When you hear the word “occupation”, what is the first word that comes to your mind? Maybe job, work, the 8-5, or whatever you want to call it? Typically, these are the first words to pop into our minds. Occupation is defined in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as follows: “An activity in which one engages.1” It literally means activity that fills or “occupies” our time. Occupational Therapists, commonly referred to as OTs, are experts in the rehabilitation or adaptation of meaningful activities that “occupy” a person’s time. The secretary with carpel tunnel, farmer with an extremely painful shoulder, the high school teenager who broke his hand in the football game, the father/grandfather who recently had a stroke, and many other conditions affect not only our work--but our lives, relationships, leisure, and self care. During these unexpected life events, we are forced to change the way we do things both physically and emotionally. Occupational Therapists have been trained in breaking down meaningful activities (occupations) that have been affected and pin-pointing the specific barriers preventing successful completion. These barriers are not only limited to physical disability, but cognitive and emotional barriers as well. Once the barrier to successful participation is pin-pointed, the Occupational Therapist works collectively with the patient to establish a plan of successful and meaningful participation. This plan may be as simple as acquiring enough strength to participate again in the desired occupation or as complicated as fabricating custom splints, modifying the environment, and\or re-framing the persons understanding of successful participation.
Unfortunately, in rural areas such as Brookfield and the surrounding towns, Occupational Therapy has only been offered in the schools and skilled nursing homes. Pershing Memorial Hospital is proud to announce that it has opened the door to this valuable heath service and now offers full time outpatient and inpatient Occupational Therapy services. We treat a wide spectrum of diagnoses that affect participation in meaningful activity including neurological, orthopedic, and cardiac diagnosis. Some of the more common conditions we treat include the limitations that result from stroke, heart attack, Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis, burns, spinal cord injuries, vision problems, Alzheimer’s and dementia, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, and any number of fractures. These conditions can significantly limit a person’s ability to participate in functional and meaningful activities.
Most of us go about our daily routine and think little about how much goes into each activity required of our bodies and minds--the small finer movements that allow us to successfully brush our teeth, the larger gross movements that allows us to walk down the street, or the cognitive ability to scan the cereal shelf at the grocery store and successfully find the cheerios. It’s not until these movements or cognitive abilities are taken from us that we realize how much is involved. When you are faced with such limitations to your daily occupations, remember that there are people specifically trained to help you.
"Occupation" Merriam-Webster.com Merriam-Webster. n.d. Web 14 Oct. 2013