Occupational therapy (OT) is a treatment discipline that enables people to resume their daily activities when this fails, due to physical or mental problems. These can be simple activities such as eating and dressing, but also more complex activities that have to do with rehabilitation after an accident.
In all situations that relate to meaningful daily activities, the occupational therapist will try to find a solution together with the patient or suggest an alternative way so that the patient can resume his or her activities satisfactorily. The occupational therapist does this by advising, training, coaching and informing. In the end, it’s the patient himself who takes control of his or her life (where possible), with support and guidance from the occupational therapist.
Occupational therapy is used, among other things, for the following conditions:
- Non-congenital brain injury.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Chronic pain.
- Muscular diseases.
- Neurological diseases.
- Hand injuries.
- Rheumatism (arthritis).
- Mental disability.
- Psychiatric disorders.
- Age-related illnesses.
- Burnout and depression.
- Developmental delays in children.
Together with the patient, the occupational therapist examines which activities are important and which obstacles are experienced. If necessary, the therapist will do tests to better understand the way in which certain activities are performed. Based on the patient’s capability and his own input, the occupational therapist draws up a treatment program or advice. This may include, for example, using tools and/or adaptations (at home or at the workplace), using a different daily schedule or training of daily activities.
Occupational therapy takes place not only in the treatment room of the occupational therapist, but also at the location where the problems occur, such as at home, at work or at school.
Long-term goals are, for example, about functioning again in one year. Short-term goals include the skills needed to achieve the long-term goals. For example, if the long-term goal is to dress and undress independently, the exercises will focus on fine motor skills.