By Thalia Honea, OTR/L
Why is it Called Occupational Therapy?
The quick answer, occupational therapy is named for its use of daily activities, also called “occupations,” which therapists use to help people do the things they need or want to do in daily life. This can include getting dressed, cutting your own food, performing specific work activities, and caring for parents, children, and pets.
What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?
Occupational therapy is a unique profession that helps people do what they want or need to do in their daily lives. Occupational therapists are a valued part of the dynamic team at Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute (JOI). Following injury or surgery, occupational therapists help individuals regain the ability to perform activities of daily living. We do this by restoring range of motion, mobility, strength, fine motor skills, and more to help individuals return to their daily routines and the things that mean most to them. Occupational Therapists help patients improve skills for day to day activities such as:
- Putting on clothes and self-care
- Improve motor skills, balance, and coordination
- Holding and controlling a pen or pencil
What is the Difference Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy?
Occupational and physical therapists often work closely and collaboratively. They treat individuals with similar diagnoses and surgeries using similar treatment methods. This can make it difficult to determine which profession is which. Both professions educate on how to prevent injury, educate about the healing process, and improve their patient’s ability to perform daily activities.
Simply put, a physical therapist’s primary focus is to improve a person’s impairment by increasing mobility, ensuring proper alignment and mechanics of bones and joints, and reducing pain. Physical therapy can help individuals avoid injury and surgery and decrease the need for pain medications.
Occupational therapists treat the whole person following an injury or surgery. Often, people will have fine motor coordination deficits or even emotions that can impact their ability to perform daily activities due to an injury or illness. Occupational therapists consider all of the factors that play into why a patient has difficulty completing a task.
For most people, we complete our daily activities using our hands. This is why you will see occupational therapists treating the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder in our clinics. Several JOI occupational therapists have received the prestigious distinction of Certified Hand Therapist or CHT. This credential requires at least 4,000 hours of direct upper extremity treatment and passing a difficult comprehensive exam to prove their advanced clinical skills relating to shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand rehabilitation.
Occupational Therapy in Jacksonville
The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Rehabilitation provides comprehensive preventative and post-surgical Hand Therapy and Occupational Therapy services across 12 locations over the Northeast Florida region. Our Occupational Therapists help patients get the independence they experienced prior to their injuries. You can call 904-858-7045 to find the location which is closest to you.
American Occupational Therapy Association. (n.d.). Important Events in Occupational Therapy in the 1910s. Retrieved August 24, 2020, from http://www.otcentennial.org/events/1910
Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain & Process. (2014). Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.