April is OT Month!

Home Blog April is OT Month!

Happy OT Month! First and foremost, we would like to say THANK YOU to all of our occupational therapy practitioners working on the front lines each and every day in order to ensure that our patients maintain their highest level of functioning.  The theme for OT month this year is-embracing challenges, enhancing lives.  Who would have thought this theme would fit so perfectly into our lives right now?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on each and every one of us and has challenged us to adapt to a new way of delivering care to our patients.   As we celebrate OT month and embrace this year’s theme in all that we do it is important to highlight that on March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security included occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce (https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CISA-Guidance-on-Essential-Critical-Infrastructure-Workers-1-20-508c.pdf). 

Occupational therapy practitioners play a vital role in the partnership with our interdisciplinary teams to ensure that our patients are able to attain and maintain their highest level of functioning.  During this COVID—19 pandemic occupational therapy practitioners are tapping into their creativity and adapting our treatment approaches. 

COVID-19 may have shifted our focus away from PDPM and PDGM but it has not shifted our focus away from our patients.  Our patients continue to be at the heart of everything that we do and our patients still need our services.  Some of our patients are confused, scared and isolated.  During this trying time we can provide comfort and reassurance and a sense of normalcy.  AOTA reminds us that we must, “be mindful about roles and routines, consider purpose when choosing activities, and be explicit about how and why alterations to usual activities may be necessary. There is a risk that some older adults may misinterpret or personalize changes, which could result in undue stress.” https://www.aota.org/Practice/Health-Wellness/COVID19/clients-faq.aspx

It is important to note the many benefits of skilled occupational therapy intervention for COVID-19 patients that include: decreased symptoms, improved quality of life, increased activity tolerance, increased independence with ADLs, decreased occupational loss, decrease social isolation, decrease depression and decrease anxiety.

It is important that we continue to focus on functional treatment interventions that are meaningful and purposeful to our patients and incorporate items that are accessible.  Some examples may include: making the bed, changing the sheets and sweeping the floor, cleaning personal devises, or focusing on nail care or organizing the patient’s room.

We also can’t forget about the psychosocial changes our patients are facing.  We can assist our patients in establishing new routines and helping them to connect with their family and loved ones via facetime or skype or even introducing them to apps on their smart phones or electronic devices to engage them in activities such as bingo, meditation and relaxation. 

NARA has created a Coronavirus Resource Center on our website to provide you the most up to date resources to help you navigate COVID-19.  The Resource Center contains resources from CDC, WHO, CMS, OSHA as well as the most up to date information on Telehealth and e-visits and much more. http://www.naranet.org/resources/covid-19-resources

Thank you again for being kinder than expected during this pandemic and your continued focused on our patients.

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