Reasons Why Occupational Therapy Should Play a Larger Role in the Lives of Seniors
Occupational therapy is a critical component of patient care for patients facing decreased mobility or coordination. Through the services that occupational therapy jobs provide, seniors, people with permanent disabilities and people recuperating from major surgery or trauma can regain independence in their lives. An occupational therapist (OT) also enhances quality of life while reducing the needs for typical medical expenses like surgery, medication or care provisions.
Despite all of these benefits, the indispensable services OTs offer are often undervalued or misunderstood. If more people were able to grasp exactly how occupational therapy jobs enhance the outcomes that long term care (LTC) seeks, then seniors and people with disabilities would have added tools at their disposal to be active, healthier and more engaged with the world around them.
For those not yet convinced of how important occupational therapy jobs are to senior care, OTs can offer up the following compelling reasons:
Occupational Therapy Jobs Can Reduce Care Costs
One of the most important roles of an occupational therapist is to not treat pain, debilitation or immobility as inevitable. While physical therapists focus on aspects of patient rehabilitation directly involving the immediate restoration of functionality, OTs are engaged in long-term care roles that seek to intervene in factors that would inhibit a normal routine. For example, a 78-year-old woman recovering from knee surgery could learn to walk again after a few days or weeks with a physical therapist, yet an OT will be engaged with her throughout her normal routine in an attempt to find solutions that allow her to maintain independence.
In other words, just because she can walk again does not mean that she will be willing or able to in a private setting. An OT’s job is to encourage her to maintain independence by identifying care provisions like prostheses, splints, mobility aids, specialized adjustment techniques and anything else available. By having access to these personalized resources, the woman can avoid having to rely on nursing assistants and care facility employees to perform normal tasks.
Occupational Therapy Jobs Can Dramatically Improve Outcomes
The link between a lack of independence or immobility and quality of life is well-researched and understood by the medical community. Yet, many of these adverse outcomes develop behind closed doors since no one is engaging elder patients in their normal routines.
OTs make this type of engagement their main focus. As OT Richard Dressel puts it: “OT practitioners play a vital role in providing client-centered, short-term and long-term rehabilitation services [...] that enhance the client’s participation in meaningful roles and occupations of daily living. They also provide consultative services to facility staff and residents to improve quality of life and client satisfaction. The time has come to recognize their services.”
Without an OT’s attentive services, care facilities will end up with less control over patient outcomes, especially as they concern meaningful functionality, mobility and independence. To begin their journey in improving the lives of patients everywhere, OTs can visit our occupational therapist jobs and staffing services page.