In one of the most iconic superhero films of all time, Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne’s father says, “Why do we fall? To pick ourselves back up.” As much as we would all like to be as strong as Batman and have the physical and mental strength to pick ourselves up from a fall, not everyone can do it on their own. That’s where occupational therapists come in and work their magic. Occupational therapists help you both “pick yourself up” so that you can live a fully-functioning, productive life.
April is Occupational Therapy Month. Regardless if you have ever been to an occupational therapist, it is important to know that they exist and are here to help. What exactly is occupational therapy? It’s a service that helps patients with mental, physical, developmental and emotional disabilities perform everyday tasks. Occupational therapists provide these services to everyone, from young children with learning disabilities to elderly adults who have suffered from a stroke.
Natan Berry, MS, OTR/L at Sinai Hospital says, "One of the most satisfying things about being an occupational therapist is being able to see the tremendous progress that people make. A patient can be completely dependent for all of their activities of daily living, but through aggressive rehabilitation, even basic remedial tasks such as putting toothpaste on a toothbrush become possible until maximum independence is achieved. I was recently shopping at BJ's Wholesale Club when I ran into a former patient of mine. She was dependent on a mechanical ventilator for over a month, yet here she was walking and shopping the aisles independently!"
Here is a video that highlights the occupational therapy student program at Sinai Hospital
At Sinai Hospital there are currently 22 occupational therapists who work in various departments such as NICU and geriatrics, offering both inpatient and outpatient services. “We all do various treatments that relate to the specific area that we work in, but treatments can range from completing basic activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, feeding, and toileting, to instrumental activities of daily living such as cooking, medication management, and laundry. We also do range of motion of the upper extremities, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, splinting, and teaching how to use adaptive equipment to make daily life easier. We work on improving cognitive skills to make functioning in the real world safer and more efficient. We also have specialties, including our outpatient driving rehab program,” Berry says.
The goal of an occupational therapist is to help a patient accomplish their goals and maintain their independence, so help promote Occupational Therapy Month by thanking an occupational therapist or occupational assistant today!