April is Occupational Therapy Month. VetsFirst would like to to recognize the important role occupational therapists (OTs) play in helping veterans living with disabilities reclaim their independence and reintegrate into their communities.
OTs are key players on the healthcare team of thousands of veterans of all ages. There are a number of reasons for this. First off, OTs simply do it all–from assisting vets with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing and grooming, to more advanced activities such as cooking, shopping, driving, parenting, and returning to work.
OTs also assess a person’s physical abilities and figure out ways to improve them. Sometimes that means adapting a veteran’s surroundings or providing mobility equipment or assistive technology so that they can overcome the hurdles of living with a disability.
It’s no surprise that the VA is one of the largest employers of OTs. Many veterans come home with a variety of disabling conditions, so it helps to have a healthcare professional skilled at treating them all.
The focus of occupational therapy treatment varies greatly, depending on the needs of each veteran. For instance, a veteran living with a spinal cord injury may need support in learning to operate a power wheelchair, preventing pressure ulcers, and maintaining strength and range of motion. Another veteran living with a traumatic brain injury may need help remembering household chores and other activities. And a veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder may need help developing relaxation techniques and coping skills or support to prevent depression and substance abuse.
OTs fit into all of these roles and that’s why we should all be thankful for the work they do.
Job well done!