Occupational therapy (OT) is a healthcare profession that helps people of all ages and abilities participate in everyday activities and improve their overall quality of life. Occupational therapist practitioners (OTP’s) work with people who may have physical, developmental, emotional, or cognitive challenges that may block their ability to engage in the things they want and need to do each day.

Occupational therapy is all about changing lives and spreading smiles everywhere they go.

Let’s break down some of the current trends in occupational therapy.

Mental Health

We’re realizing more and more how vital mental health is and the pandemic definitely brought it more into focus. 

Mental health OTPs typically work in the community setting which can include group homes, clubhouses, after-school programs, vocational programs, senior centers, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and outpatient group therapy.

OTPs help people overcome barriers, develop coping skills, regain a sense of purpose, and help them live better.

Helping with Homelessness

OTP’s help address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

Homelessness can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental well-being, as well as their ability to engage in meaningful daily activities. OTP’s contribute to improving their overall quality of life by providing coping strategies, environmental modifications, skill building, strategies to stay healthy and prevent illnesses or manage chronic conditions, and helping them reintegrate into the community.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness states that in 2022, 582,462 people were experiencing homelessness. That’s almost 18 out of every 10,000 people and 28% of those were people living in families with children.

Home Sweet Home for Seniors

OT’s make sure our parents and grandparents can stay comfortable and safe in their own homes.

As people get older, it can become more challenging to do everyday things like getting dressed, cooking, and moving around. OTP’s work with seniors to figure out ways to make their homes safer and easier to live in. They help with things like adding  grab bars in the bathroom, organizing things so they’re easy to reach, and teaching exercises to keep the body strong. This way, older adults can stay in their own homes for longer and feel more independent.

The U.S. Census Bureau states there are over 55 million people aged 65 years and older and a survey by AARP found that 77 percent of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes long-term.

Helping People Improve Their Pelvic Health

Pelvic therapy can be beneficial for various issues such as pain, discomfort, or difficulties with controlling these functions. This area includes parts like the bladder, bowels, and muscles that control them.

They might use exercises, techniques, and education to help people manage symptoms, improve muscle control, and enhance their overall quality of life

This type of therapy can be particularly helpful for people with conditions like urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, sexual function,  or difficulties after childbirth. By addressing these issues, OTPs in pelvic therapy help individuals regain confidence and comfort in their daily activities.

Cancer and Occupational Therapy

OTPs help cancer patients feel better and tackle challenges that affect their ability to do the things they want to do.

They work with cancer patients to address issues like fatigue, pain, weakness, and changes in mobility caused by cancer and its treatments. They help individuals regain their independence by suggesting strategies to conserve energy, adapt activities, and manage symptoms.

OTP’s also offer emotional support to help patients cope with the physical and emotional changes that come with cancer. They can provide techniques to manage stress, anxiety, and depression.

Assistive Technology

There are lots of gadgets and gizmos to help people do everyday stuff.

Assistive technology refers to devices, tools, and technologies that are designed to help people with disabilities perform daily activities, such as communicating with others, moving around their environment, and accessing information.

OTP’s use assistive technology to help people with everyday tasks due to physical, cognitive, or sensory limitations. achieve their goals and improve their quality of life.

Embracing Diversity

OTPs embrace differences and are champions of diversity.

They understand and respect  people from different backgrounds, cultures, and ways of life. OTP’s work with a wide range of people, and every one is unique. By taking into account things like language, traditions, beliefs, and values. This helps them create treatment plans that make sense for each individual.

Diversity is also important because the world is full of people from different backgrounds. OTP’s need to know how to work with everyone, no matter their age, race, religion, or abilities. This way, they can provide the best care possible and make sure everyone feels respected and included.

Care for Tiny Babies

The little ones in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) need extra love and care.

OTPs help babies born prematurely or with medical conditions and their families during their stay in the hospital.

OTP’s provide sensory stimulation, help with positioning and movement, feeding support, parent education, transition to home, and work closely with other medical professionals in the NICU to make sure babies get the best care.

Occupational therapy practitioners are needed everywhere! Want to find out how to join this amazing profession?

Learn more about becoming an OT.

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