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Fact vs. Fiction: OT Edition

"I prefer fact to fiction." - Richard Attenborough

There are many medical professionals that make up a diverse team to assist people with skill development and rehabilitation. Occupational Therapists often appear restricted to assisting with specific skills or environments whether in skilled nursing facilities, schools, or hospitals. We present Fact vs. Fiction today, an OT Edition.

Balance/Vertigo

Only Physical Therapists address balance and vertigo issues.


Fact: Occupational Therapists can address balance and vertigo as well. Below you will find the connection of OT to balance or vertigo interventions.

  • Balance is an important part of any person's daily routine if it requires walking from place to place, transfers from standing to sitting on a chair or toilet, and even bending over to pick up a child or pet. OT provides intervention to assist in improving balance to avoid falls or injury while independently carrying out any daily task.

  • Vertigo is a symptom that makes one feel as though a person or the environment around a person is moving or spinning. The vestibular system is one of the body's eight senses. Click here for a more information regarding the eight senses.

  • Often people with vestibular dysfunction exhibit symptoms such as vertigo, loss of balance, vision or hearing difficulties. One way an OT can assess functional difficulties related to vestibular dysfunction symptoms is to observe a self care task to identify specific movements or environments that trigger a symptom. With assessment comes recommendations whether that is through direct treatment, adaptive equipment, education, and training to improve the identified deficits or refer for more in-depth testing.

 

Incontinence

Medication is the only treatment for incontinence.


Fact: Occupational Therapists can address incontinence issues. There are four types of incontinence: Stress, Urge, Overflow, Functional. Click here for more information about the types of incontinence.

  • OT addresses incontinence through Kegel or pelvic floor exercises, deep breathing techniques, and Electrical stimulation to strengthen the bladder.

 

Feeding

Only Speech Therapists address feeding.


Fact: Occupational Therapists can address feeding in ways similar to and very different from Speech Therapists.

  • OT looks at the skill of self-feeding which is bringing food to the mouth using fingers or utensils. Specialized occupational therapists also play a role in breastfeeding and lactation.

  • OT looks at the oral motor skills required to break down food within the mouth. Speech Therapists typically intervene pass the oral phase, the act of swallowing.

  • OT looks at sensory processing skills that guide a person to eat certain food textures, temperatures and/or appearances.

 

Home Assessments

Only Physical Therapists complete home evaluations.

Fact: Occupational Therapists provide input on home evaluations for improving activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), safety, and home modifications including equipment, renovations, and modifying daily routines.

 

Vision

Vision is only addressed by professions such as optometrists and ophthalmologists.


Fact: Occupational Therapists can address and refer to other specialists regarding vision deficits. Vision is a very generalized term as there are many areas of vision aside from acuity or how well you "see" including perception or how the visual information is interpreted to perform tasks, visual field or the area of that can be seen when focusing on an item, and oculomotor or how the eyes move to collect information.

  • OTs can become certified to treat a number of physical, physiological, and/or sensory conditions related to vision with such titles as Certified Low Vision Therapist, Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist, or Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist

  • OTs may recommend adaptations or equipment such as watches, clocks, magnifiers, auditory medical devices, lighting and/or contrast tools and more to accommodate for deficits

  • OTs may provide direct intervention through oculomotor (eye movement) exercises, games, or modeling and teaching ways to compensate

 

Pain management

Only medical doctors can address pain through the use of opiates or other pain medications.


Fact: Occupational Therapists can address pain management through exercise, electrical stimulation (e-stim), positioning techniques, and mindful activities, just to name a few.

 

Summary

Occupational Therapists are pretty well rounded professionals, no bias intended. The value of an occupational therapist can exceed the recognition in every specialty, facility, and geographical location. Our mission at One Touch Spot, PLLC is to provide functional rehabilitation to establish and enhance a culture of healing and development of the mind and body across the life cycle. We strive to advocate for the well-being of people and to do that, we must advocate for our profession and our role in everyday skills and activities. Learn more about occupational therapy (OT) and how we can help you or a family member at www.onetouchspot.com.

 

Resources:


Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, March 9). Urinary incontinence. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 12, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808.


STAR Institute for Sensory Processing. (2021). Your 8 senses. Sensory Processing - STAR Institute. Retrieved December 12, 2021, from https://sensoryhealth.org/basic/your-8-senses.




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