Occupational therapy is an important part of a patient’s recovery and rehabilitation after a stroke. It involves relearning everyday activities (occupations) to enable patients to lead full and independent lives. Occupational therapists help patients relearn or regain the ability to perform day-to-day tasks such as getting out of bed, showering, dressing and making meals, etc. when the right or left side of the body does not function as before the stroke.
In home health care, occupational therapists work as part of a team which could include a nurse, physical, occupational and speech therapist and a home health aide. As a part of this team, occupational therapist will assess the difficulties caused by the patient’s stroke including movement in the hands, arms and legs and any problems with sensation, vision and perception. Depending on the needs of the patient, an occupational therapist may:
- Suggest activities and exercises to improve abilities and independence
- Use and adapt everyday activities as part of rehabilitation
- Teach strategies and techniques to overcome difficult tasks
- Provide aides and equipment to make the home safe
- Teach and support family members to assist in therapy
For more information on occupational therapy, please visit the American Occupational Therapy Association website at www.aota.org.