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Occupational Therapy: What is it and Why is it Important?

Posted on July 23, 2020

occupational therapists Hannah Frame, Michael Orillion and Shelby DislerOccupational therapy is a healthcare profession that helps people with physical, developmental or emotional disabilities lead independent, productive and satisfying lives. At Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center (PNRC), our occupational therapy team is ready to help you maximize your functional independence so that your quality of life improves.

In our program, we emphasize the evaluation and treatment of functional limitations which may be caused by accident or injury, illness, birth defects, developmental disabilities, or other health-related conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, cancer and others.

The unique needs of the patient and family members are addressed through treatment, training and education that include the family as integral members of the care team.

“The patient has a better chance at recovery when their family is involved,” said Shelby Disler, an occupational therapist at PNRC. “The family can help us communicate with the patient about their needs.”

Adds PNRC occupational therapist Michael Orillion, “Family members help ensure the patient follows through with their treatment plan even if they aren’t at the rehab facility. They reinforce what we do and discuss the plan when the patient isn’t with us.”

Components of the occupational therapy program at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center include:

  • Upper-extremity management including range of motion, strength, coordination, and sensation
  • Activities of daily living such as self-care, home management, and community involvement
  • Cognitive, perceptual, and/or visual retraining related to activities of daily living
  • Fabrication of splints, slings, and other assistive devices
  • Assessment and provision of adaptive equipment
  • Home evaluations
  • Disabled driver’s readiness screening
  • Comprehensive outpatient services
  • Professional Staff

“I enjoy seeing my patients improve their functional abilities,” PNRC occupational therapist Hannah Frame said. “At PNRC, we focus on improving activities of daily living, which range from basic tasks like getting dressed to returning to your occupation if possible.”

Occupational therapy is often combined with other forms of therapy to help the patient make the best possible recovery. This form of therapy is extremely important to a patient’s sense of independence after being discharged from care.

“We’re the glue that holds it all together,” Orillion said. “Speech therapy helps with thinking and talking, physical therapy helps with getting from here to there, and we (occupational therapy) help with everything else.”

Frame added, “Occupational therapy isn’t just trying to help patients with their ‘job.’ It’s to help with any task that’s part of their daily living.”

 “You don’t recognize the importance of the seemingly small tasks until you can’t do them anymore. That’s when we can step in and help you do those tasks again,” Frame said.

PNRC’s occupational therapy team members are certified/licensed therapists who are experienced in treating people with disabilities. If you or your loved one is interested in occupational therapy services at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, give us a call at (865) 331-3600.


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