An occupational therapist is a qualified medical person who helps people to overcome the obstacles they experience while undertaking their daily activities. This helps them become more productive and can help patients who have been injured, had illnesses or developed disabilities and require help in improving the skills that they need for carrying out their daily activities or work.
These therapists are required to work with people of all ages so that they can help them overcome the physical and mental obstacles that are coming in the way of their carrying out their daily tasks, even such mundane things like getting dressed, eating, driving, doing school work, using computers, cooking, or just moving around the house.
Occupational therapists will first observe the patients referred to them performing the tasks that have become difficult, review their medical history and ask questions to get further information on their problems. They will then use this gathered information to evaluate the condition of the patient and what is needed to help them. They will then lay down a treatment plan and goals that need to be achieved through them. They will evaluate the place where the patient works or lives and suggest ways how it can be adapted so that the patients can function better. They will often demonstrate exercises that can help people with their movements and also help in relieving pain. They may often be required to suggest the use of special equipment that can help the patient, and also train the patient to use them.
Occupational therapists will constantly assess the progress of the patient and also prepare reports for the use of their other medical care providers. Doctors often refer people who have acquired any disabilities to these therapists and this is often required for people who have undergone operations or suffered a stroke. You will find that these therapists can help people who have gone through physical changes that is impeding their working. They can also help them if they have difficulties in thinking and remembering that is preventing them from leading their normal lives. Children with disabilities can learn how to participate more fully in school. People who have difficulties in social situations can also benefit from the help given to them by occupational therapists.
Occupational therapy is often confused with physical therapy where the accent is more on improving movements that have been affected by some accident or trauma. Both these therapists need to work with their patients as individuals with specific targets that are unique to each of them.