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What is Occupational Therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy?

By Chris Politano, OTR, C/NDT

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a health profession that uses the idea that everyday tasks (occupations), which have purpose and are meaningful to a person, would be the best activities to effect physical, mental and social health. The most famous quote in OT states it this way:

“Man, through the use of his hands, as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health,” Mary Reilly, Occupational Therapist Registered.

Do Occupational Therapists require special training?
There are Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) and each require different types of training. OTs must hold a master’s degree and complete 24 weeks of supervised clinical instruction. OTAs generally require an associate’s degree plus 16 weeks of supervised clinical training. Both OTs and OTAs must pass national boards to ensure they are competent to practice. In Kentucky, OT providers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education per year and hold a Kentucky state license to provide services. OTs work in a variety of settings, including; hospitals, schools, homes, businesses and even prison systems.

How do OTs help people?
OTs can assist patients in many ways. They can help an individual gain or restore skills needed to complete activities (occupations) or they can change an activity to make it easier to achieve. An individual with back, hip or knee pain may need assistance dressing their lower body. OT can enable them to dress themselves. A person at home with congestive heart failure may fatigue easily. An OT can simplify their tasks to save effort and help prevent fatigue. Children with autism may benefit from OT by learning how to limit sensory overload with a loud toy while a person with anxiety may be taught skills to cope better with activities important to their lives. Therapy may adapt assembly line activities to help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

April is Occupational Therapy Month. Let’s celebrate skills for the job of living. Learn more about OT at the Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association website at kotaweb.org.

About Chris Politano, OTR, C/NDT
Chris Politano, OTR, C/NDT, is an Inpatient Best Practice Manager at ProgressiveHealth and holds a specialty certification in Neuro-Developmental Treatment in adult hemiplegia. Through a partnership between Methodist Health and ProgressiveHealth, Politano will soon begin providing care to patients at Methodist Health. For more information about Therapy Services at Methodist Health, call 270-827-7593.