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In this blog series, we’ll dive into the many sectors of healthcare and rehabilitation through the lens of providers nationwide. As they share their time and expertise with us, we hope to get a better understanding of the various populations we serve across settings and how we can best work as an interdisciplinary team.

Recognizing Occupational Therapy Month – Through the Lens of Our Healthcare Partners

In April, we take time to recognize our occupational therapists and therapy assistants and celebrate the tremendous value they bring to the rehabilitation world with Occupational Therapy Month. Occupational therapists and assistants work in settings across the healthcare and age spectrum to allow individuals to maintain their independence and enhance their quality of life. The American Occupational Therapy Association (APTA) places OT’s focus on what you want and need to do in your daily life. Through targeting everyday life activities (occupations), therapy interventions promote health, well-being, and your ability to participate in the essential activities in your life.

Occupational therapy interventions may include working with an individual on their ability to complete household tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry, and personal care tasks such as dressing, bathing, and grooming in adult populations. In pediatric populations, occupational therapists target the development of fine motor, sensory-motor, and visual motor skills, and more. The skills and compensatory strategies that occupational therapists provide to their populations allow individuals to develop, regain, and maintain their independence and, ultimately, a higher quality of life.

For adult populations, maintaining independence contributes to a higher sense of self and mental health. In addition, the work of occupational therapists with adults helps those individuals who suffer from physically debilitating disease processes such as strokes, heart diseases, and/or a natural progression of muscle weakness, provides opportunities to live in lesser restrictive environments, and continues participating in activities of daily living, like driving.

To take a closer look at the perspectives on Occupational Therapist’s contributions to the lives of our senior citizens, we sat down with registered nurse (RN) Kate Clements. Kate has been an RN for 11 years, starting her career as an LPN in 2008 and working her way across long-term care settings, such as SNFs and ALs. Kate presently serves as the Resident Service Director for Maplewood Senior Living, which provides opportunities for assisted living communities and memory care.

Kate states that “OTs and OTAs are valuable assets to those individuals struggling with multiple comorbidities as they adjust to new environments. For example, when someone is going from home to a hospital to a new setting, like an assisted living, it’s a new environment that occupational therapists assist those individuals in adjusting to by targeting tasks that create muscle memory within their new space. Our occupational therapists are critical in helping set up new routines for our residents and working as a resource to our clinical team. I often involve our therapists in clinical meetings as they provide my nurses with tools, such as tips for increased safety and function, that allow our residents to have the highest level of independence.”

As we close the month of April, we reflect on the value and importance of the work our occupational therapists and therapy assistants complete daily to improve the lives of the communities we serve. Thank you to all of our OTs and OTAs for your continued work and dedication to the field.

About the author:

Masha Cherpakov M.S.,CCC-SLP, RAC-CT
Regional Vice President

Masha started with Encore in 2015 as a staff Speech Language Pathologist and currently serves as a Regional Vice President in Ohio. Passionate about the geriatric population and advocacy, she has recently joined the NASL 2022 Class of Emerging Leaders, where she participates in visits to the hill to promote change and value in our industry to our policy makers. Her mission is to provide all with an opportunity to make their voices heard.