By Elizabeth Smoots, MD
A: OT is a licensed profession that uses everyday activities, or occupations, to help people perform everyday functions they want and need to do. Occupational therapists determine and design customized therapeutic programs of daily activities to help patients reach their personal goals at home and at work. OT’s science-based treatments have been shown to increase the capacity for patient self-care and independence and reduce health care costs.
Specifically, OT can help people regain function after an illness, injury or limitation makes it difficult to engage in daily activities. The therapy can aid injury recovery, stroke or cancer rehabilitation, speech or swallowing technique, and arthritis or disability retraining. In addition, diabetes or obesity management, support for older adults with physical or cognitive impairments, and accommodations for children with disabilities may benefit from the expertise of an occupational therapist.