Stroke victims often become impaired to some degree, and occupational therapy is usually required to get the patient back to a healthy mode of living. While each patient has a different story, most stroke victims will need to re-learn some skills for daily living. The occupational therapist is the address.
How does occupational therapy help?
The purpose of occupational therapy is to help people learn tasks for daily living. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, “occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).”
Occupational therapists work with all sorts of people who need to learn these tasks for different reasons – children who have not been able to master these tasks, people who have physical and mental limitations, and adults who need to re-learn tasks for due to various circumstances. Stroke victims often have impairment of their physical, cognitive and emotional capabilities, and occupational therapy can help.
Therapists work with patients for varying amounts of time depending on the deficiency. It usually lasts at least a few months, but more often it’s for an extended period of time.
What kinds of tasks are taught?
These are some of the ways an occupational therapist can attend to a stroke victim:
- They train them in activities of daily living (ADLs). Stroke victims often have to re-learn normal tasks such as dressing, bathing and feeding themselves, in addition to other activities.
- They help them overcome general cognitive and physical impairment as well as overall weakness.
- They counsel them as to how to re-enter the workplace and the home, making recommendations for adjustments to enable the patient to resume normal function.
Since each patient presents differently, the approach and recommendations will vary.
How does occupational therapy work?
Therapists use various modalities to help the patient regain lost functions. The basic idea is to reprogram the brain to know how to perform the functions that it previously knew how to do but lost.
One part of the process is breaking down each complex activity into parts. The occupational therapist then teaches the patient one part at a time, until he learns the whole activity. Because the brain is “re-learning,” it takes baby steps.
The occupational therapist also assesses where an aid might be handy. Since one side’s functioning may be compromised, the patient might need a device to compensate for the loss in the other side. The OT has access to a large range of aids and can teach the patient how to use them.
Because each case is so individual, there is no one solution under the overarching title of occupational therapy. The therapist will sit with the patient and develop a plan to help each one overcome his challenges. While some of it employs physical movement to train the muscles, a good portion is talking. The therapist asks and evaluates, and together they address problems with ideas for living.
At the Alameda Center, we have qualified and experienced occupational therapists to work with stroke patients. We offer premium services to help stroke victims reclaim their lives and get back to a regular living situation. Call us today to see how we can help you.