What is Occupational Therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy?

Definition: Occupational therapy is the use of purposeful activity or interventions designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury or disability, and which develop, improve, sustain or restore the highest possible level of independence of any individual who has an injury, illness, cognitive impairment, psychosocial dysfunction, mental illness, developmental or learning disability, physical disability, or other disorder or condition. It includes assessment by means of skilled observation or evaluation through the administration and interpretation of standardized or non-standardized tests and measurements." Definition of Occupational Therapy Practice for State Regulation by the American Occupational Therapy Association, 1994

What is Hand Therapy?

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper extremity of the human body.  Hand therapists are occupational therapists or physical therapists who, through extra training and experience, have specialized knowledge of upper extremity function.  Using specialized skills in assessment and treatment, hand therapists work with their clients to prevent injury or impairment, restore functional activity, and enhance participation in daily life." HTCC definition of Hand Therapy  August, 2007

Who can benefit from Occupational Therapy services?          

  You may benefit from OT services if you have any of the following

  • Recent fractures of the arm including your shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers
  • Pain in any of the joints of your arm
  • Decreased ability to complete fine motor activities such as putting earrings in or writing
  • Decreased ability to complete self care activities
  • Decreased ability to complete home management tasks because of decreased endurance, pain, cognitive issues, arm fracture
  • Hand Arthritis
  • Trouble with sensation in hands or arms

What will the therapists use to help me get better?

The following are some treatment examples:

  • Splint fabrication
  • Edema Management
  • Home exercise programs
  • Range of Motion  and Strengthening exercises
  • Joint mobilization to increase range of motion
  • Soft-tissue massage/ Myofascial Release
  • Scar Management and desensitization techniques
  • Sensory Re-education – training to restore normal function of nerve following an injury
  • Fine motor activities
  • Joint protection techniques for arthritis
  • Energy conservation/Work Simplification
  • Wound Care

 The following are some special techniques/modalities to improve outcomes during therapy:

  • Ultrasound- use of sound waves producing a deep heat to penetrate tissue and promote healing and decrease pain/inflammation
  • Electrical Stimulation/ TENS – use of electrical stimulation indicated for pain relief, muscle re-education and strengthening.  Can be used in clinic or as part of a home program
  • Iontophoresis -  method of delivering medication to reduce inflammation using positive and negative charges
  • Moist Heat/ Cryotherapy (cold pack)
  • Paraffin – warm wax used to loosen joints, decrease pain and increase range of motion

For patient inquiries, call all the Hospital Clinic at 410-328-0586 or the Frenkil Clinic at 410-328-7725.