The role of the Occupational Therapist in addressing a patient’s mental health needs
Along with all the other roles an Occupational Therapist plays in rehabilitation, they are also trained to address mental health issues as they relate to rehabilitation. There are a lot of psychological components to occupational therapy, and O.T.s are skilled at handling them.
A large part of an O.T.’s responsibility is to help motivate the patient to participate in their rehabilitation. This can be accomplished through active listening, and discovering what ingredients of daily life the patient values the most. The O.T. then collaborates with the patient to develop a Plan of Care. By understanding what inspires the patient, the O.T. can incorporate into the treatment activities that have meaning and value for that specific patient. When the patient feels that the treatment has a purpose, they are more likely to participate fully and give more effort to the rehabilitation exercises.
A patient’s attitude toward therapy has a huge impact on the outcome of the treatment. If a patient has had a negative experience with therapy in the past, they may have low expectations or have a hopeless attitude. An O.T. will work hard to make the current therapy experience a positive one, and to turn that negative attitude around. This can be accomplished by encouraging the patient to express their concerns and then using a solution-oriented approach to address those concerns. This strategy enables the patient to perceive their therapy in a more positive light, with more confidence in a successful outcome.
For more information about occupational therapy at Dyer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, see Occupational Therapy