Occupational Therapy: Living Life to the Fullest
By Kingman Regional Medical Center Staff
If you’ve suffered a serious illness or injury, you know life can change in major ways. You may have reduced ability to carry out your daily routine the way you did before. You may struggle with tasks that once came easily to you.
Kingman Regional Medical Center offers occupational therapy (OT) for people who have experienced any illness or injury that has altered their life. Conditions treated include:
- Balance deficits and falls
- Developmental disabilities
- Hand/extremity dysfunction
- Joint replacement
- Lung conditions
- Musculoskeletal conditions
- Neurodegenerative disorders
- Sports-related injuries
- Work-related injuries
What does OT do?
Occupational therapy enables people of all ages to live life to the fullest by helping them adapt to an injury, illness, or disability. Through a variety of evidence-based practices and methods, occupational therapists help people develop the skills they need for performing everyday tasks at home, work, and leisure. Occupational therapy focuses on these tasks – often called occupations or activities of daily living (ADLs), including:
- Brushing your teeth
- Moving around safely
- Grocery shopping
- Making a meal
- Putting your dishes away
Occupational therapists and therapy assistants work closely with other health care professionals to create a comprehensive care plan for each patient. In addition to the occupational therapist, these plans may involve nursing staff, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and primary care doctors.
Occupational therapy has many benefits for patients – by helping to ease the transition from hospital to home life, it can decrease their chances of readmission. OT can facilitate early mobilization, getting the patient up and moving as early as safely possible after an event or procedure. Through OT, patients often restore function, prevent further decline, and get help with transition and discharge planning.
KRMC employs highly trained and certified professionals to provide occupational therapy. Therapists have obtained Master’s or Doctorate degrees, and occupational therapy assistants hold Associate’s degrees. Our practitioners assess each patient to determine the best plan of care for them. Using their training and education, our medical professionals use the following methods to help patients regain and improve functionality:
- Provide training in self-care activities such as bathing and dressing. For these and other activities, therapists may introduce adaptive medical devices, and/or other strategies to help perform the task.
- Use relevant occupation-based activities to improve strength, endurance and balance, as well as deficits in cognition and perception.
- Teach patients best practices following orthopedic surgery, including appropriate weight bearing and precautions during activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Create or provide assistive devices and train patients in their use to promote healing and maximize independence
- Develop home programs and instruct patients, family members, and caregivers in how to use them to continue rehabilitation after discharge
- Contribute to safe discharge planning, including recommendations for transitioning to the next level of care
Occupational therapy requires a referral. Talk to your primary care provider to determine if OT is a fit for your condition.
Know the signs of stroke
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to part of your brain is blocked or cut off. When the brain tissue does not get the oxygen and nutrients it needs from the blood, brain cells begin to die within minutes.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke can help the victim get treatment fast. Early treatment is important to minimize damage to the brain. The American Stroke Association uses the acronym FAST to help you remember common signs of stroke and take quick action:
F – Face drooping
Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
A – Arm weakness
Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech difficulty
Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the person able to correctly repeat the words?
T – Time to call 911
If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and say, “I think this is a stroke” to help get the person to the hospital immediately. Time is important! Don’t delay, and also note the time when the first symptoms appeared. Emergency responders will want to know.
Stroke can have other symptoms, including vision problems, headache, confusion, and dizziness. If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to call 911 anyway.