OT’s Role in Neuro Rehabilitation

  • October 31, 2018
neuro

OT’s Role in Neuro Rehabilitation

By: Gloria Rinonos, MS, OTR/L

neuroThe role of occupational therapists (OTs) is to improve health and participation of clients through engagement in occupation, which includes activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, rest, education, work, play, leisure and social participation (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2018). In a neuro-rehabilitation setting, occupational therapists can treat a wide variety of conditions including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, etc.

Neuro rehabilitation under the care of an occupational therapist consists of supporting and facilitating an individual to be as independent as possible in their daily life. This may involve focusing on improving reduced cognitive functions such as planning or memory, or it may be more focused on removing physical barriers to increase independence through well designed housing, “assistive” technology or equipment. Treatment sessions focus on engaging individuals in meaningful and purposeful activities in order to assist them in achieving their goals so they reach their optimal level of independence, productivity, and satisfaction. This allows the individual to have a sense of increased self-efficacy, purpose and wholeness (Kearney, McGowan, Anderson, Strosahl, 2007).

For example, if an occupational therapist were to be working with a stroke patient, the therapy sessions would focus on the multiple challenges a stroke patient can face, which include weakness on one side of the body, decline in cognitive and emotional functioning, social disability, inability to walk and care for themselves, and a decrease in community participation (Nilsen and Geller, 2018).  Depending on the extent of the stroke, an occupational therapist services may include but are not limited to:

 

  • Further retraining in self-care skills and adapting tasks or environments
  • Appropriate use of adaptive equipment to maximize independence in activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Addressing ongoing deficits such as weakness, sensory loss, and cognitive or visual impairments
  • Training in community reintegration and modifying tasks or environments
  • Developing coping strategies to support psychosocial health and well-being (including relaxation techniques if appropriate)

 

OT during rehab focuses on ensuring the client will be as functional as possible after discharge, which often includes caregiver education and training. Overall, OT practitioners use their expertise in understanding the importance of emotional well-being, social connections and healthy life habits as well as activity analysis and adaptive methods to facilitate client’s performance of need or meaningful occupations to promote independence.

 

References

 

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework:             Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, S1–S48.               doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.682006

Kearney, P., McGowan, T., Anderson, J., & Strosahl, D. (2018). The role of the occupational                   therapist on the neuro-rehab team. Acquired Brain Injury, 215-237.

Nilsen, D. & Geller, D. (2018). The role of occupational therapy in stroke rehabilitation.                           Retrieved from:

https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Professionals/RDP/stroke.aspx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Center provides pre- and post-surgery orthopedics program, therapeutic modalities, sports injury rehab, fall prevention program, balance and vestibular program, and female only physical therapy program for incontinence, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, chronic low back pain, neck pain and other conditions specific to women. Our physical therapists serve Greenbelt, Riverdale and Bowie in Prince George's County and Olney in Montgomery County, Maryland. Discover why our patients refer us to their friends and family as the Best physical therapy center in the Washington DC metro area.
Copyright © 2017 Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Center. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: