Fatigue is a hallmark symptom for many of our patients. While a simple nap or good night’s sleep cannot eliminate fatigue, it is a condition that can be effectively managed. No matter what the source – cancer, COPD, cardiac conditions, aging, MS or stroke – good energy conservation can make a world of difference and help patients accomplish the activities that are most important to them.
The Occupational Therapy Toolkit includes a series of patient education handouts:
• Energy Conservation Principles
• Energy Conservation with Meal and Home Management
• Energy Conservation with Self Care Activities
Make sure you include Energy Conservation education in your practice this week.
1. Set an Appropriate Pace
- Allow enough time to complete a task without having to rush.
- Alternate heavy and light tasks during the day and the week.
- Don’t over schedule your day or week.
2. Stay Organized
- Gather all necessary items before starting a task.
- Keep needed items organized and within reach.
3. Simplify and be Realistic
- Prioritize the most important activities.
- Don’t hesitate to simplify a task or do something less often.
- Ask for help – be specific when family or friends ask what they can do.
- Plan rest breaks throughout the day or task.
- Never wait until you are tired to rest.
- Sit when possible.
- Practice good sleep habits.
- Rest after eating – digestion uses energy.
2. Unnecessary Motion
- Limit bending, reaching and twisting.
- Minimize arm motion especially above shoulder level.
- Keep elbow lows and close to body.
- Support elbows on surface during activity.
1. Maintain Good Posture
- Balances muscles.
- Decreases stress.
- Eases breathing.
2. Moving Objects
- Stand close to object to be moved
- Push or pull objects rather than lifting
- Carry items close to body
- Use leg muscles rather than back.