Occupational therapy can play a key role in the rehabilitation process of many conditions, injuries or illnesses.
Long-term sport injuries such as ligament damage require months of both physiotherapy to ensure that the person in question gets back to full health but it is not just a physical ailment that can benefit from this type of treatment. Mental illnesses have a more pressing need for the therapy as this can be an ongoing problem that can require monthly, weekly or even daily sessions to ensure that a person is coping with their illness.
The goal of occupational therapy is that a person regains a sense of independence and is able to do all the tasks that they were used to doing prior to becoming sick or injured. Through a number of exercises people can slowly regain that feeling of normality by doing simple day-to-day chores such as washing the dishes or putting clothes out to dry. It can also incorporate various fun activities such as board games or craft building. The main idea is to improve the standard of life for the patient.
Occupational therapy is now being highlighted as a treatment for people living with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). This condition is the third most common form of the illness in the UK and requires a special level of treatment. Only Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia are more prevalent than DLB and it affects around 100,000 people in the UK.
The condition has similar symptoms to other forms of dementia with the common signs of memory loss, difficulty problem solving and spatial awareness all prominent. However, DLB also causes problems with a person’s motor skills. Bupa explains that the condition often displays similar signs to that of Parkinson’s disease and can trigger issues with a person’s movement and muscles which can lead to difficulties swallowing, shuffling and a loss of facial expressions.
People can also suffer from sleep disturbances which means they can become very tired and sometimes not have the right levels of energy throughout the day. The treatment given out to people suffering DLB needs to be thoroughly thought out to ensure that they are not overphased or easily tired out.
The role of occupational therapy will of course be an optional course of action for the patient and their family but can provide real benefits if taken up. They will be helped through a series of exercises combined with medication which will ease their recovery or at least help them live with the condition more easily.
However, it is not just a case of occupational therapists doing all the hard work as patients will also need the support of their friends and family to help them through a difficult period. Charities can be on hand to offer extra assistance but there needs to be the backing from home to ensure that people suffering with DLB know they someone is there to look out for them.
With the right level of care, people can live with a condition such as DLB much easier.