Patients who’ve undergone a major procedure, whether it’s a total joint replacement or open-heart surgery, often require a lengthy and involved recovery process to be able to fully function once again. Surgery puts a major stress on the body, so it makes sense that the body needs time to heal itself. There are a variety of methods that can assist people who are recovering from surgery, but occupational therapy is one of the most useful options.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a mode of rehabilitation that allows patients to get back to their normal daily activities following a traumatic event or illness. An occupational therapist can help patients improve:
- Emotional and mental health
- Hand-eye coordination
- Range of motion
- Body strength
- A sense of normalcy
How occupational therapy benefits post-op patients
Following surgery, patients will want to work toward regaining their strength, and occupational therapy providers can give them the tools and functionality they need to get there.
An occupational therapist will meet with you when you’re ready to start post-op rehabilitation. This gives the therapist the opportunity to evaluate your needs and develop a customized plan. In some cases, the OT may find it necessary to evaluate a patient’s home in order to decide whether or not equipment is needed to assist with daily activities and getting around.
There are a variety of things occupational therapists will work on with patients following their surgery, including:
- Teaching the patient how to use a walker
- Instructing the individual on how to sit properly
- Helping patients learn how to get in and out of bed and what the best sleep positions are
- Offering advice on how to complete household chores
Joint replacement patients will need to learn how to function with their newly installed joints. If you’ve had a hip or knee replacement, you may need to tweak your walking style in order to adjust to the artificial joint. Someone who has had an elbow joint replacement, however, will focus rehabilitation on developing new ways to pick up and carry different objects.
An occupational therapist can monitor patient progress to determine if treatment is working or if alterations need to be made. It’s also important that patients communicate with their therapists if something is painful, too easy or difficult, or if they are struggling with a certain aspect of therapy. Communication is key to a successful recovery.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.