Occupational Therapy Month begins

April 2003 has been designated as National Occupational Therapy Month by the American Occupational Therapy Association and by occupational therapy practitioners in Louisiana. This year's theme is "Creating Solutions ... Rebuilding Lives".

Occupational Therapy is a health profession that helps persons whose lives have been affected by illness, injury, or other impairments. The historical roots of occupational therapy in America date back to the early twentieth century, when it was found that "purposeful occupations" such as crafts helped patients recover more swiftly from injuries and illness, both physical and mental. This is how occupational therapy derived its name. Today, the "occupation" in occupational therapy refers to the activities and tasks we do in everyday life. Occupational Therapy helps individuals "build skills for the job of living".

Every day, children, adults, and senior citizens have or develop health conditions that significantly affect their ability to manage their daily lives and function independently. Examples of "occupations" that can be affected by these health conditions can range from basic activities like eating, bathing, and dressing, to more complicated things like using a computer, paying bills, managing a home and family, returning to work or school, playing sports, participating in hobbies, grocery shopping, and attending church.

A wide variety of people can benefit from occupational therapy including, but not limited to, those with work-related injuries, limitations following a stroke or heart attack, limitations following a spinal cord injury or amputation, limitations following a broken bone or total joint replacement, serious chronic conditions including arthritis and multiple sclerosis, lengthy hospital stays for conditions including pneumonia or congestive heart failure, mental health or behavioral problems, developmental disorders including cerebral palsy or mental retardation, etc. With the help of occupational therapy, many of these individuals can regain or even achieve a higher level of independence. The occupational therapist will individualize each person's treatment based on that client's specific needs, goals, and desires. When the desired skills cannot be improved or developed, occupational therapy can offer creative solutions for carrying out daily activities as independently as possible. Most commonly the therapist will evaluate each situation and recommend adaptations that can be made to promote independence with a particular task.

Examples include training a patient to dress utilizing adaptive equipment such as a dressing stick or sock aide, or adapting that patient's home environment through recommending bathtub benches, grab bars, elevated toilet seats, etc. The ultimate goal is for that patient to achieve as much independence as possible, while also ensuring their safety with all activities.

Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled professionals whose education includes the study of human development with emphasis on the social, emotional, and physiological effects of injury or illness. The occupational therapist enters the field with a bachelors or masters degree, while the occupational therapy assistant earns an associate degree. Both practitioners must complete supervised clinical internships and pass a national examination. The practice of occupational therapy is regulated in the state of Louisiana.

Morehouse General Hospital offers occupational therapy services in the areas of acute, ICU, outpatient rehabilitation, home health, and geriatric psychiatric care. Bastrop Rehabilitation Hospital offers occupational therapy services in its acute inpatient rehabilitation facility. Therapy services for both facilities are contracted through Prestige

Consulting, a firm based in Bossier City, Louisiana. The department consists of three occupational therapists and two occupational therapy assistants, all of which live in Bastrop and its surrounding areas. For further information about the practice of occupational therapy or services provided through Morehouse General or Bastrop Rehab, the public is invited to contact Angie Flory, LOTR/Therapy Supervisor, at 556-8015. Rehabilitation facility. Therapy services for both facilities are contracted through Prestige Consulting, a firm based in Bossier City, Louisiana. The department consists of three occupational therapists and two occupational therapy assistants, all of which live in Bastrop and its surrounding areas. For further information about the practice of occupational therapy or services provided through Morehouse General or Bastrop Rehab, the public is invited to contact Angie Flory, LOTR/Therapy Supervisor, at 556-8015.
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