Occupational therapy is a branch of physical rehabilitation that focuses on the daily activities that occupy an individual’s time whether at work or at home. Personal care, grooming, cooking and cleaning, fine motor coordination, and handwriting are all parts of our lives that we take for granted. For patients recovering from neurologic or orthopedic injuries, these kinds of activities can present real challenges. Occupational therapy can often have a large cognitive component. In addition to the physical challenges of teaching the upper extremities to work again, we can help patients rediscover cognitive skills and activities that let them return to self-sufficiency.
Occupational therapists focus on orthopedic and neurologic injuries and impairments of the upper extremities. By contrast, most of the work of physical therapists focuses on the trunk and the lower extremities. There’s a lot of overlap and teamwork between our centers’ occupational therapists and physical therapists.
In addition to rehabilitation of the upper extremities, our occupational therapists also focus on Activities of Daily Living (ADL's). We help our client’s recover the ability to live independently through retraining in home management, shopping, cleaning, dressing, grooming, and cooking. While it’s commonly assumed that occupational therapy refers to job or employment skills at least in a rehabilitative context, it really applies much more broadly to all of the activities that occupy our daily lives.
Occupational therapists are also responsible for upper extremity splint fabrication, especially for the elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands. These splints can be useful for post-surgical positioning of the upper limbs, recovery from strokes, and for treating carpal/cubital tunnel syndrome and other orthopedic injuries.