Each day I read a great article about the impact that occupational therapy has in the lives of our patients. Here are some of my favorite stories from the last couple of years. Be inspired and be proud to be part of an occupation that has such impact.
Cheryl Hall, Author and Illustrator,
Occupational Therapy Toolkit
Millions suffer with chronic pain on a daily basis and while OT has been part of treatment plans for many years, there was little research on the subject. A recent study out of the University of Southern California demonstrated the positive impact occupational therapy interventions have for patients with chronic pain. This study used Lifestyle Redesign in an outpatient setting to design an individualized plan to address body mechanics, physical activity and planning for flare ups. Treatment resulted in significant improvement in quality of life, confidence and function.
Another study out of the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy focused on young adults with Type I or II diabetes using the Resilient, Empowered, Active Living (REAL) with Diabetes model. Participants showed measurable improvement in controlling blood glucose levels, improved quality of life and developed healthier habits around diabetes management. The first OT study of its kind to be published in a diabetes journal, the research team is eager to expand the study which they are confident will show the powerful impact of OT.
Crafts and the Brain
OTs know that engaging in an occupation is important to healing and research reinforces that importance. There have been a number of recent studies about the benefit of textile crafts especially knitting. Studies of patients with chronic fatigue, depression, anorexia nervosa and other long term health issues show cognitive and emotional improvements when engaged in these activities. Crafts as occupations improve lives and OTs facilitate those activities.
Movement and Health
The connection between health and light physical activity was explored in a recent study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Activities like folding clothes, walking to the mailbox and light gardening were shown to reduce cardiovascular disease among older women. Who better to help adults engage safely in these types of daily activities but OTs? Every time we help a patient regain and re-engage in an ADL, it contributes to improvements in their physical health.