what is occupational therapy

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What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy, often abbreviated OT, helps people regain their independence after suffering from disability, developmental delays, or workplace injuries.

Your occupational therapist’s goal is simple: to help you regain your independence through self-care, returning to work, or getting back to the leisure activities you enjoy, depending on your situation and needs. OT gives individuals “the skills for the job of living.”

Understanding Occupational Therapy

Your occupational therapist will help you build the skills and strategies you need to perform daily activities, including:

  • Personal care: dressing, eating, writing, grooming
  • Home care: cooking, gardening, cleaning
  • Personal management: basic financial skills, stress management, maintaining a schedule
  • Driving a vehicle
  • Adapting to low vision challenges

Occupational therapists evaluate a patient’s needs by taking a close look at their home, work, and school environments. They’ll develop a personalized care plan, and determine if adaptive or ergonomic equipment would be of help.

Occupational therapists also fit, fabricate, and help people learn how to properly use adaptive equipment such as reaching devices, transfer equipment, dressing aides, and splints/orthotics.

Their services are usually offered through a rehabilitation center and may be one of several forms of recommended therapy for a person with functional limitations. Both inpatient and outpatient programs are available.

Who Benefits from Occupational Therapy?

People of any age benefit from occupational therapy. People with injury, stroke, or cognitive decline can also lead more fulfilling lives with the help of an occupational therapist.

Injuries or conditions that could benefit from occupational therapy include:

Your therapist and doctor will work with you to develop a tailored program based on your needs and goals for the future.

Learn more by visiting the Occupational Therapy at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services webpage.

About UPMC Centers for Rehab Services

Whatever your therapy need – physical, occupational, or speech – UPMC Center for Rehab Services can create a personalized treatment plan for you. We have more than 70 outpatient facilities throughout western Pennsylvania, with convenient hours for your schedule. Our therapies follow the most up-to-date research for rehabilitation, and we treat numerous conditions, from arthritis and tendinitis, to injuries and symptoms related to other medical conditions.