Medically reviewed by Rick Rossman, PT, MS, SCCE, Associate Director Rehab Services, PVHMC
April is National Occupational Therapy Month. This provides the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the health care professionals who dedicate their lives to helping improve the lives of others. Occupational therapy (OT) is a rehabilitative service that treats people who have physical, sensory or cognitive problems. These impairments may be congenital, or the result of injury, illness or disability.
Occupational therapists assist patients of all ages to more safely, efficiently and independently perform activities of daily living (ADLs), work-related tasks and school activities. The goals are to achieve as full and as rapid recovery possible, while providing the knowledge, skills and assistive devices to aid in the patient’s recovery.
Using a wide variety of therapeutic techniques and procedures, occupational therapists evaluate and then develop individualized treatment plans focused on such things as controlling pain, reducing swelling or abnormal sensitivity, as well as restoring strength, motion and dexterity the upper extremity and hand.
OT is a Rehabilitation profession that helps people maximize their independence and overcome barriers that may affect their emotional, social and physical needs. The OTs at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) and Pomona Valley Health Center locations (PVHC) have extensive training and experience and combine this with patience, empathy and compassion throughout their patient’s treatments. Below are few of the ways our occupational therapists help patients recover and move beyond their injury or disability:
- Improve fine motor skills through training small, intricate muscles of the hands and fingers used for delicate grasping and controlling objects, such as pens, utensils, keyboarding and commonly used tools.
- Enhance hand-eye coordination through repetitive tasks like catching a ball, stringing beads and building puzzles. These treatments facilitate the neural pathways that integrate visual information with hand movements, improving accuracy, strength and endurance.
- Improve self-care routines and promote independence through relearning tasks such as the ability to bathe, dress, brush teeth and self-feed. OTs address the above with a focus on planning and organizing each task, improving both muscle control as well as the necessary sitting and standing balance.
- Cultivate cognitive skills that break larger tasks into smaller steps making them easier to perform.
- Maximize remaining vision using special aids and assistive devices, helping to make every day visual tasks easier to do for those diagnosed with Low Vision – a partial loss of sight that cannot be fully corrected with surgery, medicine, contact lenses, or regular glasses.
- Provide bracing, splinting and adaptive equipment that improve the accuracy and ease of everyday tasks.
What are the patient benefits of occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy may improve:
- Strength and endurance
- Cognitive processing
- Visual deficits
- School performance
Studies show that after completing their treatment, OT patients are more likely to remain active following their injury or illness. A more independent, active and healthy lifestyle leads to:
- Reduced number and length of hospital stays
- Reduced risk of falls that require medical care
- Decreased number of missed workdays
- Decreased dependence on medications
- Increased mobility and independence
National Occupational Therapy Month is the perfect time to ask your doctor if you might benefit from an OT evaluation and treatment plan. Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) has over 25 years of experience in occupational therapy. We want to help you live your best, most independent life.
Pediatric occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology are available at our two Milestones Centers for Child Development located at PVHC Chino Hills and Claremont.
For occupational therapy appointments, contact PVHMC Rehabilitation Services at:
La Verne: 909-392-6531
Milestones Center for Child Development–Chino Hills: 909-630-7877
Milestones Center for Child Development–Claremont: 909-621-7956