A heart stroke can be fatal but there are people who survive from strokes. However, after surviving the stroke, they are never the same. People who survive strokes sometimes end up incapable of talking, walking or doing other physical activities. To help stroke survivors go through the aftermath of the stroke, occupational therapy can be a great help to them. Occupational therapy is beneficial for stroke survivors.
How Can Occupational Therapy Help Stroke Survivors?
- Daily Activities- Occupational therapy helps patients gain independence when practicing activities of daily living or ADL. During therapy, the occupational therapist will teach patients how to dress, bathe and feed themselves. These ADL are quite difficult for stroke survivors who have lost feeling on one side of the body, which is why they need occupational therapy. Further, occupational therapy helps in coordination and problem-solving skills.
- Muscle Re-education- Stroke survivors often feel a weakness on one side of the body. The muscles on the weak part of the body are restrained in moving and functioning. Occupational therapy helps in re-educating the muscles especially in the hands and arms. Occupational therapists use movement and positioning exercises to reduce any muscle spasm. They can make the patient bear weight for muscle control.
- Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation- Another method that occupational therapists will use in muscle retraining is NMES or neuromuscular electrical stimulation. This method involves sending electrical current to the nerves using electrodes. This will trigger muscle contractions. This will help a stroke patient in gripping something or bending the elbow. A common side effect of a stroke is a dislocated shoulder. NMES can help keep the dislocated shoulder in place.
- Visual Training- Stroke patients often have problems with their visions after a stroke. Occupational therapists help stroke patients to go through the ordeal. They train stroke patients to turn their head if their vision is cut or cover the eye to reduce having double visions. Occupational therapists recommend the use of eyeglass prisms and bookmarks to help a stroke patient read. Stroke patients will be taught scanning and eye tracking movements to improve the function of the eyes.
Occupational therapy activities are great help in regaining the movements of stroke patients even if it is not as it used to be. The occupational therapist can also help modify the home environment of the stroke patient to make life better. Changing the position of furniture and lighting can really help a stroke patient with performing daily tasks independently.