All Posts tagged occupational therapy

Celebrating Our Therapists During Occupational Therapy Month

Celebrating Our Therapists During Occupational Therapy Month

April was Occupational Therapy Month, and this year, we’d like to do something special. We currently have four great occupational therapists on our staff that work tirelessly to provide exceptional care to many patients. Since we missed recognizing them during April, we’d like to put the spotlight on each of them now to give them the recognition and praise they deserve.

Alexa Azevedo

Alexa Azevedo
Alexa joined GHHS June 2015. She enjoys walking her dog, canoeing, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Christie Montgomery

Christie Montgomery

GHHS is happy to have Christie providing occupational therapy services since July 2015

Tisha Fiore

Tisha Fiore

Tisha has been an occupational therapist for 19 years. Her professional journey began by earning an associate degree (COTA) in Denver Colorado. She then continued her education earning a B.S. in Psychology at Chatham University and later a graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Occupational Therapy.

Lynette Hanczar

Lynette Hanczar

Lynette enjoys any outdoor activity and has lived in Florida so she obviously enjoys the beach! Occupational therapy experience includes pediatric care, skilled nursing facility rehabilitation, and home health. Lynette is very athletic and will challenge anyone to a crossfit workout!!

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The Difference Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

The Difference Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

If you’re like most people, you may not know the exact difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy. While they are both rehabilitative services that assist patients in regaining function, they go about this process through very different means. Generally speaking, physical therapy is intended to treat the source of a patient’s physical impairment. Occupational therapy, on the other hand, focuses on treating the impairment in action.

Many of our patients use our physical and occupational therapy services, with some patients even using both! Just because you are receiving therapy from one, does not mean you can’t receive therapy from the other. Physical and occupational therapy work hand-in-hand with each other to help the patient achieve their highest rehabilitative potential.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists tend to focus on treating the effects of a disability rather than the source. It is their job to help a person learn to optimize their life after an injury or physical impairment. The main focus of treatment for OT is activities of daily living. Anything that a person does on a regular basis can be considering an activity of daily living, such as dressing, cooking, bathing, using the bathroom, or writing. The ultimate goal for occupational therapy is to enable the patient to live an independent and successful life in spite of their disabilities.

In order to achieve this, therapists use treatments that include stretching, therapeutic exercise, hand strengthening, manual dexterity practice, and caregiver training. Generally, they focus on the upper body and focus on the smaller muscles that people need to complete daily activities. An occupational therapist can recommend adaptive equipment that will help people live normally, such as reachers, dressing aids, specialized dishes and utensils, and splints for positioning. Generally, occupational therapy is recommended for people who have sudden mental and physical impairments, developmental disabilities, stroke, arthritis, or injury.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists take the approach of trying to repair or treat the impairment that is limiting a patient. Their job is to evaluate and diagnose an injury while coming up with a plan to treat the disability. They will actually try to heal the injured tissues and structures while reducing pain and increasing functional ability.

PT focuses on movement and helping a patient become mobile once again. Treatment includes stretching, therapeutic exercise, balance training, functional mobility training, gait training, and caregiver training. Typically, physical therapy focuses on the larger muscle groups that contribute to reaching, standing, and balance. It usually takes more of a focus on the lower body, but can include the arms and the back. Physical therapists can also recommend assistive devices, such as shower chairs, braces, walkers, canes, wheelchairs, and standers. Following a home exercise plan is essential for completing physical therapy rehabilitation. The most common reasons for needing PT are injury, back pain, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis.

Occupational Therapy

Physical Therapy

  • Helps people with activities of daily living
  • Teaches patients how to work around their disabilities
  • Makes recommendations about adaptive equipment
  • Goal is to increase independence
  • Diagnoses and treats problems that restrict movement and cause pain
  • Uses exercise and stretching to ease pain, boost mobility, and increase muscle strength
  • Makes recommendations for assistive equipment
  • Goal is to help heal the disability and increase mobility

Examples

To sum up, let’s look at a few examples of injuries and see how physical therapists and occupational therapists would assist. Imagine a patient who has just had a knee replacement. It is the job of the PT to assign different exercises to improve mobility and ease pain and stiffness. The OT, on the other hand, will help the patient adapt to using a wheelchair and then move on to helping the patient use the stairs with the new knee. Another example is a patient who has muscle weakness and cannot stand for a long time. A PT will work on helping the patient stand and practice balance, while the OT will teach the patient how to perform hygiene tasks without being able to stand the whole time.

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The Top 10 Benefits of Occupational Therapy

The Top 10 Benefits of Occupational Therapy

In celebration of Occupational Therapy Month, we thought it would be a good time to recall all of the great benefits you receive when you undergo occupational therapy. In case you weren’t aware, OT is one of the fine home health services we offer! We employ the most experienced occupational therapists in the Pittsburgh area so that they can provide the best possible care for you.

Occupational therapy assists people in learning to do the things they want and need to do during their daily lives. In many of our patients, occupational therapy is required after injury or illness to help them get back to their old selves. In seniors specifically, it has been proven to improve health and slow aging-related declines better than basic social activities. Without further ado, here are the top 10 benefits of occupational therapy in seniors!

1. Fall Prevention

Falls are a big problem for the elderly community. Luckily, OT helps you to become aware of all the fall risks that surround you. It teaches you to avoid scenarios which have a higher risk of falling while still staying active. Occupational therapists can also teach balancing and muscle building exercises.

2. Mental Restoration

Age-related mental decline often seems unavoidable and terribly tragic. However, studies have shown that brain training exercises do play a role in preventing or delaying the effects of these conditions. Luckily, occupational therapists are experts at targeting mental health and coming up with the perfect brain teasers to restore your brain power.

3. Aging in Place

Many seniors are unable to continue living on their own as they grow older and less independent. Occupational therapy teaches seniors how to “age in place” by developing partnerships with older adults, family caregivers, and community members.

4. A Safer Home

The home can be a verifiable death zone without the help of an occupational therapist. OTs can help you install safety devices throughout your home, such as handrails, grab bars, and walk-in bathtubs. These modification recommendations can promote independent living and prevent harmful accidents.

5. Improved Health

This seems like a given, but some people don’t believe it! OTs are concerned with increasing the quality of your life and helping you feel more satisfied. OTs teach seniors about how to redesign their daily lives to promote longevity, overcome fears, and leading a healthier lifestyle.

6. Education and Knowledge

Many seniors lack the training and education that could help them stay independent. An OT will provide this knowledge to you so that you can utilize these tips and strategies in your daily life. They can help seniors with vision or hearing impairments and mobility limitations to prevent falls and conserve energy.

7. Caregiver Relief

Caring for a senior in need is hard work, but luckily OT can help alleviate some of that pressure! OTs work with your loved ones to help them make better decisions about your daily care needs. Just as they teach seniors how to live independently, they also teach caregivers how to separate themselves from their caregiving so they can maintain their own lives.

8. Recommendations for Dementia Patients

Unfortunately, occupational therapy can’t always stop the progression of dementia. When the patient can no longer effectively communicate, OTs can at least provide recommendations to make their life more pleasing. They can offer suggestions for foods with pleasing texture, soothing music, or stretching programs to eliminate pain.

9. Rehabilitation Assistance

After surgery, many seniors are completely disabled until they begin to recover. Consulting with an occupational therapist can help facilitate their recovery process and get them back to living like their normal self. OTs can offer suggestions on how to perform daily activities while limited with movement.

10. Conquering Everyday Life

Sometimes it feels like each new day is the hardest of your life. It doesn’t have to be that way! Occupational therapy teaches seniors how to dress, feed, drive, socialize, manage their home, volunteer, or even work all while compensating for their hardships. They consider common senior problems such as chronic pain or arthritis and develop strategies that can help you tackle these without sacrificing your happiness. Growing older doesn’t mean you have to give up the things you love to do!

If you’re interested in learning more about occupational therapy, check out our occupational therapy page. To see if we can provide you occupational therapy services, contact us or your doctor today!

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Occupational Therapy Month Quiz

April is Occupational Therapy Month! Occupational therapy is very important to us, as it is one of the services we provide to our patients. Many people do not understand exactly what occupational therapy is, so we want to take a moment to try and inform you!

Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill, and educating the client/family in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the client.

Now that you have a basic understanding of occupational therapy, why not give our short quiz a try? It’s harmless, we promise!

Occupational Therapy Month Quiz

April is Occupational Therapy Month! Occupational therapy is an important part of our services and an often misunderstood practice. Learn more about what occupational therapists do and how it can help you! Simply click the “Start Quiz” button below to begin!

occupational therapy month

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