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Occupational Therapy focuses on skills for daily activities

Hospital news | Thursday, April 29, 2021

When you’re injured, a lot of worries rush through your mind. One of those concerns eventually may be, “How soon can I get back to doing the things I need to do?” Occupational therapy helps you answer that question by focusing on the skills people need for daily activities, such as working, dressing, eating, shopping, personal care, and getting around.

“Occupational therapists have a comprehensive knowledge of the body – how it is supposed to move and how injury or illness can affect daily function,” said Ashtabula County Medical Center Director of Rehabilitation Services Jim Pierce-Ruhland, PT, MS Cert MDT. “We design a rehabilitation program to meet the unique needs of each individual to help recover safe movement and function; goals may include improving physical skills after an injury, maintaining independence in light of chronic disease, or learning to adapt to a permanent disability.”

He added that occupational therapists work with people of all ages at ACMC. School-aged children may face disabilities that affect their ability to learn in school or participate fully in events. Adults may need help after an acute illness or injury in either the inpatient hospital or outpatient settings. Senior adults may be dealing with the effects of aging or chronic disease.

“We develop a program that blends exercise, simulated day-to-day activities, and education to help a patient set realistic goals for improving their quality of life,” Pierce-Ruhland said. “For some that may mean a return to daily activities without problems. For others, it may mean learning to use adaptive equipment modifying their homes to accommodate their disability.”

Occupational therapy is often recommended for the following:

  • Childhood developmental disabilities or injuries.
  • Stroke
  • Broken bones or injuries related to falls or other accidents.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-surgery rehabilitation.
  • Weakness due to illness or injury.
  • Vision or cognitive problems.
  • Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or dementia.
  • Recovery from work-related injuries.

ACMC occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants work closely with a patient’s primary care provider, specialists, and other rehabilitation therapists as part of the comprehensive care team focused on patient-centered care. A physician's referral is required for an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist at ACMC's Department of Rehabilitation Services. For more information, please call 440-997-6680.