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Occupational Therapy Intervention is a Family Affair

By Janie L. Rosman, Staff Writer
(Page 2 of 6)

Researchers in The Netherlands concluded that 10 occupational therapy sessions improved daily functioning in patients 65 and under for up to three months, despite their limited learning ability, and also reduced caregiver burden, as reported in British Medical Journal. Patients learned to use aids to compensate for cognitive decline, and caregivers learned coping behaviors and supervision.

Occupational therapists can formulate a program attuned to the person’s skill set and level of understanding — sharing life story memories, adapting a home environment for exercise or movement — while advising the family and caregiver about making the home safer to avoid falls, purchasing or leasing equipment, and accessing other health care services that might be available.

Staff and family training are most times accompanied by a maintenance program for caregivers, taking the aforementioned into account. “Everything the OT does is taught to the caregiver,” Glantz says.

The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. suggests determining the person’s needs at various stages of illness progression, and focusing on his or her abilities (rather than deficits) to maximize engagement and setting, be it home or facility.


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