call 702-293-4111, ext. 576, or visit bchcares.org.

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