Energy Conservation and Your OT Patient

by Cheryl Hall on October 1st, 2017

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.

1. Fatigue

  • 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.

Body Mechanics
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.
  • About Me

    Cheryl Hall
    Occupational Therapist
    Maryland, United States

    Welcome to a site devoted to sharing experience, knowledge and resources to make your job of being a great therapist a lot easier.

    I have been an occupational therapist for more than 30 years. I graduated from San Jose State University with degrees in Occupational Therapy, Gerontology, and Early Child Development. My passion is working with adults and children in home health but I have also worked in rehab, sub-acute rehab, hand therapy, transitional living for TBI, and hospital-based outpatient settings.

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