Benefits of Seeing an Occupational Therapist July 16 2015

Occupational Therapy can benefit people of all ages with various medical conditions, ranging from mild to severe conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and spinal cord injuries. (1) Occupational therapists are medical professionals that focus on individual’s ability to perform the broad range of everyday life activities such as grooming, bathing, toileting, and dressing. OTs will promote independence by improving the skills required to perform these activities or find alternative ways to accomplish them. Therapy could also include using durable medical and assistive equipment to make these activities easier and help increase independence.  

The first meeting with an occupational therapist results in going over an evaluation of problems, needs, and concerns. Then the therapist will create a customized treatment plan designed to improve skills and maximize functional abilities backed on your priorities and personal goals. They will take into account you’re physical, psychological, and social well-being as well as environmental factors when developing the treatment plan. (2)

Occupational and Physical therapist can work closely together for example; a patient recovering from hip surgery will likely see both the physical and occupational therapist. The physical therapist will focus on the patient’s strength and range of motion, while the occupational therapist would teach the patient how to get out of bed safely, how to get dressed without assistance, and how to navigate using a walker. Adaptive tools and devices may need to be required to help people keep their independence. For instance, the hip replacement patient due to their ‘care instructions’ they cannot bend from the waist while healing, so a occupational therapist may recommend a toilet aid so they will be able to take care of their personal hygiene without assistance. (4)

There are a number of reasons on why an occupational therapist is needed but 5 benefits of going to an occupational therapist are (3):

  1. Improve range of motion in patients
  2. Increase mobility in injured or disabled patients
  3. Decrease unnecessary hospital stays and earlier than anticipated nursing home admissions
  4. Improve self-esteem, sense of well-being, and independence with everyday activities
  5. May help reduce or eliminate muscle spasms

 Learn more about the history of occupational therapy, view an info-graphic here!


  5. (Infographic source)