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Occupational therapy is a health care profession that assists individuals in achieving independence, despite disabilities.
Occupational therapists (OT) and certified occupational therapist assistants (COTA) work with people of all ages who require extra assistance to lead productive lives, because of physical, developmental, social or emotional problems. Occupational therapists are found in acute care, outpatient care, school systems, and psychological settings. An occupational therapy treatment setting may include: a program focused on improving a person's ability to carry out activities of daily living; an evaluation of home and job set ups with recommendations of necessary changes; an assessment and treatment of work performance skills; a recommendation for, and training in, the use of adaptive equipment to replace lost function; and family and caregiver education and training in caring for persons with disabilities.

Who is a patient that may require occupational therapy?
  • People with work-related injuries
  • People who have had a stroke or heart attack
  • People with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or other serious illness
  • Children with birth defects, learning and/or developmental disabilities or delays, along with sensory motor impairments
  • People with mental health or behavioral problems, including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • People with substance abuse problems and eating disorders
  • People with burns, spinal cord injuries, or amputations
  • People with broken bones, or other injuries resulting from falls, sports, or accidents
  • People at risk of losing their license due to visual or cognitive problems
  • People with specific hand dysfunctions
Occupational therapists are skilled health care workers who enter the field with a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree. An occupational therapist assistant enters with an associate's degree. Both must pass a national exam in order to practice in each individual state, and must undergo clinical experience before completing this exam. OT studies the development of human growth with an emphasis on social, emotional, and physiological effects of illness and injury.

Our therapists are also contracted out to multiple school systems in our community as well as to the local Early Intervention Program. In these settings Occupational Therapists provide a variety of services to the pediatric population. Occupational Therapists help children who suffer from learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration dysfunctions, as well as the resultant affects of prematurity in a variety of settings. In the educational model, children with these impairments are provided therapy in order to increase their independence in the classroom. In the medical model, children are provided therapy in order to increase their independence with everyday tasks such as feeding, dressing, and the development of basic fine motor and play skills.

If you feel as though you may fit into any of the above categories and may require some assistance to return or improve function in any way, you may want to ask your physician for an occupational therapy referral. The therapists at NARH are available for evaluations, consultations and treatment. Outpatient hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Inpatient hours are Monday thru Friday, and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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