Written by Carroll Nelligan, Tx:Team President and Chief Operating Officer
“You know that occupational therapy is more than a profession—it’s a passion, and it’s about people.” AOTA
It’s April, an entire month dedicated to promote and create more awareness around the great field of Occupational Therapy. I encourage all of our Occupational Therapists to carve out some time to reflect on the great work you do and recharge yourselves with empowerment and inspiration. Here’s what inspires me about our profession:
OT is Creative. I had the pleasure of attending the Quarterly OT meeting with OTRs and COTAs from our Bridge region and our Indiana hospitals. We opened with a sharing activity, “What is a favorite Therapeutic Activity that you use in your practice?” The inventive and resourceful list included making overnight oatmeal, packing a suitcase, selecting and wrapping a gift and many others. OTs have the training and expertise to select an activity and break it down into all of the required motor, cognitive, visual, and perceptual components to help our patients achieve meaningful occupation based goals. As we were sharing, my first supervisor at Good Samaritan Hospital Georgina Miller’s words echoed in my brain. “If you are doing straight exercise with a patient, you are NOT an occupational therapist.” OTs are creative experts in therapeutic activity!
OT is Evidence Based. Occupational therapy is a science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to participate in daily living or live better with injury, illness, or disability. This is accomplished through designing strategies for everyday living and customizing environments to develop and maximize potential. An independent study published in Medical Care Research found that “occupational therapy is the only spending category that has significantly lowered hospital readmission rates.” What were the OT interventions that drove this? Recommendations and training for caregivers, assistive devices, home safety assessments, assessing cognition around medication management, and functional mobility. Tx:Team Occupational Therapists and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants in the hospital environment are impacting readmission rates each and every day!
OT is Holistic. We do with people not to people. We are about helping people live life to the fullest, regardless of what their life is like or who they are. By taking the full picture into account—a person’s psychological, physical, emotional, and social make-up—occupational therapy assists people in:
- Achieving their goals
- Functioning at the highest possible level
- Concentrating on what matters most to them
- Maintaining or rebuilding their independence
- Participating in the everyday activities that they need to do or that simply make life worth living
We are experts in helping people perform the occupations they need and want to do every day.
Forever an OT. Every weekend I visit my Mom at her senior living campus to spend time with her and help her with household tasks. On my most recent trip, I arrived at her apartment only to I realize I had left an item on my kitchen counter that was meant for her. Honestly, I was a bit frustrated, and I hurriedly exited the building to return (for yet another trip) to CVS. It was then I saw a car door open in the parking lot and a resident was on the pavement. Her rolling walker (tennis balls in the air!) was turned over and she was struggling to get up. God works in small mysterious ways by sending a frustrated OT out to the parking lot at just at the right time. Occupational therapists (no matter what we are doing) are OTs at heart and are indispensable healthcare professionals within our communities.
Thank you to all of our talented, creative, smart, and dedicated Occupational Therapists and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants. Take the time this month to celebrate and recognize our fabulous OTRs and COTAs for the passionate professionals that they are.