Treatments & Therapies

Occupational Therapy – Treatment, Effects & Risks

Occupational therapy

In occupational therapy , everyday activities are used to expand and maintain people’s ability to act. This applies to people with physical or mental disabilities as well as patients after a stroke or children in whom developmental delays have been observed.

What is occupational therapy?

In these fields, occupational therapy works closely with other disciplines such as neurology , orthopedics and psychiatry .

In Germany, ergotherapy is a recognized form of therapy with uniformly regulated training. Dealing with everyday tasks such as simple household chores under therapeutic supervision should help the patient to achieve the greatest possible independence in daily life and to discard pathological behavior and movement patterns.

Occupational therapy can also help with activities such as socializing with friends.

Function, effect & goals

The fields of application of occupational therapy are diverse. A major area of ​​application is the rehabilitation of patients with neurological disorders, such as strokes, Parkinson ‘s disease or multiple sclerosis .

Patients whose neurological function is restricted after accidents can also be helped using ergotherapy.

By coping with tasks that cause difficulties for the patient, the nervous system is trained and rehabilitation is supported. In addition, the patients learn to deal appropriately with the everyday circumstances of their situation.

Gross and fine motor skills are trained as part of occupational therapy, as is the sense of balance and memory.

Occupational therapy with children

In pediatrics, occupational therapy plays an important role in a variety of disabilities. Occupational therapists are consulted in the case of developmental delays or behavioral disorders ( eating disorders , limited social behavior) as well as in the case of congenital organic damage. In this case, too, the aim is to enable the people affected to be as independent as possible and to replace pathological movement and behavioral patterns with healthier ones.

In this context, doing homework is just as much part of the content of occupational therapy as handicrafts or other child-friendly tasks, such as cooking. In this context, occupational therapists often cooperate with social institutions or special kindergartens, schools and rehabilitation centers for children.

Occupational Therapy & Orthopedics

In the case of orthopedic impairments, occupational therapy primarily affects the patient’s motor functions. This person learns how to deal competently with any aids that may be needed in everyday life. Exercises that are suitable for everyday use are used to optimize the range of motion of muscles and joints. Here the field of activity of ergotherapy overlaps with that of physiotherapy . Both are often used in parallel to achieve the best possible effect. If necessary, the affected person learns compensatory alternatives for movement sequences that have become impossible due to illness under therapeutic supervision.

Even if coping with everyday tasks without unexpected external influences becomes more difficult solely because of age, there is still the possibility of improving the patient’s quality of life with occupational therapy. Physical and mental abilities can be maintained and sometimes even improved through targeted support. It is also important to adapt the home environment to the changed abilities of the patients in order to preserve the quality of life for as long as possible. In the geriatric field, the focus of occupational therapy is on promoting and maintaining cognitive abilities.

Occupational therapy is also a suitable tool when it comes to training the resilience and motivation of people with mental disabilities. By mastering simple and more complex tasks, patients gain self-confidence and everyday competence. The socio-emotional competence as well as the processing of body perception are practiced through everyday and creative tasks. In this way, patients learn under therapeutic supervision how to behave appropriately in a situation and how to interact with their environment. In the psychiatric field, occupational therapy is mainly used for addicts and people with a wide variety of mental disorders.

Depending on the field of activity, occupational therapy is more or less successful in acting in accordance with the holistic concept and in responding to the needs of the patient. Close consultation with the other disciplines involved is necessary in order to achieve optimal therapeutic results. German health insurance companies generally cover the costs incurred by occupational therapy, because the approach of treating people as part of their environment often leads to promising results.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.