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How Occupational Therapy Can Help Stroke Survivors
The debilitating aftermaths of a stroke are felt not only by the millions of Americans living with their side effects, but also by the loved ones who surround, support and assist the survivors. Occupational therapy can make recovery more effective and meaningful for each individual patient’s needs, allowing them to make the most of their situation and return to his or her highest possible level of performance. By addressing the specific challenges stroke survivors face, occupational therapists can help patients regain the ability to partake in daily activities by building strength and self confidence while also ensuring their home environments are working for them, not against them.
Why choose occupational therapy after a stroke? Research indicates patients who participate in occupational therapy are significantly less likely to deteriorate and more likely regain independence in their daily activities upon finishing treatment. Not only is the treatment beneficial for the survivor, but it also reduces the burden for the loved ones of the person recovering. Practitioners can assist in a patient’s transition back into their home, identifying the available reintegration resources as well as teach family members of stroke survivors techniques to further the patient’s recovery.
It is difficult to know when a stroke survivor is ready to start performing certain skills again, such as driving. Although family members and loved ones want to support the patient, it is important that necessary evaluation is completed prior to the return of such activities, for the safety of everyone involved. Occupational therapists can help by performing evaluations to determine the client’s ability and take steps toward recovery through programs like driver rehabilitation. Unfortunately, a survivor cannot always return to driving. In such cases a practitioner can present alternative ways to get around and connect the patient with institutions to help with the transition.
Stroke survivors see a lot of professionals throughout their endeavor, but an occupational therapist is most likely going to spend more time with their patient than any other type of specialist. Living after a stroke leaves survivors facing many challenges, both physically and emotionally. Occupational therapy practitioners help alleviate these side effects for their patients as well as their families, helping everyone to live their lives to the fullest.