Occupational Therapy Month: Defining Occupational Therapy and the Benefits for You

April is Occupational Therapy Month. This month is set aside to focus on the role that occupational therapists play in helping individuals have a good quality of life and staying active, happy and healthy.

At Innovate Physical Therapy, we know first-hand how critical occupational therapists are in the health care world.

“Occupational therapy is so fulfilling because I get to help people become more independent in their daily living activities,” said Kathy Ramaekers, OTR/L, CHT, occupational therapist at Innovate Physical Therapy in Bellevue. “No matter what our age is, it’s important for us to be independent with our personal care and to be able to engage in our favorite pastimes.”

Occupational therapy is all about empowering the individual to maintain or regain their quality of life and independence. This is done by focusing on what is possible, what an individual can do and not on any debilities the individual might have.

“One client I worked with wanted to be able to pick up her newborn without hand pain, and another client wanted to be able to play golf again,” Ramaekers said. “That’s what was important to these clients, and they were both able to return to these activities after therapy intervention. I am truly blessed to be in this profession!”

Though they have similarities and often work together, occupational therapy and physical therapy are two different forms of rehabilitational sciences with their own focuses. Physical therapy primarily focuses on mobility, reducing pain and gross motor skills as well as rehabilitation and injury prevention. Occupational therapy concentrates on everyday activities that an individual needs to be able to do. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, occupational therapy is the only profession that helps individuals across their lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities.

“Occupational therapy is a tremendous resource for the team at Innovate Physical Therapy,” said Luke Collin, DPT, outpatient therapy coordinator for Innovate Physical Therapy in Bellevue. “Being able work with a team that can incorporate occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy into the recovery process is a luxury that not many outpatient facilities in the metro area offer. Our OT Kathy Ramaekers is highly skilled at treating complex injuries of the upper extremity and post-surgical hand patients. She is also certified in lymphedema treatments and in LSVT-BIG® treatments for Parkinson’s disease.”

Do you need occupational therapy? One of our highly skilled therapists would be happy to give you a free screening to assess your needs and help you develop a therapy plan that is personalized to you. Call (402) 682-4210 for more information or schedule your complimentary screening here.