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What is occupational therapy?

Occupational Therapy (OT), according to the definition of the World Health Organization (WHO), is “the set of techniques, methods and actions that, through activities applied for therapeutic purposes, prevent and maintain health, favor function restoration, supplementing the invalidated deficits and values the behavioral assumptions and their profound significance to achieve the greatest possible independence and reinsertion of the individual in all its aspects: labor, mental, physical and social.

Sometimes the literal translation of the term Occupational Therapy, leads to confusing the purpose of this discipline with the intention of having a person occupied or entertained. So, it is important to note that the end goal of OT is to achieve the maximum functionality of the person with some type of limitation, whether physical, cognitive, behavioral or a variety of them, through meaningful activity and / or workshops.

Professionals exercising occupational therapy, are endowed with socio-sanitary knowledge enclosed within the scope of rehabilitation, which allow intervention in three areas: self-maintenance, productivity and leisure of the person, and also provides the professional with the ability to:

  • Make an assessment of the capabilities and limitations of the person.
  • Preventing disabilities (imbalances, occupational dysfunctions, anticipating possible injuries and pathologies).
  • Evaluate the sensory, superior, social and psychological capacities.
  • Elaborate and evaluate rehabilitation treatment programs with their corresponding individualized objectives.
  • Obtain involvement by the patient in their own treatment.
  • To train and to reeducate in the basic and instrumental activities of daily life.
  • Train the use of technical aids whenever and wherever necessary, compensating for their limitations.
  • To make and carry out the prescription of orthoses, prosthetics and technical aids, as well as the training of the person who uses it.
  • Adapt the environment and develop programs to remove architectural barriers. Advise families, users and professionals of other specialties.
  • Evaluate means of transportation and possible adaptations.
  • Train the individual to achieve the highest possible degree of social and work reintegration as an active member within their community.
  • Help the individual to readjust their daily habits.
  • Reinsertion of the individual in his daily life and in his environment in the best possible conditions.
  • Collaborate with public and / or private institutions for the promotion and development of intervention programs in the population with disabilities.

WHERE DOES THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST INTERVENE?

Hospitals and clinics (departments of physical rehabilitation and mental rehabilitation).

  • Affected association by various pathologies, physical and sensory.
  • Occupational and pre-employment centers.
  • Special education centers.
  • Geriatric homes.
  • Orthopedic centers and design of ergonomic material.
  • Psychiatric units.
  • Prison institutions.
  • Programs for attention to social marginalization.
  • Home care.
  • Associations and NGOs.
  • Mutual work accidents.
  • Scope of advice (labor risk prevention teams, disability and expertise courts …)
  • Teaching area (university schools, training, research …)
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